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  1. Years ago I used to be a lot more pro-life. However, as I’ve read stories, done research and experienced pregnancy and motherhood myself my views have changed. This law from Texas makes me sad for the women living in Texas and anxious about my own daughter if other states, including my own, adopt this law. This law degrades social trust between friends, neighbors, and acquaintances. In some cases it will alienate women, pregnant or not, when they need help the most. It provides a substantial financial award for those who have no standing or even a relationship to the accused. And makes those closest to women hesitant to help. Miscarriage and botched abortions can be hard to tell apart. I had to go to the hospital after my miscarriage when I was concerned about bleeding. I was already emotionally traumatized. Thank goodness the doctors at the hospital were very caring and didn’t blame me for anything. Now, I’m not sure women in Texas would even seek medical help if they had a miscarriage and I’m not sure how willing providers will be to help. I’ve also read stories of women going to jail for abortions in other countries, even if it was a miscarriage. If we can’t tell natural miscarriage apart from abortions, then we’re penalizing women for something that just happens naturally. Anti abortion laws seem to penalize the poor. I believe we should protect the most vulnerable. So if abortions are illegal you will see more low-income women go to jail or be sued, but not high-income women. This is a huge disparity. If I felt like the lawmakers truly wanted to reduce abortions, they would do things like expand access to contraceptives and maternal care, provide more of a safety net, etc. They didn’t, which makes me question what their true motives are. I am concerned at some point that lawmakers, judges, etc., religious views enter into the conversation. I use birth control and have for years. It has helped me control my family size, allowed me a career, and give me peace of mind. If some lawmakers decided that birth control was abortion because life begins at conception, it would affect many, many women and children who do not share that belief. It’s been interesting to read views that flip the narrative. So many people say women should just “keep their legs closed” but what about the thought experiment of men having forced vasectomies or pulling out every time or else they hold total culpability for pregnancies and potentially abortions. While I don’t think that men should be forced to do anything, it makes you wonder why so much of this is on women. At the end of the day, I value the sanctity of life and want to reduce abortions by having them be a last resort by encouraging the use of sex education, contraceptions, and better social nets. How would I not get sued in Texas? By not helping women in my life with babysitting, rides, money, etc. But how would that make me feel as a friend, sister, mother, etc? And is that what America is about?
  2. I use an app called HomeRoutines. You can customize it for zone cleaning, daily cleaning, weekly cleaning, etc. My only complaint is that it has 5 zones by default, and I only need 4.
  3. I'm a long-time lurker, but I thought I'd chime in. There are two moments (so far) that I think I'll always remember when it comes to this virus. The first is when I saw the Coronavirus thread in Jan(?) and read the three or four pages while watching a show in bed. I remember thinking this could be something to pay attention to. And I did keep visiting the thread over the next few months. My undergrad was in public health. And although I haven't held a job in that field, I remember wondering when our country would do more testing and contact tracing, even when there were just a few cases. I also wondered why we didn't do more at the airports. Topics that were also mentioned in this forum. The second moment was when I came home from book club on a Wed night and then learned the NBA and other major leagues cancelled games and Trump had banned some flights. It seemed to all happen so fast, when it did happen, and happen while I was away at book club. I appreciate this forum. Even though I don't homeschool, I value this forum for the support you show to each other, the variety of opinions that are still respectful to each other, and the wisdom. Because of this forum, I shopped for a little extra a few weeks before everyone else and felt more prepared.
  4. I mostly lurk on these forums, but I think starting a business can be exciting -although scary - and so I thought I'd chime in. We started ours seven years ago, and we now have a few employees. I agree that cashflow is so important. When we started, we were just out of school, renting a cheap place, and used to living frugally. I was also earning some money from transcription and my husband did some freelance work in college that he was able to turn into clients. So money was tight, but we were able to make living expenses between the two of us before we really grew the business. I would think it would have been harder if we were used to a higher standard of living when we started. Some things that have helped us through the years: Not going into debt for the business. We have a service business, and so we are paid mostly for our time. We've been able to bootstrap the business and still carry a healthy savings cushion. We try to keep our expenses low. Have recurring income. Most of our services are recurring so we know about how much money we'll be bringing in each month. If you can swing recurring, I highly recommend it. Know the basics of starting a business such as what you need to set it up legally, how to separate business and personal bank accounts, etc. You can start simple and go from there. For example, for the first few years we were a sole proprietor LLC and only when it made sense did we transition to an S-Corp and start doing payroll. Keep a cashflow statement. I use this template from SCORE to track how much estimated income we have coming in, estimated expenses, etc. I update this monthly and refer to this when we think about incurring a large expense, hiring a new employee, or seeing how much our profit should increase or decrease based on projected revenue/expenses. Have a sales plan and network with others. We're still trying new things with marketing our business, but so far word of mouth has been the most successful. Get familiar with taxes. We use a professional accountant, but I have a spreadsheet that I can estimate our taxes on throughout the year so I know about how much to save up for taxes. After a year or two, look over your tax statements so you know how your taxes work and you can start estimating how much you'll owe. Be prepared to owe April 15 instead of receiving a refund and paying estimated quarterly taxes. Overall, the business has helped us financially and we enjoy a good work/life balance. I work in the business with my husband now that my kids are in school. For the most part it works well, but there are times when something has to get out right away and so I'm at the computer and not available to my kids. I also have to hire a babysitter in the summer.
  5. I've done well running this summer and have been concerned that now it's fall and getting colder and darker, which makes running during the day harder for me. But my friend (who has always hated running) asked me this week if I wanted to run with her in the mornings. I hate running in the dark by myself, but I can do it with a friend. So we've already gone once this week and are going again today or tomorrow. I'm really excited to have a close-by running friend.
  6. Spot It is very compact and easy to play with a range of ages.
  7. I'm currently working on my 101 goals in 1001 days list. This was some idea that I found online. What I like about it is that it's a mix of larger and smaller goals and there's a day that it ends. Some of my goals are really simple like read 3 history books, complete a 30 day yoga challenge, do 10 hours of stand up paddleboarding, buy a jean jacket, etc. Some are a little bigger like get a passport and travel to a foreign country, learn 5 songs on the guitar, write an adult short story, etc. I have my goals divided into sections like family, education, talents, service, social, house projects, etc. I find that when I'm bored I can refer to my list and see if there's any small goals I can knock out.
  8. A couple of weeks ago my two school-aged kids got sick. One threw up and had a low-grade fever. The other just had a fever. They were both better within two days. That same week my husband caught the hit-by-a-truck flu and was pretty sick and is still recovering. He thinks that the kids might have had the flu, but just a milder version. At least one of my sick kids had had the flu shot. My husband did not get the shot.
  9. Our state has a weekly flu report that you can see. When I looked at mortality broken down by age for the 2017-2018 flu season, 8% of the deaths were people under 50, 17% was ages 50-64, and the remaining 75% was 65+. While that might be up from other years, statistically it's still the elderly and possibly immune compromised who were hit the hardest in my area.
  10. This year we read "Crucial Conversations" for our book club. At first, I was turned away because it seemed like a corporate book on communication, but I learned so much from that book about navigating hard topics like the situation with your sister. It recognizes that there are "crucial moments" where things come to a boil and emotions are heated and how to communicate in that moment. It also helps you step back and rationally look at the situation and how to communicate your side and feelings without placing blame or running away from the situation. I would recommend taking a look at that book to understand how to work on your relationship and communication dynamics with your sister.
  11. I accidentally added my yogurt starter before boiling my milk for yogurt. Did I ruin the batch? Or can I still boil the milk and add yogurt afterwards, assuming that the cultures from the yogurt I've put in are already dead?
  12. I lifted yesterday, which was good. And I hope to lift twice more this week and run once. I've done worse on the eating side because I made my yearly batch of Oreo truffles. But now they're out of the house, and it was nice to have that little indulgence. I will probably eat a few more sweets through Christmas, and then really cut it back. Lifting isn't quite as much fun for me as running, but we have all the equipment here and I can do it while my kids are asleep in the morning. The tricky part is I need to watch more form videos because every now and then when I deadlift it feels like I tweak my back a bit. I also smashed my finger between weights on Monday, and that didn't give me warm, fuzzy feelings towards weight lifting.
  13. This week is going fairly well. I've lifted twice this week already, and hope to lift tomorrow morning. Running didn't happen this morning, and I may have to just be okay with running once a week during winter when it's so cold and gets dark early. The problem with running on Thursdays is that for various reasons Thursday is the only weekday morning I can run, and I'd have to get up at 5:30 and go to our local indoor track. Plus, Wednesday night I usually stay up late due to my husband having a late activity. So on Thursday mornings the motivation just isn't there. Lifting during the week isn't as hard because we have the equipment at home. As far as sweets, I haven't been the best, but not the worst, either.
  14. We set ours to 65, day and night. I usually run around in a fleece. My kids run around in t-shirts. It's funny because 65 in this house feels about the same as 68 in our old apartment. When it gets really cold outside sometimes I'll turn the temp up a couple of degrees. We have old windows and so we usually do the window film trick.
  15. This week was okay. I got in two sessions of weight lifting and 1 of running. Running is tricky in the winter because if i want to go twice I need to get up very early on Thursday. This Thursday I didn't sleep well the night before and had lost my belt that holds my phone. Getting out of bed and running around an indoor track without music or an audiobook sounded awful. So I slept in and that may have been the better choice. My goal for eating is to only eat treats one day a week. This week I had book club and had some treats there. I also have an event on Sunday with treats, but Sunday is a new week, right? St. Nicholas came this week and gave me Rolos, but I saved them in a bag and hid them to eat another week. Then I told my husband where they were and now they're halfway gone and in a new hiding place. I think next week I will try to push it to 3 lifting sessions and 2 running. We'll see how it goes! And BeckyJo, I'm sorry about your cat and hope you take it easy.
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