Monday, August 31, 2015

Expressing opinions on Facebook.

Please Don't Riot

It's making national news that a Houston cop was assassinated over the weekend while putting gas in his patrol car.  It's all anyone can talk about this Monday morning. 
There have been so many race wars in this country lately, and I think a lot of them are instigated by the media. 
I do hope that this cop's tragic death will not cause rioting in Houston.  Houston is a beautiful city, and I don't want it destroyed.  Let us all find peace. 
I remember in 2008, right after hurricane Ike, I was driving close to downtown and all of the main buildings in the skyline were dotted with wooden boarded windows.  I burst out cryin right in my car.  Humans can do a lot more damage than natural disasters, and there is already talks of "marches".  Please just don't let it get violent.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The photo that did me in

I always used to say that my biggest regret was not having more kids. But having had a career that focused on helping kids, I learned that they come with all kinds of tragic situations. There are no easy answers. As an advocate for children, what was I trying to do? Shield them from the dark side of humanity?  No one escapes that. I saw this photo online of a child Isis soldier holding up the head of a man he'd just beheaded, and I was done for. Helping kids was a season of my life that is a closed chapter now. I am grateful for the child I had, but grateful I didn't have any more.  I'm grateful for the career accomplishments I made, and I am grateful I won't be pursuing any more.

Monday, August 24, 2015

My controversial vision board

I made this vision board specifically having to do with nothing else except money. I posted it in a law of attraction Facebook group, and it is causing quite a stir. It got over 50 likes, but some comments disagreed with it all being about cash. That's OK. To each their own.  I explained that a few years ago, my goal was to get a degree and now that i have it, I need to pay it off. Namaste!  I love vision boards!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Dear Anna Duggar

I was always a fan of the show "19 kids and counting"- that is, until the scandal broke out that the oldest son, Josh molested his sisters as a teenager.  The show went off the air.  Now, there is proof circulating that Josh has two Ashley Madison accounts.  Ashley Madison is a website for married people to go to if they want to have extramarital affairs.  

I feel totally bad for Josh's wife Anna.  If I could say anything to her, it would be this:  (Not that I think reality TV stars read my blog, but here goes)

Dear Anna, 
It's totally ok to leave.  Infidelity is grounds for divorce.  You have every right in the world to file.  If I were you, I would do it before Josh could cause more harm.  You have been betrayed, and your children are at risk.  
I took my child and moved back in with my parents in November of 2009 after my Christian husband told me to leave.  We were divorced in April of 2010, and I started back to school in the summer of 2010.  I finished in 2013.  My daughter and I have our own place now and I am a businesswoman.  
From what I've seen on TV, your parents seem like such sweet people.  Moving back in with them for now would be a great environment for you and your four kids.  You also have a lot of siblings to support you and a fan base that would most likely donate money to help you get back on your feet.  
Don't try to do the right thing based on an illusion of what you've been led to believe is the right thing.  The right thing is what's right for you and the kids, and you can count on a multitude of support.  
Coming from someone who's been there, 
Danielle P.


First, some good news on my mom.  Her RBC and hemoglobin counts are back up to normal, which means no more autoimmune hemolytic anemia.  Since they tested her for leukemia and lymphoma in the hospital as a precautionary measure, my mom and I did get into a little bit of a fight because I wondered if she was not telling the truth about these results being negative.  I have reasons for distrusting her when it comes to serious things like that- she tends to keep huge things a secret and blow minor things out of proportion.  She signed a HIPPA form for me to talk to her hematologist, and I did.  I got the answers I was looking for.  No cancer, and that's the truth.  This was caused by rheumatoid arthritis. 

I'm doing so well on Klonopin, and I am so glad my doctor gave me a total of 120 pills.  I am able to do postmates more often, work a little more on my book, take my child out to the park, and keep the apartment clean.  I do know that one risk of klonopin use is increased risk of alzheimers.  But, I've been around elderly with alzheimers disease, and I don't think it's the worst thing that can happen.  I am more afraid of Parkinson's disease, which I am more at risk for having Tourette's. 

I'm officially over my atheist on youtube kick.  Most atheists on the internet are jerks, but this particular one, named Hemant Mehta, was totally not a jerk.  He was easy to listen to.  I simply can't agree with all he has to say, though.  He will say that what happens when you die is just like what happened to you before you were born.  Ok, but some of us believe we existed before we were born, too.  We don't remember it, you say?  I don't remember being 6 months old either. 

And I may be scientifically illiterate, but until science can explain everything, I can't see how not believing in God is the best logical answer.  And just because we've discovered scientifically how some things work doesn't mean God isn't behind it still.  What happened before the Big Bang?  God said, "Bang" and it happened.  The end.  (The beginning?)

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

10 years

I almost forgot that this month marks the 10 year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.  Katrina was a severe category 5 hurricane that broke the levee system in New Orleans.  Since my hometown Houston is the nearest major city to New Orleans, thousands of people came here afterwards.  They stayed for months, even years, and some are still here.  Every time I am reminded of Hurricane Katrina, I'm reminded how much we really don't love our neighbors as ourselves.  The people who came here from New Orleans faced a ton of discrimination in every way imaginable.  Three years later, Houston was hit by Hurricane Ike, and while it was only a category two (with no broken levee system), we were inundated with help from all surrounding cities.  I was embarrassed for the way people from New Orleans were treated.  I hope it never happens again. 

Sunday, August 16, 2015

An Inspiring Obituary

Recently, I discovered that Susan Craven passed away.  Susan was a prominent advocate for children in Texas, and she was the executive director of an organization I've always been a member of called Texans Care For Children.  Her obituary is here.  I never thought I would be so startled by an obituary that I once wished mine would look like.  Her passing has gotten me back into activities with Texans Care, especially the Partners in CPS reform group.  I was a member of Partners in CPS reform back in 2005-2006, but how much more of a good idea for me to be involved in it now that I've actually been a CPS worker.  Rest in peace, Susan!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Hyper kid

I had a doctor's appointment yesterday. I don't know why Annalise was so hyper, but she would not stop bouncing off the walls in the waiting room. I was nervous that mean old lady that works at the front desk would open the glass sliding window and reprimand her. Something that always snapped Annalise out of misbehaving was taking her picture. With digital cameras on phones, it is an advantage I have over my mom when I was growing up. Annalise the camera by trying to run away from it, and these are the pics I got. The good news is that the doctor gave me 60 panic attack pills with a refill of 60!  Hooray!  Apparently, he's no longer worried that I'll be selling them on the street. 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Screen Time Break

My child and I need a break from screen time in a bad way.  As soon as I make this blog post and publish it, the break begins, except for necessary texting and email. 
The incident at Lakewood Church last month with the protesters sent me into a YouTube black hole.  You know how it works- YouTube suggests more and more videos that you might like, and they are right, you like them.  How do they know what you want to learn more about?  It's creepy!
It started with watching videos from the preachers that protested at Lakewood.  Then, I was reminded on my own about the flagellants in the 14th century during the plague.  So I watched that whole documentary.  Throughout that whole documentary, I'm thinking, we have vaccines and antibiotics now, it would never happen again.  Right?!?!  But a doctor at the very end being interviewed said that it can most definitely happen again with new microbes we have never been introduced to.  And, we aren't better than them in the way that we would handle it.  We'd still kill each other and loot and beat ourselves with whips.  He's right, we would.  We freak out when a few people die, can you imagine half the population?  Ugh. 
Then I found out that asceticism is as old as humanity itself.  It's not necessarily a Christian thing.  It's been around since we've been.  There is an ascetic group in India that eats shit for religious reasons, to suffer for the greater good.  I'm not kidding.  They are cannibals, too, but at least cannibalism is a "little" more acceptable than eating shit. 
Then I was led to a documentary on the Jonestown massacre in 1978 and Charles Manson killings.  The Charles Manson story of how he got inspiration for the killings from a Beatles song freaked me out.  We all find inspiration from poetry and song for a lot of things.  I do, too.  It's human!
Then, one of my friends shared a facebook page called the "Ban Dihydrogen Monoxide" campaign.  If you've never heard of this campaign, it's a hoax to prove people's ignorance by trying to convince them to ban water.  It's been going around since the 80's.  It resurfaces every few years, and people are still falling for it.  They are extremely brilliant in the way that they say things about water that are true, but make it sound really scary.  Like, "Fatal if inhaled", or "found in chemicals and in your orange juice", "use by the Church of Scientology and the KKK." 
This reminded me of an old movie I saw called Idiocracy.  I ended up watching Idiocracy because of that.  In this movie, a soldier is supposed to stay frozen for a year for an experiment, but accidentally gets forgotten about and wakes up 500 years later, in the year 2505.  In the future, people have become extremely stupid and mistreat him, because he is smart.  The President of the United States hears about him, and wants him to solve all of the world's problems in a week if he's so smart.  One of these problems is that the crops are not coming up- but they are watering the crops with a Gatorade juice, and only used water for the toilet.  He discovers this and tells them to use water for the crops.  They laugh and say, "You mean like from the toilet?"  They react to his advice by trying to kill him. 
This movie actually made me google"Year 2505" and ended up on the Wikipedia page for the 26th century.  Yes, future centuries have their own Wikipedia pages.  They know exactly when astrological events like eclipses  and things like that are going to happen during that century- but reality struck me that other than what's going on in the sky, it's really an open book.  "It doesn't matter, I won't be here", I told myself, but what about reincarnation?  I believe in it, I think.  I might "be here". 
Then I got onto this guy's YouTube channel called the Friendly Atheist.  I literally got no sleep that night and watched all of his videos.  I noticed myself thinking he has some really good points about a LOT of things.  Then I started freaking out.  Does that mean I'm an atheist?  No, I'm really not.  I like to learn about other religions, but atheism is one I have never been willing to touch.  This guy dispelled all the myths about atheists and talked about major issues on the human condition from an atheist perspective, and was really positive about it.  A lot of it was so hard to swallow, but I realized I've never paid too much attention to atheists before, so I listened.  It all literally enlightened me and made me sick at the same time.  It was so much information.  He talked about logic and reason and science.  I realized that I am scientifically illiterate and most of my life thus far has not been very logical.  But I was a psych major, too.  In methods in research class, our first lecture talked about the scientific method being trickier in psych, because you can't measure things like "hope", "happiness", etc.  I was, and still am, reminded of the Bible verse that says "Faith is the Substance of Things Hoped for".  I don't know if I can be all rational all the time.  But some people are. 
The following morning, I took my daughter to the park.  We had a very nice conversation, which is a hugely nice thing.  For some reason, I asked her if she still believed in Santa.  She said, "Yes" and then immediately gave me the eyeball and asked, "Why?" with a doubtful tone.  I told her what it took me years to figure out.  That Santa Claus was a real guy who lived 1,700 years ago.  He gave a lot of presents to kids and was very generous.  Ever since then, mommies and daddies give presents to their kids from his spirit in Heaven.  I said Santa Claus is another way of saying St. Nicholas.  Annalise liked this idea.  She said "oh, ok" and nodded in agreement.  Just like that, she didn't have to go through all the logic and reason and faith crisis and multitudes of questions that come with growing out of Santa.  Did I spare her, or just set her on another path?
Nonetheless, it was all very nice, and I decided we need to shut off the screens indefinitely.  I checked my youtube account and realized that she has uploaded several gaming videos with her voice.  I knew she was doing this, but I didn't realize they were on my account.  They had no views, but still.  Ugh.  I'm not like anti-screen time or anything now, but we need to both of us swing in the other direction.  I went through about 29 crises of being human in just a few days on YouTube, and I've had enough.  So has Annalise.  For now. 

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Annalise's cat interactions

Two things I want to record regarding Annalise and her interaction with our cats, Tiger and Alex.  Recently, she decided that their whiskers were too long and needed to be trimmed.  When I asked her why, she said, "because they are so long, they look ridiculous."  My mom told me about something sensory with cats and why they need whiskers, so I told Annalise not to do it again.  Well, the whiskers grew back and this past Saturday when she was at her father's house, I was cuddling with Alex in bed and noticed that his whiskers were super short again.  I texted Annalise, "Did you cut Alex's whiskers again?"  Absolutely no response.  So I texted her father to ask her if she did it and I got a response.  "...Yes". 
As soon as she came home Saturday evening, she ran to YouTube and searched for videos on why cats need whiskers.  She called me over to help explain some of the terminology to her.  Immediately, she cuddled Tiger and Alex and apologized to them.  She even commented on the videos under my name that she won't ever cut her cats' whiskers again!  (I hope I don't get hate messages from PETA people). 

A while back, my mom gave Annalise 12 porcelain decorative eggs out of a collection she's had for as long as I can remember.  My mom gave them to Annalise some two years ago in an empty egg crate.  She has played with them on and off since then, and they have lived in her toy box when not played with.  This morning, somehow Alex got ahold of one and was knocking it around the apartment like a hockey puck.  Annalise put him "in time out" (in his crate) for two minutes because he is two years old and was just as serious as a mother angry with her child for playing with something precious to her.  I don't let Annalise see me snicker at this, but someday, she'll understand why I am. 

Saturday, August 8, 2015

A History Lesson Reminder

Scouring over the website and videos of the Church of Wells, I soaked in their message of self-loathing for salvation and was reminded of the 14th century religious movement called the Flagellants.  (It sounds like one historian in this video is saying flatulence, which results in a much needed laugh after today).  The Church of Wells does to itself and to others mentally/emotionally what the Flagellants did physically.  The beliefs behind both types of abuse were similar.  Is this type of self abuse and abuse of others just another part of the human condition?  Maybe.  Maybe it's just how some of us are wired to react to the mysteries of God. 

The Church of Wells Responds: Persecution

The pastor from the church of Wells, who came to Lakewood Church to heckle/protest made this video that I watched.  I couldn't have watched this when I was younger without buckling in fear and shame.  I can watch it now and not be swayed.  The Christian school I attended in 8th and 9th grade taught pretty much the same things as he is saying. 

For some reason, this video reminds me of the old, obscure videos of Osama bin Laden making threats.  Remember those?  They would just show parts of them on the news, like clips of a couple of seconds. 

When this video was over, I sighed and remembered an old movie where when a woman got berated by her husband, her friend turned to her and said, "Chin up, young person." 

Chin up!  If there is a dark side, then this is it.  We live in a world where there are so many who want to do harm.  Where is the balance between staring it down and overcoming it? I would respond to this young man by saying, "Let us love one another as Christ loved us", but he'd probably have just as much of a problem with that as he'd have with anything else I would have to say. 

Friday, August 7, 2015

Could You See All Sides?

Back when I owned a lot of books, a good portion of my child advocate library contained books making the case against child soldiers.  It was easy to agree.  Now, I surprise myself by daring to see a different view.  This article started circulating about the Yazidi people fighting isis.  When I was 21-22, I had a Bosnian roommate who would wake up screaming from PTSD, having grown up around a war zone in the 1980's.  Not only that, but the 16 year old girl here reminds me of me when I was 16 for some reason.  That's the age that I started working and started thinking more like an adult. When I was a young idealist, it would have been easy for me to be against this.  But life is a lot more complicated now, and if you read the article, you see that the girl wants to fight.  It's a normal human reaction.  Like my old roommate, she's seen family and friends terrorized.  It's too easy to think a child should not be somewhere doing something when you are literally and figuratively an entire world away. 

The Eye of the Beholder

For many years at a busy interstate intersection in downtown Houston, there has been this overpass graffiti challenging you to "be someone".  Recently, someone defaced it and changed the message to "be one."
To be honest, I never liked the saying "be someone", and I cringed whenever I drove past it.  It's condescending.  Everyone is "someone".  While I'm not one for graffiti and defacing property, "Be One" is a much more positive thing to say. 

No Real Christians

There's a guy I sometimes chat with who is also a postmate.  He is always posting stuff that sounds like stuff my church would say, so I asked him where he goes.  He responded somewhere on the north side, not near my church at all.  I told him that since the heckling event at my church, I have had some uneasiness about going.  The event was far too soon after the church shootings in Charleston.  That's when our conversation got weird.  He told me, "The world hates anything to do with Jesus" as an answer as to why someone would do that in a Christian church.  After a long pause, I said, "The hecklers at Lakewood were Christians."
He said, "They may claim to be Christians, but they are really not." 
I paused again and said, "That's the reason why they were there doing that.  Because they think the same thing about us, that we aren't really Christian."
He insisted that they were not and they knew what they were doing. 
Sometimes, I forget just how much accusing goes on in Christianity about who is not really a Christian.  It even tends to get as far as the core of oneself, when we are constantly told to wonder if we "really" believe or not. 

The event at my church was not a persecution of Christians by non-Christians.  It was a harassment of Christians by other Christians who didn't think we were really Christians.  Just to make that clear. 

I ended my chat with my coworker as well as my desire for him to ask me out. 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

No Right Answers

Coming across this article on a task force trying to determine if it would be wise to enforce universal autism screening, I was reminded that advocating for children is no easy science.  I shared it on facebook, and literally no one liked or commented.  What's the answer?  Is there one?  Is it as easy as saying yes we should or no we shouldn't?  There are too many factors in this for it to be so black and white.  There are too many factors in anything having to do with children to be so black and white. 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Quote permission needed.

I found a great quote that I would like to use in the beginning of my book to help describe the desire for a child by someone who does not have kids yet. This is the quote. "Before you were conceived, I wanted you. Before you were born, I loved you. Before you were an hour, I would die for you. This is the miracle of love.". Maureen Hawkins. How do I go about obtaining a permission to use a quote in a book?

Monday, August 3, 2015

Houston Womens Group

Yesterday, I attended this group at Houston's First Unitarian Church.  I've known about it since Annalise was a baby.  In fact, once I brought Annalise to the group when she was about three months old.  To my surprise, Iris was very welcoming of a baby.  I later ran into Iris when I was working at the Children's Museum.  She was taking her grandchildren there.  Yesterday, Iris was absent, but it was still worth going. 

They talked about political issues like global warming and black lives matter.  The conversation shifted to women earning less in the workplace than men.  One woman brought up that women don't earn less for the same title and position anymore, rather, there is a sneaky system in place where companies create different titles for men and pay them more.  I spoke up for the first time and asked what they all thought having children affecting the issue of women earning less.  They all agreed that women having children was a HUGE factor. 

My reason for going was to gain more feminist perspectives on having children for my book.  About 17 years ago, I found myself in a feminist forum much like this one (only it was online, not in person) and their disdain towards my desire to get married and have children launched my idea to make a career out of helping children.  This time around, I have thicker skin, and am more careful about how I word things now than when I was 20.  I am surprising myself by realizing that the feminists 17 years ago who lambasted me and called me names really did mean well and just didn't know how else to show it.  Iris and her group would not become verbally abusive that I can imagine, but they will disagree.  I hope to find the right opportunity whenever I go to bring up the idea of children so I can paint an accurate picture of feminists and children when I write the intro to my book "The Child Advocate". 

Lauren Daigle - First (Lyrics)

I like this song.  Lauren Daigle has the style of voice that I like.  The song is very simple, and I love when it comes on the radio. 

Sunday, August 2, 2015

The 100 club

In the Houston Postmates facebook secret group, one of the guys makes these pictures of you when you do your 100th delivery.  I did my 100th delivery yesterday.  I also did my 101st delivery, which was to the exact same customer that my first delivery was to. 
I am liking Postmates.  Some restaurants don't like us, though, because they think we take their tips away.  I don't know if this is true, but I like making tips anyway.  I've never worked in a restaurant. 
Some of the Houston Postmates are in a race to get to the 1K club- the 1,000 delivery mark.  With all else I have going on, I'm not sure I'll beat them on that one, but I'll try.  You get out of Postmates what you put in to it. 
I once followed a blog of a girl named Beeb whose internet handle was super coupon girl.  She kept at it and kept at it, until one day she won $10K.  I feel like Postmates is the same way.  Sometimes the payouts are high, and sometimes not, but if you keep at it and be persistent, one day you'll get a big reward.  I also like the support from the others.  When I worked at the Children's Museum, the coworkers were like family.  The other Postmates are starting to feel like that way, like I will have that in coworkers again eventually.