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square, Abe Hagenston, digital panhandling, homeless, homelessness

A 42-year-old Detroit homeless man, Abe Hagenston better known as Honest Abe, is in the business of being homeless. You read that right, he has taken panhandling to the next level by developing a website for people to use to hire him and other homeless people to do odd jobs. He even bought a square so that he can accept credit cards from his cell phone. He has a business license and merchant’s account and all card swipes go through square.com and they do his merchant processing so he has no access to your credit card info.

I was confused because I thought homelessness was the result of some horrible thing that happened to someone, like getting AIDS, losing your house in a fire or having your child get hit by a car and here in your arms one minute and gone the next. I thought that these things could happen to anyone. That was the tragedy. Any of us could fall victim to this type of travesty at any time through no fault of our own just really shitty circumstances. That’s why I give when I can but when I heard words like square, website and business license, it felt more like a choice than a situation beyond one’s own control. It felt intentional but I didn’t know the whole story.

Apparently, honest Abe has been in the business of being homeless for nearly a decade and just got tired of hearing people say that they wish they could help but they just didn’t have any cash on them. It’s true; we are becoming a cashless society. I seldom have cash and usually, I give food because I can charge it. He got tired of just waiting for something to happen to turn his life around so he created a way to help himself and others.

“Being homeless is my business. Now my business is being homeless,” he said.

At first when I heard this story, I was a little leery. I mean, how the hell can a homeless man afford a phone, a data plan, have a website and think to use a square to get donations? I would never have thought of all of that and I work online in the space. Apparently, Honest Abe has a better business sense than most.

When I heard the blurb on the radio this morning, I firmly believed this guy was a scam artist who was lazy and just trying to find an easy way to make a buck instead of working (because there are people who do that.) There was an entire expose a few years back about suburbanites who made panhandling their jobs to the tune of $65,000 a year because they didn’t want to work. They enjoyed the hustle. That’s when I started giving food.

But then I researched his site, watched his video and read his story and I may have been wrong. I think this guy is just smart and trying to make the best out of a bad situation. He actually doesn’t want a hand out, he wants a hand up and he wants to pass it on.

square, Abe Hagenston, digital panhandling, homeless, homelessness

It seems that my life has been a series of rebuilding.  Along the way I have learned that hard work, determination, ethical and moral decision making, along with a positive attitude is the right combination to pull yourself out of a hole.  However, just once I wish there was someone with a rope to assist.  I have never had the benefit of being assisted.  I have always found myself in the wrong demographic, ineligible for assistance other than food stamps, having to struggle when I could have been making progress.  I have never even heard of a homeless program (let alone seen one) that actually presented itself as a viable pick you up, dust you off and send you running, all the bells and whistles included full package program.

Being homeless gives a person a lot of time to reflect on what went wrong, and what a person could do differently if given the chance.

Hagenston’s cellphone was provided by the federal government’s Lifeline Assistance program and is known as the “Obamaphone.” His website is a free WIX website that he set up and accesses via the public library.

He doesn’t get food stamps and he refuses to lie about his mental state or do anything illegal to get housing. He wants to earn his way but, due to circumstances beyond his control, he is without a home and any identification and this prohibits him from securing employment.

There are 4 options left to me.  I could steal, deal drugs, prostitute, or fly a sign.  The first 3 are out of the question.  I am not slick enough to steal, I am not mean enough to deal drugs, and I am not pretty enough to prostitute.  So, you see me at 8 and Woodward.  I mean what else am I supposed to do?  Just lay down and starve to death?

I think he seems rather bright and business savvy. He may just be a genius. He is not only trying to get himself and other homeless people honest work and pay, he is trying to develop an app to identify the truly needy homeless from those who just pretend to be panhandlers which I would personally love to have because I love to help others but I’d like to know that they are actually in need of food and care not just panhandling because they don’t want to be stuck in a cubicle all day.

If this guy is for real, he is everything we need in this country. We have so many starving, homeless people on our own streets that we need to feed and if they can work for what they earn and provide for themselves, maybe we can help not only feed them but allow them to feel/be productive in society. That is a genuine win win situation for all of us. I find his entrepreneurial sense refreshing. He’s not giving up on himself, he’s reinventing himself within his circumstances.

What do you think of Honest Abe and the business of being homeless?

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Sugar, homeless youth

Most of us are lucky. We may not be wealthy beyond our wildest dreams but we have a roof over our heads and can afford to feed our children. Maybe we can’t give our children everything, but they don’t want for much if anything. I think that is the goal of every parent to learn from his or her own childhood and give our children a better childhood. It’s the natural evolution of parenthood. But sometimes life doesn’t turn out the way you intended it.

This summer when we were in Chicago was the first time my daughters ever saw a homeless person up close and personal. We were walking downtown and group of teenagers holding a sign stating that they were homeless and in desperate need of money for food. My 6-year-old just stared at them. It was hard for her to understand how anyone could survive homeless. She had a lot of questions and specifically wanted to know why any child’s parents would not protect their child and let them be homeless, she was baffled. Why were they homeless on the street when they were just a little bit older than she was?

I had no answers for her. She is too young to understand that financial circumstances may have lead to an entire family without a home and food and all the other bare necessities of life. She is to young to understand that due to sexual molestation or child abuse some children choose to run to survive and living on the street is preferred to being abused at home. She is too young for these conversations and every child is too young to be homeless and on their own.

There is a new movie by executive producer Elliott Broidy called called ‘Sugar’ follows the challenges of a 20-year-old woman thrust into homelessness in Venice Beach, California after the death of her family in a car accident. The ensuing plot spotlights the increased risks of violence, despair and social disconnect faced by homeless youth in a rapidly changing world. She ends up making lasting relationships with other homeless teens. Rotini Rainwater and Elliott Broidy’s Sugar is inspired by real events and has goals to educate people on homelessness in America.

Elliott Broidy has teamed with Director Rotimi Rainwater to document the multiple risks of youth homelessness. The movie’s script is drawn from Rotimi Rainwater’s experiences on the streets of Orlando following his tenure in the United States Navy.

Watch the trailer below!

Sugar does a great job portraying the social challenges faced by today’s homeless youth. For older kids, Sugar is a great movie to answer some of the questions that they might have when they see those forgotten teens on the street. It can help teach our children compassion and tolerance and it may just help us figure out how to explain this difficult situation to our small children and maybe by bringing attention to youth homelessness we can start to work to eradicate it.



Disclaimer:I was compensated and provided information about the movie to share it with my audience but all opinions are my own.

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“Mommy, why is that man with no legs asking you for money?”

My daughter asked me this when she was 3-years-old. We were downtown Chicago for the Christmas lighting ceremony one holiday season and he was the first person who was homeless that she had ever seen.

I saw the man’s sign and I explained to her that he was a veteran of the military who had lost his legs while serving our country. I explained that he had fallen on hard times and now was homeless and had no job. I explained that it is very difficult for someone to get a job when they don’t have an address to put on an application.

I could see it in her face, she wanted to know why someone who did so much to protect us wasn’t being taken care of by the collective “us.” She’s right. Why don’t we take care of our people when they are in need?

She asked us to give the man some money and, of course, we stopped and gave him some money. My husband then bought him something to eat and gave it to him. This is something the Big Guy is known to do quite frequently when he sees someone in need. It’s one of the things I love most about him.

Anyway, it all makes for a great teachable moment but I was a little taken aback by the situation because you don’t expect your preschooler to notice these things and you certainly don’t expect them to ask for an explanation. In all honesty, I think we hope that our children are so tightly encased in their protective bubble that they never have to know. Or maybe we just wish the situation didn’t exist in the first place.

We spend our parental lifetime doing our best to make sure that our children have all that they need so that they don’t have to know that want or need. But the reality is that there are some people who run into problems in life and end up homeless for a multitude of reasons.

Homelessness is an issue plaguing cities and neighborhoods across the country. At some point, most of our children will see a person who is homeless or asking for money and ask us about the situation like my daughter did, all those years ago. How you handle it will certainly shape the way your child reacts to future similar situations.

Here are some suggestions on how to answer your child’s questions and what you can do to make a positive impact not only on the life of people who are homeless but in your child’s life by teaching them compassion, empathy, kindness and love for their fellow man. After all, isn’t that what we want? To raise good human beings?


– Answer the child’s questions honestly. Show empathy and compassion for the person
who is homeless. Answers should be person-centered (the man who is homeless rather
than the homeless man). Using this type of language reinforces empathy and compassion for people.

– Answers should be short and speak to the child’s question. Don’t elaborate if not needed.

– Talk about what it means to be homeless: a person has no place to sleep, to eat, to shower and keep clean, or to keep their belongings.

– Speak about social problems that can cause homelessness.

o A person doesn’t have money to maintain a home – a home costs money.

o A person may not be connected to family/friends to help them.

o A person may have mental illness. Mental illness is when a person’s brain is not working the way it is supposed to.

– Talk about reasons why some people do not have money to maintain a home.

– Don’t attempt to use a person who is homeless as an example of what could happen if the child doesn’t stay in school, go to college, doesn’t get a good job or uses drugs.

– If the child wants to do something to improve the situation, you can:

o Talk about the many different ways to make a difference for people in need, such as making a donation to a local charity, volunteering, organizing a collection effort like a coat drive, food drive or toy drive.

o You can also include a bus pass or some small bills for transportation.

o create homeless hygiene kits to distribute to those in need. Using a large resealable plastic bag, include items and snacks such as granola bars, graham crackers, or fruit snacks; bottled water; socks; hats, scarves; deodorant; toothbrush and toothpaste; band aids; hand sanitizer; Kleenex; hand lotion; shaving cream and disposable razors; toilet paper; chap stick; hand lotion; and shampoo and conditioner.

o Include notes of encouragement or favorite bible verses, or a child’s drawing.

– You can purchase pre-made kits at www.salvationarmystore.com/comfort-pouch-kit.html.

– Or visit https://centralusa.salvationarmy.org/metro/homeless_hygiene_kits for a list of items to include and a downloadable sheet of notecards.

I love the idea of keeping pre-made kits in your car to hand out when you see a person who is homeless and in need. It’s a great way to get the children involved and be proactive. If you are like me, I seldom have cash on me but if you already have kits made with a few dollars in them for a meal, you don’t have to worry about that. Not to mention, you can make the kits a few at a time and give them out as you see the need. It’s a wonderful example to set for your child and it allows them to do something positive to change the situation, rather than just feeling helpless. We need to encourage them to be kind to those in need and give those who need it a hand up.

Last year The Salvation Army provided shelter to 628 men, women and children at the Evangeline Booth Lodge family shelter in Chicago. The Booth Lodge is one of Chicago’s only shelters that keeps families together.

The Salvation Army mobile feeding and outreach program makes 32 stops daily throughout Chicago to provide hot meals and support services to people who are homeless.

I think it’s our duty as parents to teach our children to have compassion for people in need and if they can, do something to help. We have to lead by example and be that change we want to see in the world. If we don’t, how will our children ever learn to care, to fight for what’s right, to stand up against what’s wrong and to be the change this world needs? It all begins with us showing them how to get involved and to choose to do good rather than do nothing. Homelessness is not just someone else’s problem, it is everyone’s problem.

How will you teach your child to help the homeless?[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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Rudy Eugene, Ronald Poppo, Zombie, MacArthur Causeway, Miami Florida, Bath Salts

Throat Punch Thursday,Rudy Eugene, Ronald Poppo, MacArthur CAuseway, Miami Florida

Upon further viewing, maybe this Kangaroo is a Zombie about to eat a face off

Zombie Apocalypse is a real thing? What the hell is the world coming to when unsuspecting (sleeping no less) homeless people, Ronald Poppo, are getting stripped, beaten and having their faces ripped off by out of their mind junkies, Rudy Eugene, who present like something from the Walking Dead? Now, that is one hell of a gruesome way to be woken up. I am never complaining about my 4 year old jumping on me and strangling me with hugs at 5 am, EVER again. I’ll take rambunctious babies out of drug induced zombie ANY day of the week.

Rudy Eugene, Ronald Poppo, Zombie, MacArthur Causeway, Miami Florida, Bath Salts

A drug induced Zombie & his Victim in better days

I’m sure many of you are aware of this story, as it has been hot on the internet since it happened on Saturday. If not, here is the gist of it. A man, Rudy Eugene, supposedly high on a new form of the drug LSD, bath salts, attacked a homeless man, Ronald Poppo, who was asleep on the MacArthur Causeway in Miami, Florida. Mr. Eugene, literally, ripped the flesh off the homeless man’s face, Ronald Poppo, with his teeth not unlike a zombie might do. Yes, you heard me right. Even more unbelievable is that the entire incident took place on the MacArthur Causeway, a busy stretch of road near the beach. Drivers and bikers alike drove past for almost 20 minutes, no one stopped to help the man being attacked but several called 911.Honestly, I am not sure that I would have stopped if I saw, what surely looked like a zombie attack, taking place. I would have been afraid that the attacker might eat my face off too. Call me an asshole but I don’t think that would be a particularly enjoyable way to expire.

Cops arrived on the gruesome scene and tried to get Mr. Eugene to dismount Mr. Poppo and stop cannibalizing his face. Mr. Eugene looked up at them and growled. The cops had to separate Mr. Eugene from Mr. Poppo’s face by shooting him. Even after being shot, just like a zombie, Rudy Eugene kept on eating the man’s face until he was shot to death. By the time it was all said and done, 80% of Mr. Poppo’s face had been removed, including his eyes, nose and mouth.All that remained of Mr. Poppo’s face is his beard. I will not provide the photos of Mr.Poppo’s zombie attacked face because they are unbelievably horrifying.

Throat Punch goes to the drug bath salts that is creating an epidemic of junkies who are behaving like zombies in the worst kind of way. Throat Punch to the asshole drug dealers who continue to sell this drug when this is not the first time something like this has happened. Throat Punch to Rudy Eugene for acting like a zombie and ripping the face off of an unsuspecting homeless man. There is a lot of crazy shit going on in the world, bad things. Can we just say no to a drug induced zombie apocalypse?

Do you think this is a bad drug reaction or could this be the nearest thing we get to a zombie apocalypse?

Is the Zombie Apocalypse Upon Us?

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#ChampionsforKids, hungry, child, Snacks for students

Every once in awhile I get the opportunity to use my piece of the Internet for something good. I love when that happens because it makes me feel like I have a higher purpose than just documenting my life online. It gives me a chance to actively make the world a better place for my girls, to be a good example and give back.

I partnered with The Motherhood and Champions for Kids for their Snacks for Students Program. Champions for Kids is the first of several campaigns to launch nationally, with the goal to provide resources for more than 10 million children in 2015. It makes it simple to give kids in your own community the resources they need to thrive. Since 2004, Champions for Kids has served more than 5.4 million children across all 50 states through in-store donation campaigns, service projects and community events.

Champions for Kids, General Mills, Kellogg’s, Emerald and Kettle Chips have joined forces to make it simple for communities to provide basic resources for students through in-store donations.

The Snacks for Students program is part of the Champions for Kids program that seeks to make it simple for shoppers to purchase and donate items to children in need. I chose to work with a local organization called Charis House for Homeless Mothers and Children. This is a cause close to my heart because there are so many brave women who have to make the decision to leave an abusive relationship, many relinquishing all financial stability in order to give their children and themselves a better chance at life.

From February 16 to March 2, U.S. customers at more than 3,600 participating Walmart stores can purchase snacks and breakfast items for children and place them inside designated donation bins. All donations made in-store will stay in the local community and be distributed through school districts or youth-based organizations. This is the perfect way to give back to the people that should matter the most to you, the children in your own community. Doesn’t every child deserve a full belly?

In addition, Champions for Kids, General Mills, Kellogg’s, Emerald and Kettle Chips will provide 13 awards, totaling $45,000, to school districts and participating youth-based organizations based on the total number of donated items collected in each store.

I am proud to be a part of this program and to be able to help the Charis House for Homeless Mothers and Children. Who will you help feed?

Disclosure: I partnered with The Motherhood, Champions for Kids and Walmart to provide donations for the organization of my choice but all opinions are my own.

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tyrant, child, stubborn, disciplining an obstinant child

My daughter has metamorphosed from a sweet, loving child into a tyrant who rules with a iron fist and a sadistic sense of humor. It feels as if she’s made it her mission to frustrate me to the point of submission. I have to admit, she’s getting close this morning.

I was all set to write my post about this upcoming year…my resolutions. I have them plenty, only mine aren’t resolutions they are revolutions. Nope, no empty threats, just promises to myself to do and be better. I had it all worked out in my mind only I can’t write that post today because I’m laying here on my bed contemplating the meaning of it all. This, my friends, is what happens when you are taken emotionally hostage by a tiny tyrant whom you happen to love unconditionally.

Look, I’ve never been the mom who could say, suck it up and rub some dirt on it and move on. I’m the mom who gasps and kisses booboos, even when it’s not my kid who got hurt. My mommy heart is just too damn big for my own good. My daughters know this.

Sure, I come off like a cold-hearted twat sometimes but I’m not. Not even a little bit, especially when it comes to little people. That’s my soft spot and when they are my own, well, that’s my fucking kryptonite and they know that.

This morning, my littlest one made it her mission to do my head in. There is no other possible explanation for it. You see, my eldest has entered the tween years and is emotional, hormonal and has perfected the eye roll to my dismay. I expect this and I have developed a tolerance as to not lose my mind. We’ve been having long discussions about hormones and puberty and why it’s necessary to wash your face every single day, especially since your dad suffered from acne. She half gets the message. All I can do is offer advice, give her a facial cleaning system and be there, astringent in hand, when the shit hits the fan.

However, when the 8-year-old gets a full on, honest to God pimple on her chin and literally freaks the fuck out, I have no idea what to do. I tried rationale but let’s be honest, you can’t be rational with an 8-year-old with a white head about to burst. She worked herself into such a tizzy that yesterday, I kept her home because she had diarrhea. I know TMI but I honestly, thought the kid had the stomach flu. Not until last night when she came to me with tears in her eyes asking if I could cover up the pimple and told me that her stomach issues were caused by her nerves did I realize the weight of that damn pimple.

I spent yesterday coddling and reassuring her that it’s no big deal and I would help her clean her face and astringent the damn thing to death. I felt bad for her. I know the frustration that comes with pimples and a body that you have no control over. I was understanding and nurturing. I was going to smother that pimple in love and self-confidence if it killed us both. Hell, I even let the little one climb into my bed when she told me she was nervous and her stomach was bothering her at bedtime. However, that was yesterday. This morning was a different story.

In the place where my child who wanted pity and coddling stood yesterday was a defiant, mean spirited tyrant this morning. She woke up tired, because she stayed up too late explaining her stomachache and pimple woes last night. She didn’t want to get out of bed. Finally she got ready. Argued over breakfast. Went to the bathroom, where she proceeded, not to use the bathroom. Cried as I covered up the pimple as she had asked and just when it was completely invisible, she grabbed a tissue and yelled at me that it wasn’t working and smudged the whole thing.

Then she told me that I don’t care about her because if I did I wouldn’t send her to school where she very well might “poop” herself or throw up in mass. I email the teacher to make her aware that my daughter may or may not poop or throw up during mass, either way, please call me to pick her up if she does so and for the love of God, if the kid says she has to go to the toilet…this is not a drill. Heed my warning, woman. What kind of monster am I? (Probably the kind who hasn’t been alone in 3 weeks.)

Meanwhile, I go on feeding her sister and brushing hair, all the while the littlest is dragging her feet and making us late and absolutely refusing to eat. I can do no right. Every single thing I do, including taking breath is annoying her. I wasted so much time trying to cajole her into gear that I have to get myself ready in 1 minute. It’s okay; I have no intention of ever leaving my vehicle. Finally, we head out the door with 4 minutes to get to school that is a minimum of 5 minutes away. She’s fidgeting and sighing exasperation at a deafening tone. I ignore it as I tell myself, this too shall pass.

We get to school and she refuses to kiss me goodbye. Oh the defiance is strong with this one. You know when you’re a child and you piss your mom off and she curses you by saying those fateful words, “I hope you have one just like you when you grow up?” Well, my mom was good at it because I got a Mega mini me on steroids; big heart, big mouth and more stubborn than any mule who has ever lived. It will serve her well in the real world someday but it’s slowly driving me insane.

After all this, in the middle of my daily prayer for them to survive their school day, she walks back to the car and tells me that she’s going to be sick. I offer to walk her in. She refuses and walks away, only to instantly turn around and say, “Are you coming or what?” I jump out of my car, looking like a homeless person (who wasn’t expecting to be seen in public) as I have to chase her down in my boot cast (because I just had surgery a week ago and am back in the boot). She stays at least 15 feet ahead of me all the way into the building.

Finally, I hobble into her classroom, looking even crazier with sweat and explain the possible shit situation to her delightful teacher who looks at me like I might need some lithium in my life. I then walk over to my daughter to confirm that I have, in fact, made the teacher aware of the situation and there will be no shitting or vomiting on herself on my watch to which she responds by giving me the side eye as she maintains her 15-foot buffer and mutters, “Whatever!” I catch up and kiss her goodbye just to show her whose boss.

Just to make the morning even more magnificent than being caught in public wearing leggings as pants and looking like a homeless person covered in sweat and frustration, I was greeted while exiting the building by the annoyingly good looking 20-something year old vice principal who I serve on the school board with. I thought parenting was supposed to get easier as our children got older so why am I feeling like I’ve just been water boarded by a tiny tyrant with a pimple on her chin and a really terrible, no good, very bad Napoleon complex?

If this tyrant attitude is hanging around for the teen years, I may not survive.

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spark goodness, random acts of kindness, teaching kids to be kind, how to raise kind children

Disclosure: Sponsored by author T.A. Barron and the Spark Goodness Program.

How do you teach your kids to be good people? Sounds simple, right? We think its innate but really, we lead by example. It’s not something you learn just from being told to do so. The way it makes you feel also is not something you can explain. It’s like childbirth in that way. The only way to experience it is to do it and to feel it wash over you like a warm rain shower in the summertime. It feels special, beautiful and fulfilling.

I’ve always told my girls that you get out of the world what you put into it. This is something my parents taught me. Life is not about collecting all the things. It is about living a life that is meaningful, intentional and purposeful and at the end of the day, it’s about being the kind of person that you’d like to encounter in the world.

READ ALSO: The Starbucks Effect

It’s summertime and the girls have had a definite lull in their schedule compared to the school year. They are required to do service work throughout the year for school. This is something they have always done. Aside from that, they’ve always seen me volunteer my time, money and experience for many different causes that I support. I do this because I believe in it and I love actively raising awareness. It gives me purpose. It makes me feel fulfilled. I want this for my girls too.

The world is what we make of it. We have to be active participants. Waiting for life to happen to you is not very fulfilling. I want my girls to know that sparking goodness does not have to mean giant, sweeping declarations of righteousness because, honestly, the idea of creating these grand gestures can be quite intimidating and daunting. I’m showing my girls that all it takes is a spark of goodness to ignite a raging fire.

Each act of kindness we perform has ripples and they reverberate and touch everyone around. Maybe it’s nothing more than grabbing an item at the grocery store from the top shelf for an elderly woman. It takes a second but she won’t forget that kindness. Though it was a second of your time, it might have meant everything to an elderly woman struggling to get her green beans. This causes her to smile and it makes her day brighter, her disposition sunnier and that is contagious.

READ ALSO: Random Acts of Kindness

My daughters see these acts every day. They’ve seen my husband buy meals for homeless people many times. They’ve seen us help our elderly neighbors, take meals to sick friends, give clothing to the homeless shelter or friends who could use them. They’ve seen me raise 10000 for Leukemia and Lymphoma. They know that every act of kindness matters.

I see, when they think I’m not looking, holding the door for people. Helping the elderly at the stores. Donating their allowance to special causes. Volunteering their free time which they don’t have much of to begin with. I am proud that they have made this a priority in their lives. I hope they never forget that every small act reaches many lives.

This year, T.A. Barron, well known for his philanthropy and creator of the popular Merlin book series that is currently being made into a film by Disney, wants to help influence children to find their inner hero.

To support this dream of creating more light in the world, he came up with the #SparkGoodness campaign that encourages individuals to bring good and light into the world. He even provided a list of ways families can spark goodness in their own communities.

spark goodness, random acts of kindness, teaching kids to be kind, how to raise kind children

Those that share are highlighted via his social media feeds and entered to win a monthly prize as well as a grand prize at the end of the year. T.A. Barron even provided an easy sheet to track all of your families sparks of goodness this summer.

spark goodness, random acts of kindness, teaching kids to be kind, how to raise kind childrenEven though sparking goodness is its own reward, I’d love to encourage you and your families to enter T.A. Barron’s year long #SparkGoodness contest. Those that share are highlighted via his social media feeds and entered to win a monthly prize, as well as a grand prize at the end of the year. The July prize is a set of family yard games valued at over $ 200!

How do you inspire your children to commit sparks of goodness and rand acts of kindness?


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coughing, stress incontinence

Why is it that women of a certain age who have children can no longer cough or sneeze without crossing their legs to stop themselves from pissing. Don’t even get me started on the coughing fits. I have another cold and I am terrified that I might piss myself in public. I am actually choosing my wardrobe based on which is least likely to reveal my coughing fit piss stain. I am becoming a Holiday hermit for fear of urinating myself in public.

I’ve tried party-liners and, let me just be frank with you, they only work if you have one of those teeny tiny sneezes or can slam your thighs shut in the spur of the moment like a bear trap. But if you have a full-on coughing fit or, God forbid, a child or dog sitting on your lap when the unfortunate incident takes place, foggedaboutit you better just get yourself a pair of Depends because in some situations its just better to be safe than sorry.  Sorry you pissed your pants Grandma. Yeah, I feel 105 every time I cough. I love my daughters but did their heads have to be SO damn big?

As if it were not bad enough that they split me apart and there is no longer a urethra, vagina and asshole but just one gaping wound, now I can’t even keep liquids down..errr inside..you know what I mean! This should be included in the What to Expect when You’re Expecting manuals. This should be told to every little girl that watches the puberty video. We should all be forewarned that we will piss ourselves after giving birth.I don’t know about you but I don’t particularly relish the thought of running around all stuffed up from a head cold smelling of the faint scent of urine like the homeless women on Randolph because I can’t smell anything and no one has the heart to tell me. Just tell me.

I was so concerned about shitting on the delivery table while pushing my children out into the world, if only I had known about the entire pissing ever after, I may have begged for a Caesarian section. They say that a steady regime of Kegels will rectify the situation but I say, they are damn liars. I have kegeled so much that I walk around with my vagina closed tight like a fist and yet, one rogue tickle in my throat and cough and there I stand, with a leaking closed fist where my vagina used to be. It should come standard to do some sort of urethra/bladder reconstruction for all women after giving birth. At the very least, can we stick an extra stitch or two in there to bring it back to some semblance of normal? Hell, sew it shut. I just don’t want to have a steady drip during flu season. Yes, doctor, I would like the number 3; urethra reconstruction, labia beautification and a tummy tuck.

Anyone else dreading cold season and stocking up on panty liners? Don’t say know because I noticed a definite shortage of Tylenol cold and flu and pantyliners at the local Target, coincidence? I think not!

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Gabi, birthday, ballet, recital, turning 7, birthday, love letter, love letter to my 7-year-old, love letter to my child

Today, I wrote a love letter to my daughter on her 7th birthday. My Gabi, my last baby turns 7-years-old. She is sort of amazing. I look at her and I can’t believe how much she has changed in 7 short years. She is nowhere near the chubby, 8 pounds 6 ounces, full head of black curly hair baby that I delivered who looked up with those giant big blue eyes and melted my heart. She stopped me in my tracks. That baby girl took my breath away and stole my heart forever. My love for my girls is immeasurable. Every year I try to quantify it for them in some way in a post, a love letter to my child, but it always falls short because how can you express the true meaning of to the moon and back plus infinity with all that I am or will ever be? It’s the kind of all-consuming love that hurts.

READ ALSO: Love Letter to my Five year-old

Today, the tall, waif-thin little girl with scraped knees and long flowing strawberry blonde hair with those same big blue eyes that make my heart happy is constantly changing. The freckles that kiss the tops of her cheeks beg me to kiss them and commit them to memory because at this moment, I know, she is changing, evolving, every single second. I breathe in deep and I inhale this moment, this child that she is right this minute. This same child who runs hot and cold at all times, the one who is so passionate about her convictions that sometimes she gets in her own way. How I adore her verve for life.

This is my love letter for your 7th year.


You came into my world and have been my happiness ever since. Your smiles soothe me, your tears tear me down and your sadness destroys me. Your laughter is contagious and infectious and can heal the world. On this 7th anniversary of the day you were born, my beautiful, amazing girl, I wish you a lifetime of the same wholehearted, all in love that you give to others.


Gabi, birthday, ballet, recital, turning 7, birthday, love letter, love letter to my 7-year-old, love letter to my child

You are moody and broody and artistic and funny and vibrant and in total living Technicolor. You are a rainbow and a unicorn and all that the world has to offer that is good. You are shy and that scares me because the thought of you feeling unsure breaks my heart because I can’t fix this for you. But I am here, for today and for always, to hold your hand, to wipe away the tears and yes, to kick anyone’s ass my mama bear heart needs to. You drive me crazy with your independence when it’s in direct opposition to my plan but, inside, I am so proud of you for standing your ground.

READ ALSO: Love Letter to My Tween

I love that you stick up for what you believe in and for the underdog. I love your stubbornness and your follow through. I love that your heart compels you to get involved when you see a homeless person, sick person or a sad child. I love you for being exactly who you are and I would never change a thing about that. You are the perfect you in every way.


Gabi, birthday, ballet, recital, turning 7, birthday, love letter, love letter to my 7-year-old, love letter to my child


I celebrate you and all that you have become today and I celebrate the day that I met one of the most amazing people that I’ve ever known. I wish you a lifetime of love and acceptance of yourself, I want you to see and love yourself the way I see you; perfect, just the way you are.


Gabi, birthday, ballet, recital, turning 7, birthday, love letter, love letter to my 7-year-old, love letter to my child

Happiest 7th Birthday, my sweet baby girl, with the giant heart. Mommy loves you to the moon and back plus infinity and beyond. Oops, gotta go kiss someone, it’s her birth minute.


When was the last time you wrote a real, handwritten love letter?

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turning 40. surviving 40

When I was turning 40, I had been warned ad naseum about how my body was going to give me a great big “FUCK YOU” and I took it with a grain of salt because, let’s face it, I am a stubborn broad and you can’t tell me anything and for the love of Pete, please don’t tell me that I CAN’T do something because chances are that I will do it…JUST TO PROVE YOU WRONG. Seriously, it is a disease with me.

Anyways, bossy, stubborn bitch aside that I can be, I really didn’t believe there was a magical age at which your body just shuts down and it’s all down hill. Plus, I refuse to believe that my middle age is 40. Fuck that noise, I am living to 105. So middle age can kiss my ass until I am around 53.

Sometimes, life sneak attacks you, ninja style and that is kind of what has been happening. There was no giant weight gain. Come on, I’ve been gaining weight steadily since the great exodus of eating disorders in 1997 and the introduction of mood stabilizers in 2000. It was a combo for body disaster. Then I got pregnant and started raising babies and my life, in its entirety, became a steady, uncontrollable run away train. It’s just how I was function.

Little to no sleep, everyone’s needs put before my own, eating terribly, exercising seldomly and losing all sense of fashion and self. I essentially got to the place of overloaded, overwhelmed and barely functioning but I thought it was okay because, in the end, I was functioning. I made concessions here and there and lowered my standards. Life essentially beat the crap out of me and left me for dead…in fucking yoga pants, a ponytail and about 75 pounds overweight.

Sure, I tried to bring back the feisty broad that I once was…several times. Clear! I was putting the paddle to the sad little broad’s life but nothing. Sure, there’d be a revelation here and there and I’d start working out or watching what I ate, coloring my hair and actually treating myself like a human and then something would break, funds would get tight and there I went to the wayside again. It’s embarrassing to let yourself go, especially when you used to be proud of who you were; what you were; what you looked like and your tenacity. You begin to feel like you had it all and you let it slip through your fingers and then you feel guilty because look at what you have instead…your children. Sure, you look like a homeless fatty but damn it, you are a good mother. But are you? Really?

How great of a mom can I be if I look defeated at 41? What kind of example am I? Then on top of all of that, I noticed my hair falling out by the handfuls every time I showered (Stress is a cruel bitch), crows feet just waiting to delve even deeper, my skin is a desolate dessert, my hair is not only starting it’s own gray hair club the rest of my hair is taking on a texture that can only be described as witchy; it looks like the curls and the straight parts got into a fight and no one won. Plus, my eyelids and my boobs are a little lower and my skin looks decidedly less smooth. Plus, there is the overweight issue. The issue being that I yo-yo between starving, dieting and eating whatever the hell I want. ALL these are bad for me, especially since apparently, metabolism has taken an early retirement.

So I am doing research. I will not go gently into that good night of middle age. I want to look like I grew old gracefully but there is nothing graceful about the knock-down, drag out fight that mother nature and I are about to have.

Here are some tips that make turning 40 awesome:

Vaseline is a miracle cure for dry feet. I am not joking. Take a shower, wash your feet, get out, pat those feet well and slather them with Petroleum Jelly an then put on plain white cotton socks. Within 2 days I turned my pterodactyl talons into smooth baby feet. But you have to keep it up or the crypt keeper feet will come back.

Wen is a awesome. Yep, I saw all the infomercials but didn’t believe it. I wasn’t sure that I would feel clean without lather but let me tell you my crazy hair is getting prettier and prettier every day and more importantly I am only losing 5-10 hairs per shower versus the handfuls I was losing. Now, Wen won’t do shit for your grays so you’ll have to get a good stylist and colorist. Go on, do it. You are worth it. Make time and take care of those grays.

Moisturize like your face depends on it because it does. Sure, you need to keep your entire body moisturized because if not you’ll eventually get all ashy and itchy and that’s not cute but if you don’t moisturize your face, you will get wrinkles and look like the damn crypt keeper by the time you are 60. If that doesn’t scare you straight, I don’t know what will. Crow’s feet and laugh lines may be natural and some even tolerable but an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of botox.

Get up and move. I don’t care what you do as long as you are moving. I sit on my ass all day working and my ass looks like it. It’s not being 40 that made metabolism take early retirement; it’s sitting on my ass doing nothing physical. My metabolism gave up on me. The good news is that going from sitting on your ass to any movement at all is going to be an improvement.

Get your sleep. You know people say, “I can sleep when I am dead. YOLO!” Well, as a grown woman who has terrible insomnia and a predilection for mania, I can tell you that sleep is way more valuable to your happiness than your YOLO attitude. Not saying not to live outloud but you can be a lot more lively and vivacious if you get at least 7 hours of sleep, plus you will feel better and people will like to be around you. YOLO is for 21 year olds who haven’t lived life yet. They are too stupid to know what they are saying is complete bullshit. Now, go take a fucking nap.

Wiggle it just a little bit…or a lot. Have sex with your husband, as much as you like. Look, I hear that menopause brings with it some vaginal dryness so girl, you better go get your groove on before you have to buy stock in KY lubricants just to do the deed. Besides, I don’t know about you but if I go more than a week without sex, I get grouchy. Seriously, like I want to punch people in the face grouchy. Have fun. It’s not so serious. This man loves you. Sex and giggling go together perfectly, as long as you’re not doing it anywhere near his penis. That’s grounds for divorce.

All things in moderation. Eat healthy and be happy. Look, I have been slowly but surely eating myself into not just obesity but unhealthiness. I have fallen into the terrible habit of eating processed shit and sugar and not near enough fruits and veggies. That’s all changing. I feel miserable and look terrible by my own standards. So, I am stepping out of my comfort zone and I am going to try to supplement my daily food intake with some juicing. Thanks Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead for scaring the shit out of me.  Anyways, I’ll keep you posted on how all this goes. Just remember, turning 40 is not turning dead. You’ve got this. You are fucking awesome. Now, go show those damn 30 year olds what a real woman looks like:) Never you mind her pregnancy glow.

Shit, is this my midlife crisis? When do I get my sports car and start flirting with 25 year olds? Who am I kidding? A 25-year-old has nothing on the Big Guy.

What’s your best advice to anyone turning 40?

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