Worth Reading —3.8.17

A random collection of articles, blog posts, books, and other things I think are worth sharing.

Bert Fulks: Why You (Don’t) Suck (99% of this article applies to the stage I’m at and conversations I’ve been having with Kelly…I’m so printing this out for her).

Scary Mommy: The ‘Let Them Bleed’ Style of Parenting (Dan and I call it “Let ’em hang”…as in, let them dangle a bit and try and figure it out before you rush in to rescue…but whatever you call it, it basically means giving kids room to become resourceful, resilient, and independent.)

Huffington Post: Why Women Need Their Girlfriends

“Our girlfriends can’t save us, but girlfriends can help make a tragedy bearable. They can read our mind and our emotions, intuitively recognize what needs to be done — then do it. They can listen, empathize and show compassion. They can …comfort us and provide a timely shoulder to cry on.”

Medium: It’s Time to Start Calling Evangelicals What They Are: The American Taliban (As a lifelong Lutheran turned atheist  (that’s a story for another day, kids), I’ve come to see how deeply embedded and ingrained the Christian religion is in this country. (I mean …it’s on our MONEY…and it’s in our NATIONAL ANTHEM…you put your hand on a Bible in a court of law. )What  about those who don’t believe in your God or your religion? It’s weird…it really is)

“The Christian Right is really seeking to establish a theocracy in the United States — at least regionally, throughout the deep south. And this latest effort by the “Council for National Policy” lays further proof to that claim. This is an effort which — in spite of what many Christian leaders say — is NOT supported by the Constitution. The Constitution strictly prohibits the establishment of Religion, as part of the First Amendment, which also guarantees Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press. The purpose of this “Separation of Church and State” is intended to do two things:

1. It protects religious freedom for everyone.
2. It prevents the tyranny of any one religion.

But this fact won’t stop many southern christians, who feel it is their duty — as christians — to make the United States “a godly nation” in their eyes.”

 

 

Science the s*&^ out of it, sweetie

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Today is the Science Olympiad, which is, as the name would suggest, sort of like the Olympic games for science geeks in middle through high school. Lauren is on the team for her  school and is entered in three events, including Reach for the Stars,  Rocks and Minerals, and Scrambler (a “car” that has to be engineered to come as close to a wall as possible without breaking the egg on the front of it).

There are 20+ events in each division (Middle & H.S.) and the event draws close to 500 students from school in the tri-state area. At the end, there’s a medals ceremony — with Gold, Silver and Bronze medals and a winner’s cup. Last year, Lauren’s middle school AND high school took top honors!

Penn State Behrend hosts the event and upperclass science students and faculty serve as judges and proctors for many of the events. This, of course, means I can wander around and take photos and check out the events. It’s pretty awesome.

Lauren’s been working on/studying for her events for months now, with weekly after-school meetings and, lately, Saturday work sessions, too. She’s ready to go, but I thought she could use a little breakfast (she doesn’t normally have any time….this cannot surprise you!) and a little inspirational message:

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Science geeks and/or movie buffs will recognize that phrase from one of our favorite movies:

 

Three things — 3.2.17

Things I’m loving this week

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Hidden Figures. I took my daughters and mom to see this movie about the female, black mathematicians who helped put John Glenn on the moon. I cried through most of the movie — not sure why I found it so emotional, except that I’m ashamed about the way our country has always treated African-Americans (and still does) and I can relate to a lot of the sexist bullshit and how it makes you feel when a man takes credit for your work.

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Lower movie prices at Tinseltown. Not sure if it’s temporary or not, but prices at Cinemark’s Tinseltown in Erie are just $3.99 and $5.99 — a bargain compared to the nearly $10 they were charging for weekend evening movies (“date night” prices). I wonder if it’s an effort to draw people to theaters now that so many people are streaming them at home for the price of one movie ticket.

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Blasco Library. If you haven’t been to the library in awhile, you might be surprised to find that it is so much more than a place to borrow books. I took Kelly last night to get some books …and she got plenty….then, while there we learned about a teen book club/advisory board (how cool!), contributed to a Dear My Blank message board, read all about dozens of Women in History whose profiles were posted on the wall near the checkout AND took the time to admire and appreciate the amazing driftwood sculptures created by Erie artist, Brian Pardini. (There’s a Dr. Suess event Saturday! More events here.)

Oh….they have free computer classes, too…and an art museum membership you can borrow to visit the museum…and fishing gear you can borrow…. and…. (well, just go there already…)

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Marc Maron’s interview with Raoul Peck. Wow…I could listen to Peck, the director of the Oscar-nominated I Am Not Your Negro documentary,  talk all day. (Marc Maron, not so much…he gets on my nerves when he talks too much). He is so interesting and insightful and…just wow. I want to see his film, but …of course…it’s not showing here in Erie (yet). I’m holding out hope that one of the colleges or the art museum will show it as part of their next film series. Here’s the trailer:

 

Things I’m not loving this week

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Facebook. I’m out. Really out. For awhile, anyway. I removed it from my phone and my personal life. I can’t completely banish the bastard though because I’m the one responsible for feeding the Facebook beast at work. But, I’m making a concerted effort to avoid as much contact with it as possible. It’s AMAZING how much more time I have on my hands.

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Not running. I’ve been battling achilles tendonitis for a year and..I give. I just give. When I do run, I hobble for days after. I have decided to take at least a month off running. This is not a good or healthy thing for anyone within striking distance of me, including the Runkeeper app on my smartphone which is going to get it’s ass uninstalled if it doesn’t stop reminding me that it’s time to get out there and run. Oh, I know it, b*%$#!

That B.S. CNBC video about Erie. (It’s such garbage, I’m not even linking to it.) This negative piece of one-sided “journalism” actually qualifies for 45’s favorite insult about news he doesn’t like — it’s fake. It’s “fake,” or at least very biased, because they told one very small and negative story about our community — it’s dying manufacturing industry.

Well, folks, manufacturing is dying all over the U.S. (though…not in the “Right to Work” states where I”m sure you can find a manufacturing job, but it’s non-union and pays 1/3 of what it used to). Much as you’d like to “make America great again” and open the nozzle on those $30-and-hour jobs for every man (and, btw, it was mostly men) with a high school diploma, that ship has sailed. If you want a high-paying job in manufacturing, get a f^&*%ing engineering degree or stop whining and find a way to earn a living fulfilling a need in our CURRENT decade.

Mostly, though, I hated this video because it painted Erie in a dark, crappy light and I’m sick to death of people coming in…taking one drive down E. 12th Street and shitting on our city. THIS is an awesome place to live…with at least FOUR technology and innovation incubators working with entrepreneurs in inventors DAILY on new products and industry and ideas…there are FOUR Universities in our area with professors and students doing meaningful research work (often with REAL clients and corporations)…we have a THRIVING and rich arts scene…a safe and vibrant downtown entertainment district…professional sports teams….and people who are working hard EVERY DAY because the believe in Erie and they are not afraid to adapt and reinvent this town.

I’ll give you that our public city school system is a mess, but that was created by the bullshit charter school system that ate it alive. And since our 45’s newly-appointed,  moronic and completely incompetent secretary of education  is allllllll about charters schools, it doesn’t look  like things are going to get better any time soon. Not until we vote out those GOP legislators who are clearly working for their party and NOT their constituents. We’re coming after you in 2018, you overcompensated, privileged, party-line-walking cowards. And…I cannot WAIT to work against Toomey and Kelly. I’ll knock on doors till my knuckles bleed to get those clowns out of office.

Yeah…so.. did I mention, I’m not running? It makes me kinda angry….

 

 

Worth Reading — 3.1.17

A random collection of articles, blog posts, books, and other things I think are worth sharing.

Washington Post: Want to Raise Empowered Women? Start in Middle School

Scary Mommy: LuLaRose Consultants Need to CTFD (Truth.)

These are a Few Of My Favorite Things: How to Raise a Happy Teen

I will not have a bad relationship with my kid over a pile of clothes on the floor.  It’s. Not. Worth. It.   I love my kid more than I love a clean house.  I am confident that I am raising humans capable of picking up after themselves, and I know as they mature and grow up, these things will sort themselves out.  I have taught them how to do it.  They will not be in college and literally unaware of how to bend down and pick up their socks.”

The Players Tribune : Dark, Dark, Dark, Dark, Dark, Dark (My jaw dropped after the third graph…)

“It’s the summer of 1994, I am standing at the edge of a cliff in Kamloops, British Columbia, and I am checking out.

In February, as a 21-year-old starting goalie, I’d backstopped Canada to an Olympic silver medal. In June, as the third goalie for the New York Rangers, I’d drunk out of the Stanley Cup. I have a girlfriend at home. I have a turbo sports car parked behind me. I have the horizon in front of me — so much horizon — and as I look out past the end of it, I am completely calm.

I’m going to see how fast this sports car can go … and drive it right off this cliff.”

I tried it: Cricket Wireless

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Today’s topic: Cricket Wireless

What it is: A discount wireless cell phone provider with dirt-cheap, unlimited texting/calls/data plans that start at $30 a month. Their phones operate on the Verizon network.

Why I tried it: I was with Verizon Wireless but I hate them because I can never understand their super-complex plans (so i never know if I’m getting ripped off) and there are lots and lots of hidden fees and extra charges on your monthly bill. AND…there are data limits. When Dan took my smartphone for a swim in Punta Cana and it had to be replaced, I couldn’t bear the thought of paying $600 for a phone (over months and months and months of payments) to Verizon, so I decided to move to Cricket Wireless.

What I did:

Step 1: I chose a Cricket Wireless phone. This was, by far, the most time consuming part, but I wanted a phone I would be happy with so I spent a lot of time reading reviews, comparing the phones in my price range, and making sure it would have enough memory for my purposes (I wanted to be able to add a micro SD card, too). (BTW, you can bring some phones with you — the Cricket site will tell you which ones, but…in my case, my phone was ruined anyway).  At Cricket, you pay for your phone outright at the start. I went with the LG Stylo and paid less than $125 for it because I was transferring a phone line from Verizon.

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Step 2: Wait for your phone to arrive (unless you go to a Cricket store, where you can get it immediately and also get help setting it up.

Step 3: When your phone arrives, go online and follow the instructions to set it up and transfer your number. This was super easy.

How much it costs: I chose $40-a-month “basic” plan for each of our phones which offers 3G of high-speed data every month. If the kids go over that (I never do), it just kicks them down to a lower speed. There are no penalties. All three of our smartphones are $90 a month, which is nearly what I was paying for my service for just my phone at Verizon.  Cricket offers a “group save/family” discount that takes $10 off each line you add to your service (up to five phones).

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Yeah, but…how’s the service? Quick and reliable. I’ve noticed no difference in service from Verizon Wireless. In fact, there are times I’ve had service that my husband (still on V.W.) has not. It’s not slow when loading internet pages or using data  either, unlike our Straight Talk phones from Walmart , which were slow as molasses.

What you need to know: 1. Don’t insert the SIM card that comes with your phone until you get to that step in the online instructions. 2. If you have any problems getting your phone set up, call them. They’re more than happy to help you and they will solve the problem. 3. You’ll probably want to set up auto-pay with a credit card so you don’t have to go in every month and pay your bill and risk losing your number.  Also, you get a $5 a month discount for using auto pay.

Would I recommend it to a friend? Definitely. Why, why, why, why are you paying more for less?

Three Things —2.23.17

Things I’m loving this week

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Gull Point Trail. We’ve always wanted to explore this trail at Presque Isle State Park, but with it being closed to the public from April through November (to protect nesting shorebirds), the window to hike the trail is short and smack-dab in the middle of winter, which means the weather is not usually conducive to long walks on the beach. This weekend, however, provided the perfect opportunity to take the nearly-4-mile walk from the Beach 10 trailhead to the observation tower on Gull Point.

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Warm weather. 45, 50 and 60+ degrees in February? I’ll take it.

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Sleep insight. I’ve been wearing Kelly’s fitbit for the last week. It’s interesting to see how many steps (or lack there of) I rack up in a day. Let’s just say the fitbit makes it clear just how sedentary my sedentary job is. It’s also been especially insightful to see how much I sleep (more than I thought) and how often I’m awake and/or restless (again…more than I thought).

Things I’m not loving this week

A sick husband.  I could never be a nurse. I sincerely lack any compassion for ill people and I mostly just want them to stay away from me, which is really hard to do when they live in my house. Ugh. Here’s hoping it doesn’t run through the rest of the house.

Procrastinating. Writers….seriously….we are the WORST procrastinators.