Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Lasik, a boob job, and Hawaii - My Wish List

If you follow me on Twitter or are a FB friend or fan, you probably already know that Christmas is my least favorite holiday. And maybe you know how that came to be. I had a post on it once, but I think I got guilted into deleting it. I think I'll write another for Parent Society. I'll let you know. Anyway, that's not what THIS post is about.

For the past 16 years or so, every year has involved Christmas wish lists. Some years the kids wrote their own letters before I could even broach the subject; other years we all sat around the table doing Christmas crafts (hey now, don't laugh! I did actually used to be quite the crafting parent), coloring in a picture I'd printed from somewhere and writing in our lists. Sometimes we'd make a crazy, fun list first - all the things we wanted. But then we'd make more realistic lists. I would join in and try to set a good example by asking for inexpensive items, most of which were practical but also a few fun things. I'd also be sure to not ask for TOO many things.
We'd use a printable like this one from
Color it in and write out our lists.
But I really like this one from

This year I'm not doing the wish list with the kids. I'm on such a tight budget that reading Hellion's list will just depress me further. She's 10 going on 17. She wants everything and none of it cheap.  She'll probably get some duct tape, a cutting board, and other craft type stuff. Pajamas, cuz that's a tradition! Phone case, iTunes gift card, stuff like that.  The other kids are 17, 19 and 19 (no, not twins). I guarantee I probably can't afford even one item on their wish lists. So it comes to down to that wonderful saying, "You get what you get and you don't throw a fit." It won't be much, that's for sure.

So, no list making with the kids. It's my turn to make a list of what I really want. Why? Because the fun is in the imagining!
Oh Hawaii, how I've always longed to visit...

  1. An all expense paid week in Hawaii. This would include paying for my time off work, because I don't have enough vacation time to actually take a week off from work and still be able to pay my bills. All food, drink, air travel, lodging, and recreational activities would be included. Although I don't know that I'd want to do much recreation - sitting on beach drinking and eating for a week would be good enough!
  2. A new stereo for my car, including installation (because it's not like I could figure that out on my own). It doesn't have to be too fancy - I just want to plug my phone in and play my music through it. 
  3. A bigger TV. Mine is 32in. So, pretty much anything bigger than that. LED, 1080p.  Of course then I'd also need a stand for the TV or a wall mounting kit.
  4. A new bed. Queen sleigh bed would be awesome. Maybe tempurpedic - but really anything good quality. 
  5. Home theater system so I can listen to music on something other than my laptop and for good quality sound while watching movies. 
  6. Lasik surgery. For reals. I hate waking up and not being able to see anything. Or being in the shower squinting at my leg. Plus if I were to actually go to Hawaii I'd like to be able to buy and wear sunglasses without having to worry about contacts or prescriptions.
  7. A boob job. This is MY list. Let me dream. Yes, I'd like a boob job. My tube sock/deflated balloon looking boobs could really use some help. This would also be good to have before the Hawaii trip.
  8. Wardrobe overhaul! Tossing out everything I own and starting from scratch. Good quality clothing that fits well.
  9. Wine, wine and more wine. Red. Cuz, duh!
A bed like this one - the headboard slants back, the footboard isn't too tall.
This one is from City Liquidators.
I think that pretty much sums up this year's wish list. What's on your list? And please don't give me any of that "I just want my kids to have a good Christmas" or "It's not about gifts" crap. This is a time for daydreaming - for the fun, outrageous, ridiculous.

By the way, I was attempting to put together a Gift Ideas board on Pinterest with fun and unusual gift ideas for those special people in your life. But life got busy, work got busy, so it's not quite as developed as I'd like. You can check it out anyway...

Friday, November 9, 2012

Coffee, Tea, and... Sex Trafficking?

So, one thing I know is this: a sure way to feel better about yourself and your life is to actually stop thinking so much about both and to do something for someone else. But I haven’t been putting that into practice lately. I’d occasionally search volunteer opportunities, but some required one or two full weeks of all day training. That was out. I couldn’t afford to miss that much of my paid job in order to volunteer! Many opportunities were for during my working hours. I’d offer to babysit for friends, have sleepovers for my daughter, leave Starbucks gift cards randomly around my office building, and figured I was at least doing small things for others, right? Yah, I know, not quite the same.

One night I walked past a coffee shop on my way to the bar next door. “...volunteer…” jumped out at me and I stopped to read the sign. Why would a coffee shop need volunteers? 

My interest was piqued, I did some research the next day and learned that this was not just another coffee shop hoping to make it against the odds. In their own words:
 “Like you, we hold the belief that people have priceless worth.  The fact that the average slave in the world today is sold for the equivalent of $90 is among our world’s greatest atrocities.  In the summer of 2009, Mark South approached Chad Salstrom with an idea.  A vision for once disconnected individuals in a fragmented city collaborating together, sacrificing from their freedom, to give the gift of freedom. Two years later, a growing community had rallied to open Origin Coffee, a place where everyone works for free to set victims free.”
 Please visit their webpage and read more about why they chose a coffee shop and how they’re empowering a movement of the people.

It still took me awhile to make the commitment. I’d forget about it for awhile, then go to Boneshakers or Little Ceasers and see the sign.  I’d look up the website and read again about the reason behind opening this business.  And in October I finally stopped reading and thinking and acted. I filled out my volunteer application! Last week I went to an orientation and watched a video on sex trafficking. I was sick to my stomach. All I could think of was my own beautiful 9-year-old daughter. Of my gorgeous 18- and 19-year-old daughters.  And then I thought of a young me searching for acceptance , attention, and love through sex and how easy it probably would have been to lure me into a life of prostitution if the “right” person had tried. “But for the grace of God…” is what my heart was screaming at me.

So I made my three month commitment: Thursday nights from 7:00 to 11:00 from December through February. I balked a little. I have several other things that occur on Thursday nights. I really wanted Monday or Wednesday nights! But there had to be a reason that was the only shift left that fit with my work schedule and the times I have Hellion.  I signed up for my three job shadow days. And I left excited about this new opportunity, about being part of something so much bigger than myself.

Last night was my first job shadow. I was so close to leaving five minutes before I was scheduled. I’d come up with a dozen plausible reasons for bailing. My anxiety was escalating quickly. Everyone behind the counter was young, laid back, at ease. I didn’t fit in! What was I thinking? No way could I spend four hours behind the counter actually interacting with people and being a cashier!  Somehow I stayed. And I can’t say it got any better over the next four hours.
Around 9:30 I was still feeling out of place, like I just didn’t belong. I was tired after a full day at my regular job. I wasn’t used to being on my feet for hours. I wanted a glass of wine, my fuzzy cozy pajamas, and my bed. I was wondering if they’d ever had someone show up for job shadowing and not come back. I felt like I was just standing around too much – I didn’t know what else to do, though, and I was already super anxious and didn’t want to interrupt conversations to ask.  I was really ready to make an excuse and go home. Maybe come back, but likely not.

Image from Aling Baby.

And then the words from orientation hit me. This is a totally sucky paraphrase but basically it was that I was sacrificing four hours of my life so that a slave could go free. Sacrifice. If it’s easy, it’s not much of a sacrifice. I was uncomfortable. I was feeling out of place, tired, a little afraid. For four hours in a safe warm inviting environment. What the hell was I complaining about? I thought about how those being traded for sex would probably long for just such an opportunity, of the emotional and physical abuse they were enduring, wondering how long they could hold on to hope. I read the dishwashing instructions on the wall and washed the dishes.  It wasn’t much, but it was something. It was a start. When I want to quit, when I'm tired and cranky and frustrated, I’ll remember that I’m the fortunate one and pray that my four hours each week are enough to help someone else get freedom for life.