Shut Up and Help

5743685921_aee6a7083b_bThis is my 5th holiday season participating in Uplift Family Services‘ Adopt-A-Family program. I’ve received my wish list for a needy family and I will mobilize my network to help me buy everything from a Safeway gift card to a toy firetruck. It’s a wonderful program that uplifts me just as much as the family I’m helping. If you’re in the Bay Area and you’d like more information, please contact the incredible Antoinette Harris right away.

I was shocked and pissed off by one scroogey response I got when asking people to help me make Christmas a possibility for my family.

Sarah: Can you help me out and buy an action figure for my adopted family?
Scrooge: How are the families selected?
Sarah: I don’t know.
Scrooge: How do you know they’re actually poor?
Sarah: I just know.
Scrooge: My students show up at the beginning of the school year without school supplies and have an iPhone 6.

I asked Antoinette how the families are accepted and she replied with the following:

I only refer families who are current or past clients (they have received services directly from us within the past 18 months- this is our direct follow up period). Our program staff meet with the families in their homes multiple times per week do we see then in their natural setting and we are aware of what they have and don’t have. We also have students who are in our school based mental program. Although we primarily see them at school, we also do home visits. Although none of our programs have income requirements, 75 percent have MediCal, they receive some type of government assistance, or they are undocumented and have very little income. The majority of the families involved in our Kinship program are retired, disabled and they might receive about $372 for the related child in their care (a fraction of that amount is added for additional siblings).

When it is time for selecting families for AAF, I have the case managers and clinicians carefully select families who have the greatest needs. If I have questions regarding the family’s financial status, those families are put on hold until their status is clarified; I have no problem letting them know they will not be adopted (we typically provide them with donated movie tickets).

I was introduced to the AAF concept about 18 years ago. I was told then and I maintain now that the program is to assist those who have a demonstrated need and could benefit from having additional clothing, basis household items and a few fun items. We encourage families to select games and fun educational items so they can have positive family time. When families (especially teens) cone up with elaborate gift items, we redirect them.

I have been questioned every year about where we find the families, how we know them, how do we know they won’t sell the items and why don’t they get a job or save money to buy their own gifts. I have learned to answer with a smile, give a brief answer and direct them to our website so they can learn more about our services, the type of people we serve, success stories and our outcomes.

So there Scrooge, you shit head.


Shut Up and Help

Motivation Monday

I got “dumped” on Friday. Twice. Time to pull out the Rudyard Kipling’s “If” for inspiration. I’m going to robot it a bit until Im back out there, vulnerable and ready for more romantic splitting and splatting.
If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!
Motivation Monday

Eighteen Subscription Boxes I Would Never Buy (and Three I Would)

Illustration by Laurent Hrybrk

grew up in Oregon, where the epitome of class is enrolling someone in the Harry & David Fruit of the Month Club. Now the “subscription box” business model is one of the hottest start-up trends — and whether you want to pork out or primp, there’s a subscription box marketed to you.

And while there are some good ideas out there, there are also many subscription-box entrepreneur asshats looking for a sucker. How many people want a different kind of moss delivered to their terrarium every month? Moss literally grows on trees. Hence, I’ve curated a list of stupid subscription boxes, followed by a few awesome ones below.

Subscription Boxes I Would Never Buy

Henny & Roo

Official description: “Chicken products delivered monthly.”

Because you don’t want to bore your chickens with the same old treats and toys.

Continue reading on The Bold Italic.

Eighteen Subscription Boxes I Would Never Buy (and Three I Would)

I’m Observing Yom Kippur This Year

I’m technically Jewish (my mother’s bloodline) but I wasn’t raised in the religion. I didn’t have a Bat Mitzvah. I’ve observed Yom Kippur before (I worked in a synagogue for two years) but never like this. I’m fasting/abstaining/atoning. I’m atoning in my own way, kicking myself in the ass. My last serious relationship ended badly a year ago. I’m thinking about the choices I made then and since.

I’ve coveted someone’s significant other. I’ve coveted him a lot. My false idols have been men I’ve dated, deemed special (artists/musicians/tech stars) and put on a pedestal. I’ve been heartbroken when these relationships ended. I’ve been dishonest. No murdering.

My experience with fasting/abstaining is that I want the things I can’t have. Wanting things I can’t have is the main theme of my year. I also really want a cheeseburger and have sex (with myself).

I’m Observing Yom Kippur This Year

DTF And My Sex Life Sucks: What I Learned from Attending a Sex Positivity Workshop

Vulva Puppet. Photo courtesy Etsy/WonderousVulvaPuppets

That’s not sex positivity. It’s sex negativity!” my date shouted from the front seat of the UberPool Prius. Squished next to two strangers on their way to the ER, I was describing to him the sex positivity workshop I’d recently attended in Cow Hollow. I was taken aback by his insistence that he knew what sex positivity was and that I didn’t. I decided not to mention the attendance of Vicki, the velvet vulva puppet, at the workshop, lest she be fetishized as I was for my own attendance. (I was also thinking that ER trips and first dates are both good times to spring for regular Uber rather than UberPool.)

Swallow the whole thing on The Bold Italic.

DTF And My Sex Life Sucks: What I Learned from Attending a Sex Positivity Workshop

Juicy Juice Juice Cleanse

fullsizerender-95Today is my first day of a 5 day “advanced” juice cleanse from Oakland’s Uptown Juice Company. I am thus far juiceless. I’ve never been hungrier for some macerated kale. Uptown Juice says my chlorophyll is out for delivery.

For the last 3 days I’ve been pre cleansing. The only things I could eat or drink were fruits, vegetables and water. No whiskey. I realize these juice cleanses are Gooped. You’ve heard it all before.

My rich uncle bought it for me. Do you think my rich uncle thinks I’m too fat? I have gained 10 pounds since I broke me foot in April. I don’t think I’ll lose actual weight on a juice cleanse but I see it as a kick in the ass.

I’ll probably see god after a good skin brushing and some diarrhea. So there’s something to look forward too.

Update: The “Green Detox Boost” tastes like the bottom of a boat.

Juicy Juice Juice Cleanse