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Back to the Basics

Back to the Basics

Written by Ally Loprete

As the owner of OMM and a representative of so many members, I’ve had to do something I’ve never done before, and that is to swallow my political opinions and keep them to myself for the sake of everyone. This is because I care about all of our members, the parents who are working hard to support their children and are doing so by running their own businesses. I did not want anyone to think for a moment that I if my opinions differed from theirs in the political arena, that I was not FOR them, when I certainly am.
But I feel the time has come to open my mouth a little. There is so much happening in our country right now that I feel it almost ridiculous not to talk about it, especially when so much of it affects us directly and what we are trying to achieve as an organization dedicated to working moms and dads. So I’ll just say it. I love President Obama. I believe in what he is trying to accomplish, and I think for the first time ever, our voices are being heard.
According to a recent letter I received from Momsrising.org, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was the first piece of legislation signed by President Obama, both the House and Senate passed an expanded State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), and now the Senate is getting ready to vote on an economic recovery package that has a number of key provisions that would directly help moms and their families.
Whether you like Barack Obama as a candidate or not, I think we can all agree that we have been fearful of anyone to step into the white house and take on the mess that has been left for him. Therefore, we are fearful of any new maneuvers that the new president will take on to help the situation. But the reason I am so impressed with Obama is because he is not afraid to take risks. He did not take office to sit quietly and second guess every move that might rock the boat. He is diving in and making something happen. I think if we all follow suit, something WILL happen.
When Our Milk Money was just a blip of an idea, the economy was not in the state that it is today, yet it was created for this exact time. Let me tell you a quick story, that you may or may not have already heard. Before OMM was conceived, I was trying to price a piece of jewelry that I had made, and wondered how it would compare to the prices in the department stores. I guessed $50 would be a good price. And then I imagined all that I could do with an extra $50; a tank of gas, a small trip to the grocery store for milk, bread, eggs, cheese and some fruit, a month of Gymboree classes for my toddler, date night with my husband…
It wasn’t difficult to conclude that $50 was more valuable to me and my family than a large corporation or department store. I wondered if anyone else would care about that value enough to make an effort to change their spending habits and buy my product over someone elses. Yes. Other parents would feel the same way, I just had to find them. I made a decision right then and there that I would make an effort to search for a parent who might possibly be selling whatever it is I needed each time I made a purchase. With the internet, and the master search guru I had become, I should be able to find anything online, right? Wrong. I searched and searched. Nowhere could I find the answers I was looking for.
The rest, you probably know. Our Milk Money, and the first parent only business directory was born.
Why am I talking about this now, almost a year later? Because while I am thrilled to see that our directory is growing, I am concerned about how little it is being used. I imagine that the excuse is that our country is in a state of crisis and people are just not spending money. Wrong. If there was ever a time to use the directory, its now. What better time to rebuild the economy in a way that supports small businesses than right now? The slate is practically clean at this point. And while the excuse is that people aren’t spending money right now, I beg to differ. We are all spending it. That hasn’t stopped. It can’t stop, because in this country we need to spend money to survive. We need to buy things to live, even if they are just necessities. Well, guess what! Those “necessities” are available for purchase by a parent somewhere in your local community, and may even be listed in the Our Milk Money business directory. If you are a parent, you have even more reason to support the directory, because it benefits you as well. We are an organization and a community of parents that need to stick together. What are YOU doing to support others like you?
The Consequences of Learning

The Consequences of Learning

Written by Guest Blogger James C. Ferguson

Apparently, as I endeavor to educate my toddler by increasing her vocabulary at every waking opportunity, she – ironically – is turning me into an idiot.

As I mentioned in a previous piece, my daughter adores the written word; she loves books (which, at her reading level of almost two, consist primarily of about fifty actual words plus a never-ending parade of brightly colored genetic testing escapees). It is not uncommon for our daughjter to slip quietly out of sight. But rather than putting all of her socks in the cat’s water bowl, or trying to eat every single piece of fuzz on the carpet, she will retrieve a book from what I call “the library cart” (a little red wagon filled with books), plop down on the floor and begin to read.

My wife and I do our best to encourage this habit. We read to our daughter almost every night. And if she runs up to us brandishing yet another tale of what I can only assume are anthropomorphized aardvark-clown crossbreeds, we temporarily set aside whatever we’re working on and read to her. (Thankfully, she has yet to interrupt any sort of carnal activity.)

Because of what I can only label her aggressive reading habits, our daughter knows a lot of words. And this is where things get paradoxically complicated.

Certain words, if she hears them, elicit such an over-the-top emotional reaction – akin, I’m guessing, to an opera singer getting a wedgie – that we do everything we can to avoid using them in day-to-day conversation. One of the words you can always count on to turn our daughter into Jamie Lee Curtis from Halloween is “milk.” She loves her milk. When she wants her milk, she wants her milk. And if you foolishly happen to utter even part of that particular word anywhere where she can hear you, the sweet child who loves to hug the cats and laugh at The Daily Show turns into a banshee.

So we sometimes find ourselves in situations where you need to use a word like … you-know-what and you do exactly what I just did: you hedge, you weave, you bob, you duck – you do an embarrassing and awkward verbal dance to avoid using the … you know … “it.” And you sound like a complete and total moron. You can feel you I.Q. sliding out your ears. You think, even as it’s happening, “I wish the producers had contacted me about playing Bob Thornton’s part in Sling Blade.”

It might go like this:

Me: “Honey?”
My beautiful wife: “Yeah?”
Me: “Are you going to the store?”
My beautiful wife: “Yeah.”
Me: “We need more, uh, you know …”
My beautiful wife: “What?”
Me: “The stuff.”
My beautiful wife: “Crack?”
Me: “No, not crack; I’m not going to ask you to buy crack at Ralph’s. … It.”
My beautiful wife: “What are you talking about?”
Me: “Come here. Let me whisper it to you.”
My beautiful wife: “I’m in the bathroom!”
Me: “You know what I’m talking about.”
My beautiful wife: “Even less than usual.”
Me: “You know, the … uh … the, um … um … You know, the liquid cheese!”

And if you think your wife is ever going to have sex with you again after using a phrase like “liquid cheese”, I’d buy some stock in cold showers. There’s no coming back from a phrase like “liquid cheese.”

But I guess that’s how it goes. The new generation replaces the old, like New Coke or The New Monkees. As our daughter grows increasingly verbose we – her elders – march slowly down the path towards life as a bad Saturday Night Live sketch. I guess, at the end of the day, you just have to hope she has her own bank account and a driver’s license by the time you get there.

(And if you happen to be driving by a store anytime soon, would you mind picking us up some … you know.)

James C. Ferguson lives in Los Angeles with his wife, daughter and a pile of books about a monkey. James’ own book, Context Clues, is available on Amazon.com. And his film, Happy Holidays, is available at iTunes, Indiepix, Cinemanow, Caachi and Eyesoda. (Soon, the film will also be available on WebMovieNow, Amazon On Demand and Jaman). Additional information can be found on the Happy Holidays MySpace and Facebook web sites.