Weekend Diversions 4.8.2016

Another week, another set of diversions for you! Between allergies, a late night yesterday at work, and general life things I am feeling pretty tired today. You’re in luck, though, because I have chosen to write this post instead of a nap. I’m sure I’ve said this before, but I really do enjoy these weekly reading roundups. I love when other bloggers do these types of posts because because they expose me to articles and perspectives I might not have found on my own. In that spirit, what have you all been reading this week? What stories have caught your attention? What are your current obsessions?

  1. Lemon cupcakes they’ll never know are vegan: I have a non-vegan friend coming into town later this month who is always skeptical about the deliciousness of vegan treats. I have taken it upon myself to show her cookies and cakes can be just as decadent and wonderful without eggs, dairy milk, and butter. She always claims to be able to taste the lack of animal products. This recipe just might change her mind.
  2. What life is like on $7.25 per hourThe minimum wage has been in the press a lot over the past year or two, and for good reason: a full-time job at this level of earning is not enough to afford housing (defined as paying thirty percent of income for) anywhere in the country. Low-income earners are severely cost-burdened, paying more than 50 percent of their incomes on rent and utilities. Little to nothing is left over for transportation, food, medical bills, or any other life expenses. Most minimum-wage workers are not allowed to work full-time in any one position, because that might mean they qualify for expensive benefits, meaning they either earn less than an inadequate income or they work multiple jobs and sacrifice sleep for money. I could (and have) talked about this for hours. I won’t bore you with statistics (although if you are interested, leave a comment and I am happy to provide resources). This article in the Los Angeles Times does a nice job of profiling a few adults in minimum wage jobs, giving all their energy (and then some) to subsistence. I thought the author humanized the individuals and the difficult realities of their lives. Most of the people contributing to the comments section below the article did not pick up on that human element (this is your warning: if you believe in raising the minimum wage, read the comments only if you want to be put into a foul mood).
  3. Humanizing homelessness at the San Francisco Public Library: In happier news, the San Francisco’s Main Public Library hired Leah Esguerra, a social worker in 2009 to support their homeless patrons. She performs a clinical evaluation of willing individuals (participation is not a caveat for library use) and connects them to mental health clinics, housing assistance programs, job training centers, and other supportive services. In the article she estimates she has connected almost 1,000 people with the care they need to support themselves. A big difference between this article and the one above from the Los Angeles Times (which portray similar populations) is the professional (or former professional) status of the profiled individuals. CityLab emphasizes that the people who use Esguerra’s services at the library had careers as medical professionals and business owners; those who have never held a job or who never advanced beyond an entry-level position are not included in the story. And while I know that people from all economic levels can experience homelessness and that current comfort is not always a guarantee against future poverty, this “safe” portrayal of homeless individuals makes me uneasy. I would prefer a more holistic picture of the care provided by the library. Truth is the only way to remove the stigma of homelessness and I think this story provides an elitist image of a situation that does not discriminate. The program is wonderful, but the reporting was one-dimensional.
  4. 8 things people said to ‘help’ me through my eating disorder that hurt me instead: Although I did not hear all of these comments while I was dealing with my disordered eating, I do know how people’s words, no matter how well meaning, can become the catalyst for more disorder. The moral is: never emphasize a person’s appearance; even compliments can be twisted. Support people where they are and as they ask for it and you cannot (hopefully) go too wrong .
  5. 6 ways good parents contribute to their child’s anxiety: Honestly, many of these (caring too much, overplaying strengths, hiding your troubles) apply to me, as an adult with anxiety, as well. Feeling supported is wonderful, but when my strengths are glorified I fear I will lose support if I fail. This fear kept me from writing (or enjoying writing) for years; if I couldn’t write well I worried I would disappoint everyone and so I did not practice writing, except in the very private realm of my journals. At basic levels, children and adults are not dissimilar. So maybe the advice is: treat your children as you would like to be treated yourself. Not the most groundbreaking advice, but something I think bears repeating often.

Alright, that’s all I have for this week. Please let me know if you come upon other interesting articles, I am always looking for more reading! Have a wonderful, relaxing, spring-like weekend. Take care.

 

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