Archive for the ‘Just thought you should know’ Category

Being more than 8,000 miles away makes it hard to lend a hand or be of help to the more than 4 million people affected by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. Because it takes money to fund and coordinate relief efforts, that’s where we Americans be of most help. Fortunately, there is a wide variety of organizations to choose from:

  • UNICEF staff in the Philippines is being repositioned to provide emergency aid and the organization is gearing up to deliver supplies to children and their families. Donations can be made online or by texting RELIEF to 864233 to donate $10.
  • CARE teams are on the ground in the Philippines and the organization plans to provide emergency relief to thousands of families. Donations can be made online or by calling 1-800-521-CARE within the United States or 1-404-681-2552.
  • World Vision is mobilizing nearly 500 staff around the country to respond to the disaster. Donations are accepted online and the organization also lets you sponsor a child in the Philippines.
  • The American Red Cross has volunteers spread throughout the region and accepts donations online. You can also mail a check to your local American Red Cross chapter designating Philippines Typhoons and Flood in the memo line.
  • The United Nations World Food Programme is urging Americans to make donations to support its emergency food relief after Typhoon Haiyan. You can donate online or by texting the word AID to 27722 to donate $10.
  • Save the Children is mounting disaster relief efforts to help children and families in the area. Donations can be made online or by texting DONATE to 20222.
  • AmeriCares is deploying medical aid and a relief team to Philippines, and says an emergency shipment with enough medical aid for 20,000 survivors is already on its way.
  • The Philippine Red Cross has deployed staff and volunteers across the region. You can easily make a donation through organization’s website.
  • Doctors Without Borders has had emergency teams in Cebu since Nov. 9.
  • To donate to the Salvation Army‘s Typhoon Haiyan relief efforts, visit its website or text TYPHOON to 80888 to donate $10 and reply YES to confirm your donation. The organization uses 100% of all disaster donations in support of disaster relief.
  • The International Rescue Committee (IRC) has sent an emergency response team to assist with safe water, hygiene and sanitation needs, with additional aid to follow. Donations can be made online or by calling +1 855 9RESCUE.
  • The International Medical Corps is on the ground coordinating with their partners in the Philippines to distribute and provide medical aid. Donations can be made onlineor by calling1-800-481-4462.
  • Mercy Corps responders are working with local partners to provide food, water and shelter. Donations can be made online.
  • Handicap International supports people with disabilities and vulnerable populations in situations of poverty, conflict and disaster. The group has been working in the Philippines since 1985 and is preparing emergency aid for the hard-hit city of Tacloban. Donations can be made online.
  • The United Methodist Committee on Relief is providing funds for the purchase of emergency food, water and and water purification tablets in Tacloban. Donations can be made online or by calling 1-888-252-6174
  • Catholic Relief Services says its assessment teams have reached the hard-hit island of Leyte by boat. The organization will prioritize emergency shelter, water and sanitation, household relief items potable water and toilets. Donations can be made online or by calling 1-877-435-7277.
  • Looking for someone in the Philippines area that is in your family or a friend? Google has launched a person finder for the storm, also known as Yolanda in the Philippines, where you can try to find someone’s whereabouts or enter your own information.
  • Want to donate to a group not listed? CharityNavigator.org rates organizations based on their financial health, accountability and transparency.

List compiled by USA Today.

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Alcohol is weird. Yes, for the very fact it gets you drunk and makes you act ways and say things you never would sober. But also because of the way it makes you act and feel without it. And I’m not talking addiction levels here, like shakes and headaches and such (that’s a whole ‘nother ball game that I’ve dealt with as the daughter of an alcoholic). I’m talking the simple, albeit weird, feelings of social ineptness and incapacitation that come with being sober in a social setting where I would normally be drinking alcohol.

Being at a bar or a party without a drink in my hand is a surreal experience. It’s as if the confidence and outgoing personality that I normally have, sober or buzzed, stayed home for the night. And instead, I become shy and awkward and insecure with only the person in my head to talk to. And let me tell you, that person suddenly has a lot more to say.

I feel so awkward standing here. Think of something to say Lindsay; you always have something to say. Just because you don’t have a cocktail in your hand and one in your belly you suddenly can’t think of anything to say?! They probably think I’m so dull and that it’d be better if I left so they don’t have to feel awkward with me standing there, staring and acting extremely sober. Loosen up Lindsay, smile, act like you’re having fun.

After enduring an hour at the bar, I decide it’s time to go. Says my buzzed friend, one who enjoys a cocktail or two . . . or three or four . . . like me, “What’s it like being the sober one at the bar?”

Ha. I think to myself. If you only knew the mental torture I just went through. I didn’t even bother trying to explain myself to her. And looking back, it’s probably better that I didn’t, because it’s actually pretty ridiculous. I thought more about it and actually feel silly about my behavior. (The irony in that is equally silly: I’m dead sober and embarrassed about how I acted.)

Why am I so worried about how to act if I’m in a social setting and not drinking? I’m a social person who can have a good time and hold a good conversation. So what’s the big deal? Why does it matter that I don’t have a wine glass or a frosty beer mug in my hand?

I found myself asking my nondrinker roommate the same thing during a 40-day stint of abstaining from alcohol. Despite my lack of interest in going out during those 40 days, I forced myself to join my roommate, who was also newly single, out on the town on several occasions. And surprisingly, she ended up buying a drink because she didn’t feel comfortable hanging out at a bar without ordering a drink. How’s that for even more irony?! She believed that we couldn’t be hanging out in the bar if one of us didn’t order an alcoholic drink!

I was surprised to hear that from her, someone who never orders a drink at a bar. If her theory is true, then she’s essentially been freeloading the bar time we earned for ordering an alcoholic beverage. Although I don’t know consumer-business policy enough to say if we actually have to buy a drink, I assured her that no bar could force a person to buy or consume alcohol. And I know she didn’t actually mean that the bar has a strict “no booze, no service” policy, but she didn’t even think I could order a soda. So, she bought herself a cocktail.

It was my roommate and another close girlfriend that gave me the hardest time for not drinking. It was shocking, and slightly disappointing, how much they pressured me to drink when we were out. Not only was I struggling internally with not having a drink in my hand, but I was also dealing with external opposing forces. In two separate occasions in one weekend (not during Lent), my close girlfriend was visibly disappointed when I told her I was done drinking for the night. I wasn’t driving. I wasn’t drunk. I didn’t have anywhere else to be. I just didn’t want another drink. Yet, I was being chastised.

It was that weekend when it actually came to me, when I finally saw the light without alcohol: I could truly have an enjoyable time without a drink in my hand. Maybe it was because I wasn’t under the confines of Lent – “you want what you can’t have” as the saying goes. But I also wasn’t obsessed with what I thought I should or shouldn’t be doing in a social setting or at a bar. I was simply having a good time and doing it on my own terms. Alcohol wasn’t ruling my night.

And alcohol doesn’t rule my life. Yes, I enjoy a cold brewski at a BBQ and a glass of vino or two at a jazz club. But if I stop at one, two or five, I don’t worry about what people think. I don’t dramatize myself into this awkward, sober monstrosity creepily hovering over the drinkers. And I don’t talk to the person in my head as much . . . about alcohol anyway. She still has plenty to say about other things.

Let’s just put aside all the gun-control debate and call it like it is: 26 people died on Friday in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting – 20 of them were children. My good friend Austen said it better than I ever could in this heartfelt Facebook post . . .

I’m not one for speaking publicly on controversial and emotional public events and breaking news. I’m not usually one for emotions or sentiment. But today got to me. Yes, this is fueled by the fact that most of the victims are children. And yes, this is melodramatic and I might be more upset than I should be, but that’s how it goes.

Without advocating for tighter or looser regulations on gun control, I think too many of us are worried about the political implications over the human implications of today’s mass shooting. Can we put the guns and ammo discussion aside for a day or two? At least 18 children had the most basic of human rights – life – ripped from them; no choice, understanding, or say in the matter. Some of them hardly 5 years removed from birth. 

Remember when you were 5 years old? You weren’t worried about work, school, bills, or stocks. You played, you enjoyed life. Sunshine meant you could run around outside, and rain meant you could do the same, but you got to jump in puddles. Lightning meant we had to stay inside, but we it put on pretty cool show, and we got a kick out of it. We were entertained by everything. We didn’t laugh because other people did, or the social construct told us something was funny. It was an expression of joy, unbridled and pure. And that’s just what we were – and these children were. We are the purest version of ourselves when we are children. We weren’t yet happy because someone told us to be; we were happy because that’s what we wanted to be. And then we grow up, but that’s all part of the fun. 

These children will never have the chance to experience the freedom of driving a car for the first time. The feeling of how your heart beats right before a first kiss. No prom. No graduation They’ll never experience heartbreak. Hitting a home run or learning an instrument. Sand in their shoes. The first broken bone. The tug of a fish on the end of their fishing line. Coming home to a surprise kitten or puppy. The first day of a new job. Doing poorly in a class and working to get their grade up. Or not doing it and facing the consequences. These are the things that make us who we are. The things that would have made these children into who they were supposed to be, but will now never have the chance. All of this potential to live, to thrive, has been stolen.

Then there’s the parents. There’s no love that compares to that between parent and child. It’s indescribable, at least for me, because I’ve yet to raise a child. I have, however, been lucky enough to be on the receiving end of that love. It’s real, and the parents of these children are surely devastated. Their lives in upheaval around what is supposed to be the happiest time of the year. Hundreds of Christmas and Hanukkah presents will remain unopened, their intended recipient no longer there. Their toys will be left on bedroom floors. Their drawings stay hung on the refrigerator door. Their beds lay unmade – a cold, lonely reminder of the warmth and wonder that used to occupy them.

Lets think about the precious little ones we no longer have, and let our hearts and thoughts go to them, the survivors, and the families. If you pray, do that for them. If you don’t, then just hope, or keep them in your thoughts. Stop angling your political stance and start remembering what it was like to be a child. Think about who you are now. Think about the people you love. Then think about if you never had the chance. – Austen Montero

I just finished reading this inspirational book about a woman who overcame the death of a parent, childhood abuse, rape, drug addiction, alcoholism, prostitution, miscarriage, hustling, drug dealing, gang-banging, near-death injuries, prostitution and homelessness all before turning 20.

After all that, she went back to school, graduated and passed the bar exam. Today, she’s a successful lawyer for a prestigious law firm. Reading her story was quite amazing and the book was filled with inspiration. So I’d thought I’d share some of it here.

If people are your friend because of where you live or what you have, they’re not your friends.

The hardest lessons learned are the best lessons learned.

The only time a woman is ready for a man in her life is when she doesn’t need one.

Love, real love, true unconditional love, transcends age, race and religious beliefs. It sees the good, focuses on the good and constantly emphasizes it.

Family doesn’t have to be people you’re related to. Family are people who love you – whoever that may be.

It’s okay to be afraid. It’s not okay to let the fear stop you.

Fear can mean one of two things: Fuck Anything And Run, or Face Everything And Recover.

“So Lindsay, I have this conspiracy theory I think you should blog about.”

“Oh yeah? Let’s hear it.”

“I really think car companies have the technology and knowledge to create more fuel-efficient cars, they just don’t because it would ripple across so many political alliances and industries. If you think about it, there’s a gas station on every corner. Think about all the businesses and jobs that would be lost if they revealed the technology and all these electric cars. Even snack companies that sell through gas stations. The US is so dependent on oil.”

“Yeah, you have a good point.”

“You could write a whole book on this.”

“So why don’t you blog about it?”

“Oh, I don’t have time to do all the research.”

Unfortunately I don’t either, and I know a lot less about this sort of thing than he does. So for now, this is all you get. But just think about it. And hopefully down the road one of us might have the time to do the research and blog about his conspiracy theory. Heck, maybe even write a book!

I haven’t written in awhile, but it’s not because I haven’t had anything to write about. I have a whole list of things that have inspired me or, conversely, riled me up enough to blog about it. I just haven’t had time. But today, when I was filling out my annual Performance Review at work, I realized a couple things. First, filling out performance review forms seems like unnecessary busy work that is keeping me from doing the tasks I’m being reviewed on. But that aside: 1) my blogging performance is quite poor, 2) I need to make time to blog, 3) reviewing my work performance is both an ego trip and a slap in the face, and 4) actually reviewing my performance in life might be kinda interesting. Put my “flaws on the wall” so to speak. So, here it goes…

Weaknesses

  • I often bottle up my feelings
  • I’m indecisive
  • I’m selfish
  • I’m inflexible
  • I’m especially passive
  • I let people walk all over me
  • I have a hard time saying no
  • I can be shy
  • I sometimes run away from problems
  • I’m intimidated by strong people
  • I’m jealous of beautiful people
  • I’m stubborn
  • I’m critical
  • I’m a perfectionist
  • I’m a worrier
  • I get blue easily
  • I sometimes get caught up in shit-talking
  • I don’t call my friends and family enough
  • Sometimes the glass is half empty
  • Food, especially candy, Cadburry Mini Eggs, desserts, ice cream, Cheez-Its, Wheat Thins, yogurt pretzels, granola, cereal and peanut butter

Strengths

  • I’m good at solving problems
  • I like helping people
  • I do what I can to help the environment
  • I work hard
  • I don’t settle
  • I can be a good listener
  • I’m rational
  • I’m friendly
  • I’m loving
  • I have a sense of humor
  • I like meeting people
  • I’m outgoing
  • I like trying new things
  • I’m creative
  • I’m independent
  • I’m thoughtful
  • I like most challenges
  • Sometimes the glass is half full
  • Sleeping
  • Snowboarding

I know, I know, I haven’t written in a few weeks. I’m just going to blame it on the holidays. I planned to post my annual goals this week like I did last year now that a new year is upon us. But that post is going to have to wait. Tonight I received some shocking news that I can’t get out of my head and has left me very troubled. Without getting into the harsh e-mail that I received, I’m simply going to say that it questioned my character as a person and a friend.

Instead of getting work done or going to bed like I should be, I sit here reading this e-mail over and over, now personally questioning my character. Am I malicious? Am I dishonest? Am I not a genuine and loyal friend? Being told that I am these things really bothers me. For one, it hurts knowing that someone sees me in this negative light, and two, it hurts thinking that I could actually be this way. I try to be a good person, a good friend, a good daughter, a good sister, a good girlfriend (when the chance arises). But maybe I’m not. Am I a bad person?

If I need to and am going to work on my character, now is the time to do it, with a new year ahead of me to devote to this resolution. I want to be a good person. I want to be a better listener, a harder worker, a stronger mentor, a more caring friend. I want to be more flexible, more available, less selfish, more understanding, more considerate, more open-minded. But most of all, I want to be me. I want to be a better person without losing who I am, without entirely sacrificing my being and without allowing others to walk all over me.

So, as I compile my list of goals for 2011, I’m going to put some serious thought into those that involve improving my character. Any suggestions are appreciated. As always, thanks for reading and listening.