The story begins with a gay waitress (Dayna Morales) allegedly getting a this notice in place of a tip: "I'm sorry but I cannot tip because I do not agree with what your lifestyle and how you live your life". Source: CNN
She began collecting money for the Wounded Warrior non-profit organization.
After claims that the receipt was a hoax and she had a history of lying, she was let go from her job. Source: Huffington Post
In every one of these situations, where a server claims to have received some scurrilous remark in addition to, or in place of, their gratuity, there are three possible causes.
- The customer in question did in fact write the offending note.
- The server lied about the offending note, either to garner attention for him/herself or to draw attention to an ongoing issue prevalent in that establishment.
- Someone else in the establishment (usually another staff member) wrote the notice, as a means of bullying or harassing the server in question.
Customer's StoryObviously, the customer ALWAYS says they didn't do it.
The first point of proof that they presented was a customer copy of the receipt that showed a tip. Obviously, no note (because you wouldn't write it again to yourself). This alone only proves that they were the customer in question, as the dates, times, and initial amounts match. I've tried to find the clearest image for you to compare the two.Another copy of just the full customer receipt
Just because you write one thing on one copy, it doesn't mean you wrote the same thing on the other copy.
Next they presented what they say is a printout or copy of their credit card statement. I couldn't find a very good copy. The highlighting seems to have been added in through Photoshop by NBC News4 for clarity because the picture quality is so bad.QUESTIONS I HAVE:
- The merchant copy I see in the picture doesn't appear to be doctored (as in, with whiteout, etc.) Which means that either it's an original or a reprint. Now, I know that when you reprint a customer copy, it says "reprint" at the bottom. Is this true for merchant copies as well? I need to find this out. Please chime in if you know the answer and PLEASE provide pictures of similar receipts.
- The merchant copy that she presented to her boss during her shift would have been the one that was charged, whatever that was. So even had she faked the receipt, as claimed, that fake receipt should STILL have been the charge that showed up on the credit card statement. The fact that it didn't is bizarre to me. The only thing I can think of for this not to be the case is if somehow the first merchant copy was the one that went in with the other receipts from her shift, and then this online copy was a reprint. But why would a person print a second copy and not do anything to hide the first copy? None of that makes any sense.
- The customer reports "They said they thought the hostess who sat the family told them their server would be “Dan,” and when Morales showed up at their table, the wife exclaimed “whoa, you’re not Dan.” 1Was this proof that Dayna was mad and falsified the receipt? Or proof that other staff didn't like her and did petty things to her to bully her (such as telling a customer "Dan will be your server" in a snide way)? Or just a misunderstanding?
- How did the customers know it was their receipt? Who recognizes their RECEIPT!? I mean, okay, so they see this waitress online or on television making some kind of complaint, do they then go and check the order? It didn't have any identifying information, so even if it WAS your receipt, why would you bother to try and defame some waitress and possibly put yourself under scrutiny that you may, in fact, be homophobic?
I can fake that credit card statement using nothing but Microsoft Word and a scanner/photocopier.POINT:
The owner initially said that Morales was one of his best workers2
and that he compensated her tip BY DEDUCTING AN ENTREE FROM THE ORIGINAL CHECK.3
Which again seems to support the idea that, whether or not the merchant copy shown was a hoax, it was most likely the check that was put in...unless the owner did this informally, or maybe compensated her after the news story came out? This still makes no sense!
Her "Dishonorable Discharge"I've compiled what I believe to be a fairly accurate history of her reserve service.
"Major Shawn Haney, a spokesman for the U.S. Marines, said in an email that Morales had served in the Marine Corps Reserve from July 13, 2009, to May 21, 2013 at the rank of Lance Corporal as an administrative specialist. She was assigned to the Marine Air Group 49, 4th Marine Air Wing out of Newburgh, New York, and deployed to Romania for three months in 2012." 1
"NBC 4 New York learned Wednesday from a Pentagon source that Morales was dismissed from the Marine Reserve Corps in May because she wasn't attending drills. It wasn't immediately clear how often those drills were held, and Morales did not respond to a request for comment.
Morales was formally discharged, or released from the Marines, under conditions that were other than honorable, according to the source." 2
She was actually given an "other than honorable" ADMINISTRATIVE DISCHARGE. It is the most severe of the administrative discharges, however it is NOT a dishonorable discharge. That's just what they put in the headlines, because journalists don't have a good understanding of the difference between an OTH administrative discharge and an actual dishonorable discharge, for which you would have to have a court-martial hearing. She was NOT court-martialed; she was dismissed from service for failing to attend drills. POINT:
Because of the Privacy Act we don't have any information on administrative actions while in service, meaning if she had any infractions during her service we can't know about them. POINT:
If she had been drummed out of the service for writing bad checks, indecent swearing, not maintaining proper funds to pay debts or not paying debts, perjury, making false statements, knowingly signing any false reports, and/or basically anything which includes lying she would have been giving that dishonorable discharge, or more likely a bad-conduct discharge (which is the light version of same). Both are punitive and require a court martial hearing, and both often come with time to serve.
The Pathological Liar Scenario
I'd like to state that, for the record, I've had firsthand dealings with a pathological liar of the type that Dayna Morales has been accused of being. It's a true mental illness. Even if she is, as claimed, a compulsive liar, people with this condition have severe low self-esteem and need counseling in the worst way. Would we vilify a schizophrenic if the voices told them to do it? Most of us would shake our heads and go "poor bastard." If she is a pathological liar, then she is desperately crying out for attention and compassion and help. For more information, check out Münchausen by Internet
Most of her accusers are not savvy enough to have pulled their Facebook accounts (or even made them private) and I was able to scan some information pertinent to the case. Now, that information may have been planted on purpose. I can't imagine anyone who would have kept their stuff public even now after all this time, unless they meant for folks to see it. But it allowed me to see connections that I don't think they considered might count against them.WHAT I HAVE DEDUCED SO FAR:
Teresa Rivera is Dayna's ex-fiance.1
I take it things did not go well. Kiersten Bremer is Teresa's best friend....of the following quotes:
Kiersten Bremer told The Daily Caller Morales claimed to have been made pregnant by her father. She then explained the lack of any baby by saying that she had cervical cancer which spread to the baby, killing it.
Another allegation is that she said Superstorm Sandy casued [sic] a boat to rip through the walls into her living room at Stony Point, N.Y. No boat was found.2
She also stated in the DailyMail (tabloid) article that Dayna may have been cheating on Teresa with a man.1
Which certainly doesn't make Ms. Morales look like woman of the year, but also provides Teresa's good buddies with a pretty good motive to slander her. And in a case of 4 against 1, they can pretty much do so with impunity.
Kiersten Bremer and friend Kristina Calamusa (who is also one of Teresa's BFFs), go to the press together.
Kristina Calamusa quoted this:
“Dayna took me to the side to tell me about her terminal cancer,” Calamusa told TheDCNF in a Facebook interview. “Immediately I cried. I couldn’t believe the news. About a month later we found out it was all a LIE.”3
Kiersten Bremer is also friends with Julie Howat, and Julie Howat is friends with Karolee Larkin. I believe they worked at the daycare together.
Julie Howat is quoted with saying:
"Every story she comes up with has a lie."
“Any tragedy that happened, she had to be a part of it,” Howat said. “She needed sympathy and empathy.”
“It’s like she’s taking it to a whole other level,” Howat said. “Now you’re lying to people to get their money. It’s not even for sympathy now.”4
and Karolee Larkee is quoted as saying:
“You can’t believe much of what she says,” Larkin said.5
With the exception of Jacqie Fitzpatrick, who worked with her at the Cheesecake Factory, ALL OF THE OTHER GIRLS ARE GOOD FRIENDS WITH HER EX-FIANCE.
Which is not to say she isn't a pathological liar, maybe that's why they broke up. But this is why I'm searching so hard for more information about Ms. Fitzpatrick, to make sure she is in no way connected with the other girls.VID/ARTICLE: Parts of Interview with Jacqie Fitzpatrick
.At this time, I have been unable to deduce really solid information about the supposed account of the Cheesecake Factory "cancer affair" nor Ms. Fitzpatrick's relationship nor lack of relationship to any of the other above mentioned persons.
Of course, in light of all this controversy, it makes sense for her not to work at this restaurant anymore. This is the statement that the restaurant published.
Only the restaurant knows for certain what they charged the customer. Only they can tell us, beyond a shadow of a doubt, if they charged the customer the "merchant copy" amount or the "customer copy" amount.
If they charged the amount shown on the customer copy, then obviously the merchant copy is a reprint. In which case, either Dayna Morales or one of her co-workers is lying. If they charged the merchant copy amount, then the customer is lying. At least then we would know which side to be looking on. But, for liability issues, they probably aren't allowed to tell us either way.
We, as the patrons of the internet, cannot deduce from the information at hand what actually occurred regarding the incident in question.
“I’m so glad you all are here.”
“I didn’t think anyone cared.”
“Thank you so much. Thank you. Thank you.”
For 20 years HIPS has touched the lives of those who live in the shadows of our nation’s capital. Last year we disposed of 100,000 used syringes, and helped to prove that needle exchanges work to lower HIV rates across the board. We performed 1300 HIV tests, and 41 new positives were referred into medical care for proper treatment.
In one year, 70 of our clients went into substance abuse treatment. We’ve held hundreds of counseling sessions and support groups to assist people with a variety of issues. We distributed 103,000 condoms and helped educate the public about the spread of STIs. At times we have stood as the voice of the unheard LGBTQ homeless youth, the undereducated sex worker, and the addicted ex-con. We have explored not just their problems, but also their possibilities. We look at more than just their future potential, but also how they can have a powerful and positive impact in the now.
But most of all, we’ve listened. Whether on the street, in our offices, or on our 24-hour toll-free hotline, we strive at HIPS to always have a caring ear and a willing shoulder. But even the love and dedication of our excellent volunteers can’t do it without your support. This #GivingTuesday I urge you to donate to this amazing organization, to support our Crisis Response Team, a group of volunteers who willingly take on the additional responsibility of being available in emergencies. These folks need extra training and extra heart, and that’s why we’re showing them extra support.
I believe in HIPS so much I am giving up all holiday gifts in lieu of donations, and am personally calling upon all of my friends and relations to give and spread the word. Any amount is worthy, even if you can’t give much.
A donation of $10 from all the actives on my Facebook friends’ list, and we would meet our goal.
A donation of $20 keeps the crisis hotline running for another 24 hours.
Four donations of $50 will provide for one night of shelter and safety counseling for a victim of violence. Two-hundred dollars sounds like a lot of money, until you realize it could save someone’s life. I can’t think of a present I would want more.DONATE TO HIPS NOW
So I remember deciding I should go to bed, but don't remember actually going there. I woke up still wearing my "outside hoodie" that I apparently didn't take off.
I DO remember BEING in bed, on my back, because a couple days ago S/o and I were discussing snoring, and he said sometimes I do snore, but only when I pass out flat on my back. I don't normally sleep on my back. I told him that must be either when I drank (which I don't do anymore b/c of these meds), or I passed out from my sleeping meds, because I am seriously not a snorer except when I'm uber-tired.
But last night, I remember being in the bed, on my back, and I could feel my mouth was open even though I wasn't snoring, and I was thinking "oh no I'm going to snore!" And somehow my brain kept wandering away, and then it would come back and I'd realize I was on my back all over again (thinking "oh no I'm going to snore"). And I kept thinking I should roll over, but I never did, I just finally drifted off to sleep. I don't know if I was snoring.
Yesterday S/o and I had a lovely discussion about spending more time together. And he promised me that no matter what, even if he went to bed late, he would set an alarm so that if I wanted to go to the pancake place I like, we could do that. Well, neither of us went to bed at a reasonable hour. (He said he would do that too, but also he said that even if he didn't, he would set that alarm.) And I looked at his clock this morning, and he didn't set that alarm after all. Which means there's a good chance he won't wake up in time for me to have pancakes unless I wake him up.
So now I'm kind of stuck. If my end goal were just pancakes, I'd certainly wake him up, but I'm not having that crazy "I NEED PANCAKES STAT!" craving like I was yesterday. And he did do the laundry, which was really nice of him (although, technically, it's also his job to do the laundry, because that's really hard on me). But it's still nice that he does it whatever the reason is, and he did it without me having to have a giant meltdown all over him. So he gets props for doing his job "with a will". And hell, he even put the stuff up in the kitchen after I passed out, which is totally MY job to do and I passed out from my meds instead of doing it, so he gets extra crazy points for doing my job too.
I guess the real question is, how much of a break do I give him? By not setting his alarm, it says to me that he really doesn't care about spending time together, he was just doing that so I wouldn't bitch. I think a great deal of his life in general, but also our relationship, is just him doing the minimum of what he has to do to keep folks from bitching or being actively upset. I can sit around for months and just be vaguely unhappy with the way things are going, and he doesn't even seem to notice, so long as I'm not actively showing my upset by yelling or crying. I guess it's hard when you live with a naturally depressive person, to tell when they are just being them or when they are being unhappy with the relationship.
He's still one of the kindest, most generous people I know. He is certainly the smartest, and he's also an awesome socializer for a smart person (most folks who are nerdy smart are awkward to talk to). He doesn't do large crowds well, but he can handle small groups. But he's so introverted, he would be happy if we never even spoke to one another. If I stayed at my desk in the living room, and he stayed in his office, to him that's as "together" as we need to be, just knowing I'm somewhere in the vicinity, even if we don't say two words to each other all day long. And I'm an extrovert, that's why I own the living room and he has his office retreat. I can fill the living room with people any time I want, and he's allowed to run away to his office because he's not ready to deal with people at that time, which is admittedly most of the time.
But for the first two years or so, he had all this spare time, and he used to spend it all WITH ME. In fact, he's one of the few people on earth I can spend days and days with joined at the hip and not want to strangle them. I've even dated folks that I couldn't spend more than 2 days with before I needed a break; we couldn't do a whole weekend of nothing but together-time. And then suddenly our dreams changed too. We used to dream about moving, first to NYC and then to California, only now he doesn't want to live in NYC at all, he wants to go straight to California and I don't. And for awhile, he wanted to go to Vancouver instead of California--he may still want that, but it's not even in the same country and I don't want to live in Canada. He used to do all these little nice things for me. If I had to go somewhere and it was raining, he'd give me a lift the four blocks to the metro station, so at least I wouldn't have to do that segment in the rain. He'd take me to dance class and sit around for the hour I was there. He doesn't do doctor appointments though, because hospitals make him panicky. If I'd gone on some kind of drug binge and sobered up and felt depressed and stupid and just wanted to come home, he'd come and pick me up. Nowhere in the city is more than a 30 minute drive away, and before they took out giant tumor where my intestines were bleeding, going out and getting high was pretty much the only thing that stopped the pain. I don't use drugs at home or bring any paraphernalia into my house. The metro in DC closes after midnight on weekdays, and taxis don't go into those neighborhoods.
Now if I go out like that, I have to spend the night in one of a couple of spots. They're usually fairly safe as regards to getting bothered by other users, but many are "hot" houses so one could always be busted if they get raided. They are ALWAYS dirty, sometimes to the point of being bug infested, generally uncomfortable (like sleeping on a couch, in a chair, or on the floor--they may be uncomfortably hot or cold as well), and not all of them have plumbing. Which means you're either pissing in a bucket or holding it all night long, and there's nothing to drink, not even tap water. If I can manage a cab or someone to give me a ride home, he'll get cash from the ATM to pay the cab, but he won't come get me. Now if I have to go to an appointment somewhere and it's raining, well...I'm going to get wet walking to the metro. I've asked him to join me in my Wednesday night stretch class (if I go back) but he's said flat out "no way". We don't watch movies together, but mostly because we hate the same movies. Then again, sometimes I'll find out about some movie (I usually discover them on Netflix), only to hear that he watched it ages ago on his computer in his office. He doesn't even tell me what movies he's going to watch, so we might watch them together.
We just keep growing apart. I MISS him. Which is stupid if you think about, missing your own S/o when you live together even. But with the job, and the studying, I spend almost zero time with him.
He used to take better care of his appearance, especially when we go out. He still does on the extremely rare occasions he goes to see old friends, but not for me. I'm lucky if he bathes and brushes his teeth. And now, of course, he has a job where he doesn't work from home on some days, so it's slacks and button-up shirts or polos, and certainly a shower, but I still don't get those things. I fall below work, of course, but I also fall below his friends. Sure, there are many, many times when I go out in sweats with him, especially now that I have CFS and I gained all that weight from my meds, and just getting out of the house is a ridiculous chore. But sometimes it would just be nice to get dressed up a little bit and go somewhere nice and eat good food and spend some quality time together. I still care about my appearance, that's why I asked to get off the weight gaining med and I'm trying to at least get in the recommended exercises that are okay for folks suffering from fibro. But he simply won't do anything. He's "got the girl" so now it's okay not to care about how you look, and I'm supposed to jump into bed with him, overcome by lust, just because he happened to take a shower that day.
So a part of me is like, "wake him up, and go get pancakes. Never mind that you're disappointed. Just swallow that down and make the best of it."
And the rest of me is saying, "you shouldn't have to wake him up. He should have set that alarm. If it was important to him, he would have, but he didn't. Don't wake him up. If he doesn't wake up on his own, obviously it doesn't mean enough for him to actually do what he said he would do. In which case, you have a legitimate right to be really upset with him. It's not your job to carry out both sides of this relationship. If he can't pull his side, to hell with him. And if this shit continues, all this work and studying so "we can be rich" or whatever puttering he's doing which I never actually see amounting to anything, even if it does work, well he can go be rich and single, or rich with someone else.
I mean, criminy, even an abusive S/o can keep up with the promise of "I'll do better" for ONE DAY.
I'm totally at the four stages of H.A.L.T. These are the conditions under which people tend to use drugs. Even one is not good, but usually if you hit any two, you will go out and get high or drunk. Somehow, I've managed to be at all four.
Hungry -- there's nothing I want to eat in this house. I don't really want the leftover stir-fry and everything else would be a giant production. I know I should eat, but instead I've let myself get ravenous. Probably my blood sugar has dropped. Probably I'm not entirely being rational at this point.
Angry -- S/o shouldn't have stayed up so late, so that we could have gone out to a nice breakfast this morning. I'm super-pissed off at him. We don't get to spend hardly any time together because he's either working or studying. I get that. But since he was up so late, now he's going to sleep all day, and basically waste the time we could have spent together.
Lonely -- Again, wanted to spend time with my S/o. I'm only getting like 2 hours a week as it is. Unhappy.
Tired -- I woke up too early myself. Without the proper sleeping medications, I've been unable to stay asleep long enough. And that's on top of my normal sense of being tired all the time.
To top it all off, it's the first of the month, when all the disability checks come in, and one of my friends called me up this morning with "you know how I always say I'm going to get you back for all the times you've looked out for me? Well, this stuff is right here, I'm doing great, if you get your butt down here, I'll treat you and it's all on my tab."
All I wanted when I woke up this morning was to spend time with my S/o, go out and have a nice breakfast at the pancake house. PANCAKES! ALL I WANTED WAS SOME FUCKING PANCAKES! And then I would have tackled the laundry, even though it's his job and not mine, and probably put my back out in the process (which is WHY it's his job and not mine), and watched a movie by myself, and called it a night.
And now I don't want to do the laundry, or care, even if it means I wear dirty clothes for a week. Now I just want to crawl into a hole until the weekend is over and say "to hell with everything". I did my exercises, and took a shower. I put up the dishes in the dishwasher, and loaded what didn't need to be soaked in the sink. I gave S/o some "morning loving" and I called the Social Security Administration and tried to straighten out the mess that is my disability. And now all I want to do is say "hey babe, give me my damn pin money", call my friend back to see if they still have any of that free shit or if they did it all already, and then take off for the duration. And maybe I'll be home in a couple or days, or maybe I won't come home ever. Maybe while I'm out I will just step in front of a motherfucking bus or I'll rob a liquor store just for giggles and get myself arrested.
Because really, what is the point of doing the things you are supposed to do, my meds, my exercises, being pleasant and understanding about all the long hours S/o is working and the fact that I never, EVER see him anymore, if all it means is that I'm constantly tired and trying to work hard and do shit, and end up always by myself? At least if I'm out and getting high, I'm surrounded by other people, which is half the reason I think I go out. Even though I don't much like those other people, it still beats being alone looking at a pile of dirty laundry.
For the original reviews and research, the first post is http://jadxia.livejournal.com/444176.html
I settled on DominoPads
because of it's awesome colors (not too girly), inclusion of thong liners (hey, I might go back to thongs some day), and my fascination with bamboo fabrics. They also occasionally have ones with Minkee, which is apparently some kind of crazy-soft super fabric that I'd never heard of before, and a sport version, which has a "ProCool moisture wicking jersey" top layer.
They recommend NOT buying a bunch of pads at first, but instead just buying a couple to make sure they are the correct fit for you. As this was my first timid foray into the world of reusable pads, and as I rarely have much in the way of periods at all now that they are regulated by medication, I decided to just get two pantiliners and try them out. So I got those and a soaking pot, which is pretty much all you need to get started and see if this is a workable thing for you.
I am VERY happy with my DominoPads. Now their regular size is actually made for tall girls, as the lady who runs/is the company is 5'9" and they were originally sized off of her. The petite size is not only shorter, but also a little thinner.
THINGS I LIKE:
I don't sweat wearing these pantiliners, AT ALL. You know how all those pad commercials talk about how much they keep you dry, but we all know they never do? Well, this pantiliner keeps me more dry than just wearing underwear alone. In fact, now I prefer to wear a pantiliner all the time, because I don't seem to get sweaty. Which is weird, considering that they are a couple of layers thick. When I first took them out of the package I thought, "oh no, this is NOT going to work." I thought I would sweat to death wearing them. But they really do seem to absorb moisture and whisk it away. Which leads us to the next benefit:
No more "period odor". Now since I'm just using these as a pantiliner, I can't say if these pads will truly cut down on that smell during an actual heavy period, but I can say you won't have much in the way of odors from normal exertions or light bleeding, because you won't be sweating and even light bleeding just isn't staying trapped against your skin.
They are surprisingly easy to hand wash. The velvet texture of the cloth makes it so that just a squirt of handsoap and a few scrubbing motions and they're surface clean. Then I soak them in my pot of water that has a splash of peroxide in it, after which I rinse them and set them out to dry. You can just as easily leave them in the soaking pot, and then wash and dry them with your clothes the next time you do laundry. When I have more pads I may do this.
They do take a little while to get to you once you've ordered, and the upfront costs are steep. Despite that, I have ordered another 5 pantiliners and my first actual pad. I'll be building up my stash slowly, and see if I like these just as much for actual periods as I do for everyday wear.
When you develop a chronic and painful illness, you really find out who your lasting friends are. Most of mine simply drifted away, and even the ones who are still around, I sometimes find that our conversations are stilted and awkward. This isn't much surprising, after all, I don't have many topics to discuss other than my illness, issues with doctors or getting disability, some new treatment or side effect of a treatment, or the frustration I feel when I'm faced with yet another thing I cannot seem to manage. And no one ever seems to know what to say to me, or feels comfortable talking to me about my illness. I think sometimes they worry about coming across as feeling sad for me, or maybe they do feel sad for me and wish they didn't, or they want to help and are frustrated because they can't, and are just afraid of saying the wrong thing and making everything worse.
So I thought maybe there should be a script. After all, lots of cultures have very formalized interactions in certain circumstances, and then everyone knows what to say and how to say it, and once you've learned those things it becomes second nature. I think I would have kept more friends around if the conversations had not been so stilted, and the silences not so awkward. These kinds of visits are vitally important for those with chronic illness to ward off the perils of depression.
Step One: Before Your Arrival
So, you've set up for a visit, and on the day of, you should call to make sure your friend is still up for a visitor. Pretend you are the wakeup call (you may very well be) so that your friend can be up and get prepared for your arrival. Remember that it may take them much longer to get dressed and ready than a normal person. But don't call so far in advance that you might be robbing them of valuable resting time. If you have discussed this beforehand, you may already know how far in advance to call, but two to three hours is probably sufficient.
Step Two: What's Your GamePlan?
Obviously, you want to spend time with your friend, and when your friend is chronically ill or in pain, having a planned activity is more than likely doomed to failure. But that doesn't mean your visit should be without purpose. If you do happen to have an activity which requires active participation on the part of the ill person, you should also make alternative plans in case they simply aren't up for it when that day rolls around.What NOT to say:
If you need anything, don't hesitate to ask.What TO say:
- I've got to stop by such-and-such store, do you need anything from there?
- Are you hungry? I was thinking about grabbing some _____ or _____ and bringing it over to share.
- How are you on medications? Do you need me to pick up any refills for you? (This can also be a purpose arranged in advance.)
By being specific, they are more likely to take you up on offers on assistance. Also, you'll feel better, because you are making a real difference and are not so helpless in the face of their disease.
Other purposes for a visit can include helping with household chores, taking your friend to a doctor, or helping them watch the kids. Obviously, it isn't all about work, but because you stopped by the store to grab milk on the way to their house to watch a movie, you are more than a friend, you are a valuable asset in your friend's struggle with chronic illness.
Step Three: Assessment
It's important to gauge how well your friend is feeling that day, and the best way is to ask. Remember that looks can be deceiving. Hopefully, you and your friend have an open and honest level of communication with one another, and your friend does not try to hide pain, but even if he/she does, that is probably because he/she values and needs the interaction more. What NOT to say:
How are you?What TO say:
How is your pain level today? You can even ask, "on a scale of 1-10" just like they do at the doctor's office.
If you are VERY close friends with this person, and the pain level is high, you might also want to ask, "is it time to take a pain pill?" Some of us are terribly forgetful, and we are used to being in pain all the time, for so long, that we will wander around hurting and then never remember to actually take the pills for it.
Other things you can ask include:
- How are your doctor visits going?
- Are you on any new treatments since I saw you last?
- How is your disability going (if they are filing to get disability, this can often be a source of great frustration).
Some days talking about these topics will make us sad, and sometimes angry, but not always. Sometimes we talk about them just because it is what we have to talk about. So you don't have to feel sad for us all the time. But our illness is a big chunk of our lives. To not talk about our illness and its issues would be like having a kid or buying a new house and then not being able to talk about it ever. Just accept that this is something huge in your friend's life and talk about it like the weather--some days it sucks, some days it's not so bad, and it's forever changing in the blink of an eye.
Things you SHOULD NOT do:
- Give hugs without asking. Hugs can hurt. You should always ask if a gentle hug would be okay.
- Say "it will be okay". You cannot predict the future. And for a person with chronic pain who is disabled, it probably won't be okay. Chronic pain can be managed, but generally never goes away completely. It isn't going to get better, and it may very well get worse, and we know it.
- Give advice or suggestions. "If only you would [eat better/try this treatment]..." We have teams of doctors, and our illnesses are complex. Now if you have a book or article, you CAN say, "hey, have you seen this or heard about this yet?"
Probably the best thing you can say, and the simplest and truest is "I am here for you."
Step Four: Sharing
Friendship goes both ways, and while a chronically ill friend will take more of your resources than they will be able to return, that doesn't mean it's all a one way street. Now that you've assisted and assessed, it's time to share what is going on with your life. And trust me, they will enjoy something that has nothing to do with their illness as well.
Bringing pictures or video of an outing or an event is a wonderful way of sharing. If your friend is really sick (bedridden), they may enjoy having someone read to them, in which case you can share a favorite book. You can watch a great movie together. Talk about events in your life, something that concerns you or something that makes you happy. Your frustrations or your feelings. You should have something in mind to talk about before your visit, even if it isn't what you end up discussing. Always be prepared.
Do not be concerned if sharing makes your friend nostalgic or sad. Some people don't want to discuss fun things that they have done for this reason. I assure you, a little sadness from not being a part of these events is better than the long crushing alienation of the world passing you by completely. If your friend is sad, it is because they want to be even more connected to those events, and with today's technology, that is becoming more and more possible. You are an important lifeline to the outside world; do not sever that cord.
Tell them: It's okay to be sad. Would you like me to stop? We can always do this later if you want.
Many times, even if they are crying heavily, they still want you to continue.
Also, be aware that both pain and certain medications can make it difficult to pay attention. Try to have patience if your friend has trouble following along or seems distracted.
Step Five: Re-Assess/Signs of Fatigue
Be on the lookout for signs of fatigue. Your friend may be so excited about your visit that they may not even notice until they are drooping with exhaustion. Do not stay all day, unless you are helping out and you are sure your friend is properly resting. If your friend seems reluctant to have you leave, it means he/she is probably not getting enough interaction. Instead of staying when you know your friend is tired, you should schedule another visit instead. I really hope these guidelines help, and welcome any input or feedback.
I have this one doctor's office that I'm always either late for or sick, or possibly both. Today it was both. Somehow between Monday and today I managed to be under the weather. Monday night I developed a migraine, which didn't depart until about noon on Tuesday (and left me flailing in the bed, looking for a cool spot to rest my head, all night long). Tuesday I had a mild fever and felt like total crap, with my sinuses dry and achy and constantly sneezing. And then by today, I was already starting to feel better, but not totally well.
It's not a cold, I just think it's the weather and Friday's self-poisoning (yum) finally exiting my system. Either way, I was moving sluggishly today, but I still left with plenty of time to get to the bank to check that I had the direct deposit numbers correct, so that after my appointment I could visit the Social Security place and do my PERC review.
Only the bank took way longer than expected. It wasn't the line, because there wasn't one. There never is at that time. When I got to the teller, she went to print out a direct deposit slip, and I guess something went kaflooey with her printer, and then that held me up while I was already being seen. Altogether, I think I was stuck there 20 minutes, and it should have been a 5 minute in-and-out kind of thing. So when I got outside and realized how late I was running, I knew I'd never make it in time unless I took a cab instead of the metro.
And of course, as always, when you really, really need a cab, they vanish into thin air.
But I finally did get one, and I managed to squeak into my doctor's on time and not late at all, and the appointment went okay as far as these things go. So I went to the Social Security building, which is conveniently two blocks from this doctor's office, and it turns out that THEY CLOSE EARLY ON WEDNESDAYS! GRRRRRRR!
So all of this running around, and being almost late, and shelling out $20 on a cab so that I wouldn't be late, turned out to be for nothing. I was so mad I wanted to spit on the glass or hop in circles screaming or something. What I did do was sit on a planter for a minute shaking my head, and then hobble myself back to the metro and go home.
AgtOrange is irritated with my wish for an elaborate, high end water filtration unit that takes out things like cryptosporidia etc. This latest pitcher does NOT live up to my expectations (or its advertising). I originally had the higher end Pur filter. It took forever to filter, but the water tasted wonderful and I enjoyed the LED change light on the pitcher as well as the design. Sadly, after awhile I noticed that the box for their replacement filters stopped saying they were ANSI/NSF certified for the kind of nasties I was looking for. In short, they started being no better than a Brita or other pitcher, which is great for removing odors or bad tastes, but does nothing for harmful organisms and even less for VOCs.
So then I went out and bought an EcoFlow, which filters superfast, but I've seen the occasional leak, and if there is any water in the top chamber when you go to pour, it will pour from the top chamber as well as from the filtered bottom chamber. Thus defeating the whole purpose of having a filtered water pitcher. And the water doesn't seem to taste all that much better, which leads me to believe that it's definitely not filtering very well. I'm probably drinking something not much better than what comes out of the faucet, ugh.
"We don't live in Botswana." This from the man who poured me a glass of brown tap water not even a month ago.
Sorry, if even once my tap water comes out the color of tea, with visible dirt and sediment floating around in it unexpectedly, I tend to not want to drink it or cook with it unfiltered. And this is not the first time, nor the first instance, nor the first tale of bad DC water. My most favorite being the story of my coworker who got lead poisoning from drinking DC tap water over a long period of time. We are also known for high levels of chlorine (as in, higher than safe recommended levels). I do not trust our water supply AT ALL.
"We should just go back to drinking bottled water." But cooking with all bottled water is EXPENSIVE and impractical. A high-end filtration unit runs about $300. The most expensive of the filter replacements costs $180 every six months, the cheapest doesn't require filter replacements for years (but also doesn't have activated charcoal, so there's a taste issue, unless you get a separate Brita or similar home pitcher that just works for taste).
We have a few special needs issues because of our kitchen. First off, we rent, so no heavy instillation is possible. We can't put in an under sink unit, and sadly, we have a weirdly shaped spigot on our sink. All of the convenient pressured systems (and I found some wonderful home pressurized pitchers, including one with a UV light) just will not work. So we needed some kind of gravity fed filtration, which is already less than ideal.
Most of the cheaper brands marketed towards home use do NOT have good testing results, as I have found out. And camping gear is generally not designed to be used long term or every single day. So now I'm looking at stuff for long term encampments by military and foreign aide services, etc. Things designed for the kitchen counters of third world countries.
My choices have been narrowed down to:
Berkey/Doulton -- Some lovely looking stainless steel tureens, and they do have activated charcoal cores in the filters. However, there seems to be issues with the spigots, which are cheap and have a tendency towards leaking. The cost of replacement filters is about $25-30 a piece, and depending on your system you'll need to replace from 2-4 filters at a time. The more filters you have, the faster it filters.
Katadyn -- Two options exist here. One style does not have charcoal, it's just a filter but it will last about 7 years, and you can then buy a regular charcoal filtered pitcher for taste. This is the most cost efficient method. The second option is to get the version that includes charcoal filtration units, however the replacement filters for these run $180 every six months (even though the main filter only needs replaced every 7 years), which makes it prohibitively expensive.
Img Src: Health Care Educator
Response to article by Washington Post Inside the hidden world of thefts, scams and phantom purchases at the nation’s nonprofits
Nonprofits are built on trust, not suspicion. In fact, it's hard for many of them to do the work they do, and to do it well, unless they build a community with at least some level of trust. If that means that they must also bear the brunt of at least a portion of fraud, at the end of it all which is worse? Obviously, there must be limits, and basic measures of safety to protect the money and effort of those who work hard to support these nonprofits and don't like to see either their donations or their time wasted.
Of course they won't want to disclose when someone has robbed them. No one likes to admit being fooled. And what's worse, if they admit to it openly, it could dry up the well of donations, and that means they'll be even less able to do whatever work they initially set out to do.
And non-profits are built by people who set out to help. A profit based business begins with the premise of making money, and as such, those minds are focused, always, on money. They look at the money, they protect the money, their eyes are always and forever on the money. While that may also be where a criminal mindset is, when a thief sets out to steal, it is not where the helpers are looking. They're looking outward, to where the money is going, to how it's being spent. And while they may be watching money flowing out in one direction, it may be trickling from the back door as well.
Should we turn our non-profits into the kind of paranoid grind your day to day minimum wage worker lives under? You know those cameras facing all the checkout lines aren't really much for robberies. Those men wear masks. It's to catch employees stealing. There are stores where if you are so many cents off of your till, it's a write-up. Three write-ups and you're gone and out of a job. Not dollars, mind you. Cents. That could just mean you're bad at counting, and maybe you shouldn't be on a register but could be put to work somewhere else, or maybe you dropped some change.
Which is not to say there shouldn't be some kind of accountancy measures, or basic securities. But the kinds of embezzling and swindling schemes in this article look like decently smart jobs, the kind that don't get noticed immediately. They get noticed, but not until some real damage has been done. Are you really going to figure out the fake invoices from the fake company that the head of IT is ordering when you have a large company? A for-profit company might, if you double-checked every invoice and scanned through all the items, but the risk a non-profit takes there is suddenly all of your money goes to bureaucracy rather than doing good. Profit-based companies can be all about red tape if they want to be, they can thrive even on a heavy regimen of memos and meetings and PowerPoints. Some of the big non-profits do work like this, and as such, maybe 10% of your money (if you're lucky) actually goes toward helping anybody. And who really wants to donate to a company like that?
Sadly, theft is everywhere. And it's always, always a kind of tragedy. But I think rather than writing an article flogging companies for not being as slick as a wily conman, I think we should applaud those who have the courage to continue to have faith in humanity and put forth their trust, even though it feels like people don't deserve it. If you let the blow from one man bring you down, how many will you fail? Many good people come to work at non-profits, and to volunteer at non-profits, because they believe in something good. They go to escape the very evils the profit companies seem to press upon its workers. They go to band together for a common cause. Trust is such a rare commodity. We should be fighting to keep it, not condemning those who have it, who are courageous enough to give it, even when they, and in turn we, suffer for it.
I don't really need much in the way of feminine products anymore, since I'm on a pill that pretty much renders my periods the way of the Dodo bird. But I occasionally do need a pantiliner as evidenced by the fact that I woke up this morning with spotted white underwear. Of course
it would have to be white. If I weren't such a free speech advocate, I'd say there should be a law against selling women white underwear, after all, it never seems to stay white. And if the idea of reusing cloth liners is gross, it really isn't any different than me soaking out my once again spotty panties in the hopes that I can salvage this latest pair. I mean, every girl has a pair of "not quite white" underwear somewhere and that isn't any more gross than being female in general. I figure having reusable pantiliners is on par with having "not quite white" underwear on a more or less continuous basis.
I'm not ready to switch to only cloth for any heavy days of bleeding. For one thing, I'd be too worried about leaking. When I do bleed, I BLEED. And having the reusable pads that have waterproof liners negates many of the supposed health benefits of reusable pads. It seems that just using cloth, since it doesn't trap all that moisture next to your skin, is really good at preventing things like yeast infections. I can't count the number of times I've followed a long drawn-out period with one of those. Ugh!
But I think it's time for me to finally make the switch to reusable cloth pantiliners. Which means, as with any new shopping endeavor, it was time to do some serious research.
One of the things I can't stand about all of these hippie girl products is their assumption that I want my ass to be covered in pink and daisy prints. I'm trying to soak up gross and smelly blood, not celebrate some kind of mystical phase of womanhood. Periods suck, period. There is nothing nice about bleeding and cramping and bloating and stinking every month, and covering my pad with frilly flowers and stupid girly prints isn't going to change my mind about that. I hate the color pink.
There are two mainstream manufacturers of reusable pads, LunaPads and GladRags. Sadly, a very promising and innovative leap in design was wasted in poor construction in LunaPads. The idea of stacking liners using their unique "rick rack" system seemed logical, frankly brilliant, but when I read through the reviews most people complained about shoddy construct, poor snaps, irritating seams, etc. I was sorely disappointed, because when you rely on an independent single mom on Etsy to make all your products, you never know when suddenly that product will disappear forever. It was my hope I could find a reputable, midsized company to supply me, so I would have a better chance of having my stock around forever. *sigh*
GladRags is a serviceable company, but again, more money seems to go into marketing than design here. They are okay, but not great. That was pretty much the best review I could get. Most of their designs are the despised flowery nonsense, but they do have some undyed organic cotton versions, along with a dark red "ruby" and dark green "fern" version that looked promising for hiding bloodstains. From what I gathered, you can get the basic idea of the reusables, or to fill up your stash of rags, but there were just so many better options that it was best to shop around.GladRags.com
So then we had to move on to independents, mostly on Etsy. The top reviewed seem to be WeeEssentials
(who obviously makes other maternal and baby related products), The Silver Liner
, and Quirky Quintessentials
. One of the things you'll need to know when buying from an independent is the size of your ideal pad, both in length and width. And they come in a variety of fabrics, so you have to shop around until you figure out which top fabric is most comfortable for you, as well as how much bulk you like in your pad (today's girls like as thin as possible, but some older women tend to feel "safer" if the pad is a little thicker), as well as how much slippage they can tolerate. Since cloth pads are simply held on with a snap around the middle, and no adhesive backing, the bottom layer of fabric in a cloth pad determines how much friction exists to help hold the pad in place. Also of consideration is how easily the pad is to wash and dry, especially for those who don't use dryers (many women like to air dry their pads).
I ended up picking a brand called Domino Pads
, partially because they had fantastic colors, were hand dyed and supposedly didn't fade, could easily be thrown in the dryer (really, I'm quite lazy and wanted this to be as little extra work as possible), and are PUL-free. They are also one of the few brands that featured thong liners.