Darla's Mom

Photos and musings as I raise this kid

Archive for the ‘family’ Category

We Aren’t Going to Try JDI

I have dedicated my life to finding dignity for others. People with money usually don’t have to hunt for dignity  – people tend to respect money and that somehow translates into a modicum of respect for the person with money. That means it is the underdog I usually root for and assist. FYI, if you are reading this and owe anyone – especially me – money, pay up.

Professionally,  what that looks like is I work with homeless adults and families. In my free time, it means that I volunteer for homeless shelters and charities.  In my remaining free time, while my daughter sleeps, I write little stories to explain the challenges some families face. There are many reasons I have chosen this path – personal history, enacting my faith, and practice. As a kid, I volunteered at the Union Station kitchen and I had a variety of good causes to support through Job’s Daughters.

My youngest daughter had expressed an interest in joining Jobies so I started looking at it again. How had it changed since I was last active in 1993? Is it the same or better? Would she have a home there? She would be the 4th generation on my side to be a Job’s Daughter and her father was a De Molay.

Royal Family

Darla has been preparing to be a princess her entire life, but now she doesn’t want it.


She has attended installations for Job’s Daughters and De Molay. She has met Master Masons and Rainbow and Eastern Star members – and she has a collection of tiaras. Just last week she slept over at a very JDI friendly family. So imagine my surprise when she turned down the chance to go to the JDI picnic because she no longer wants to join.

“Can you keep me, safe Mom? What if that old lady wants to trap me in a room so she can yell at me?” – a few years ago in Arizona, an adult from the “Supreme Line” pulled the members into a room and barred the parents from coming in. The girls ended up crying. Someone sent me a 40-minute recording of this “supreme” adult demanding to know what she should have done once the Supreme Guardian told her to go talk to these girls. My kid has heard this recording and she shouted at it “Say no! You didn’t have to be mean”. That adult was recently promoted to the highest adult position in the order. It is hard to imagine that JDI values children when they make choices like that.

“What if I don’t make friends and someone hits me?” At Grand Bethel, the state convention for California, a girl was held in a room against her will and when she broke free she was hit in the head so hard that she had a concussion. The adult she went to for help happened to be a nurse but brushed off her concerns and eventually, this girl was banned from Job’s Daughters for three years while her attackers are welcomed to all kinds of events.

She does not know that a girl had a seizure in a bathroom and she was sexually assaulted by a De Molay. The boy was removed from his fraternity and the girl had to fight and appeal to the Powers That Be to keep her membership in JDI even though she was the victim. The adults in authority were terrible to her family and tried to bar her father from sitting near her in the meetings to keep her safe in case she had a seizure. Yes, giant ADA violation.

And so, here is the rub; As a kid, we always joked that every member of Job’s Daughters could leave and it would be years before the adults found out.  I think the adults would know because they like to torture the membership and abuse their power – but the adults should have no power.

If an adult demands to speak to the girls alone, their presiding officer, called an Honored Queen, should be free to deny the request. Each potential member is vetted by members of her local group and voted on by the girls before she can join – why are girls left out of the choice to remove a daughter from her station or membership?

Where is the dignity in being a Job’s Daughter?

Where is the safety?

Where is the opportunity to have a choice and a voice?

Where is the opportunity to be a fan and a supporter of the order? A former member made ( at cost) shirts and sweatshirts for members and the adults affiliated with local, state and international levels of JDI. She offered to set up her machine and make items at the convention and give part of the proceeds to the sorority but was turned down. She was also the topic of gossip at the international level. When this woman complained, she was sued in federal court over trademark violation. There was no violation and JDI requested mediation where they agreed to settle. The adult who was Supreme Guardian when the lawsuit was filed is now on the Board of Trustees. This is not a group looking to grow or change to be more fun or easy to support.

Simply put, the dignity of JDI is gone. What was a treat for me to be a part of is now a horror show for more than one family.

It is sometimes reasoned that the demise of Job’s Daughters International is happening because modern girls have too many options. Nothing is made of the fact that JDI is an unappealing option. The time commitment is minimal but the return on investment is awful. The budget for gardening at the residential home of JDI was larger than the college scholarship funds dedicated to the members seeking education. Girls who volunteer on a state level lose their title after their term of service but the adults keep their titles for life and they all stand and are escorted and introduced at events for the girls. Escorts can take over an hour without anyone under the age of 45 being introduced. Mind you – the age of a JDI member is between 10 and 20. No adults need to be introduced. Maybe they can be invited to rise and the suggestion can be made that these would be interesting for people to visit with during any reception or social gathering?

When I came back to look at JDI I expected to see some changes, but I did not expect to find it gutted and unrecognisable. The girls have no voice. They are not protected from out of control adults or even other girls. My daughter is watching her friends be dragged to events instead of being the engine driving the enthusiastic involvement. I am horrified that my friends who have been involved this whole time or even reinvested recently, seem to be complacent. They think this is fine and normal. One says she is not free to speak her mind or even “like” things on Facebook because it would jeopardize her family’s standing in JDI. Dude, this is a kid’s club, no “family” should have “standing” and if you have to be censored, maybe you are just agreeing to be controlled.

How about if we set up an example where our girls are not finding emotional and physical abuse normalized or ignored? Why is this sorority not teaching them how to have healthy relationships?

It is clear that the “D” in JDI does not stand for dignity.

Image may contain: 2 people, including Sonya K Eith, people smiling, selfie, child, outdoor and closeup

Happy to be a Disneyland Day Princess

When I posted on Facebook that Darla suddenly does not plan to join, and I support her reasons, people, specifically Sally Carstensen-Hansenjumped into the comments to complain about people who bitch but don’t do anything to solve the problem as she said she was doing.  Are they calling my daughter a bitch for complaining about the conditions, or me because I had the nerve to mention this in public?  Apparently, I am supposed to feel welcomed to come and make changes among keyboard warriors who are exemplars of the danger of JDI.

My time is better spent elsewhere. If I want to empower young girls while hanging with my kid, I can return to being a  Scout Leader or join the PTA in addition to the time I spend with her now.

I came to see what JDI was all about these days. I came, I saw, I shuddered.

Written by Homeless

August 6, 2018 at 12:22 pm

She’s on to us Moms and Dads

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"You have fun! I know it! Aaayyyeee" was screamed down at me for an hour tonight.

We cooked. We ate. She soiled the floor with food. She played. And then she took a bath and brushed her teeth. We cuddled in bed and I excused myself to do chores and promised to come check on her.

Darla wanted to come too. She was sure I was reopening Club 54 or inviting the cast and crew of Mickey’s club house to my living roon while she was stuck in bed.

"You have fun , I know it!".

Yes kid. Dishes are washing and the laundry is washing and more of it is drying while I am on my knees scrubbing yogurts from under the kitchen table. It’s hard to drink this martini while I am layering pork chops and cream of chicken soup in the crockpot for tomorrow’s dinner.

You are on to me.

In a minute I am going to sort your long pants from shorts. .. it will be just like snorting coke.

When I was done , I found she had taken her pajamas off and fallen asleep like this.

Written by Homeless

October 29, 2013 at 6:08 am

Dressing Darla

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Darla is a big fan of the costume.

Darla's costumes range from Super Hero to Princess with stops in between

Darla’s costumes range from Super Hero to Princess with stops in between

   We have t-shirts for every superhero I can find. She has the complete Wonder Woman Costume and a pirate costume and dresses for most of the Disney Princesses and 3 Minnie Mouse dresses. Being 2, she can wear whatever she wants and it is cute. (Being 41 – I get called weird, quirky or eccentric so I stick to dresses and jeans with the occasional witty t-shirt thrown in). When she discovered “The Disney Princesses” , I made a special point to discuss Wonder Woman and how you can be a princess AND a Super Hero at the same time.

      Yesterday, I was perusing the Facebook and my friend Alexandra Howard linked to an article of a mother dressing her 5-year-old up as famous women in actual history.
     I am inspired. Driving home from work yesterday – I had an idea. It is new and still half-baked and needs editing. I am going to start an occasional project to dress Darla up as women and men who inspire me, or whom I am fond of – and whom I hope will see themselves as role models for Darla. Some of them are Princess Like, Some of them are heroic, a few combine both.
Some of these folks may be unknown to you – because it is based on my life, and charity work (I have spent too much time at www.MENDpoverty.org ). Never the less: look them up. Also, feel free to give me suggestions.
      Here is my list so far and the supplies I need for the costumes.

Carolyn Rose – Cofounder of MEND Scrubs, stethoscope, silver hair paint for a low pony tail, glasses
Ed Rose – Cofounder of MEND Same hair as Carolyn, fedora, blue t-shirt and jeans, pencil and blueprint(He’s an engineer)
Lisa Ferguson – Darla’s Godmother Boots – large black purse containing :coffee cup, day planner, black stuffed cat, airplane ticket) – little black dress and fish nets
Andrea Caster – Darla’s Fairy Godmother Blue dress, red cape, black rimmed glasses, holding legal scales, pink streak of hair
Richard Weinroth – friend and Food bank director at MEND Jeans, tennis shoes, chef coat, blue baseball cap, shoebox filled with toy food
Maryann Haver-Hill – CEO of MEND Red sleeveless dress, pearls, blonde wig
Scott Mickels – Controller of MEND Jeans, Blazer, dress shirt and bow tie, account ledger and dollars poking from pocket. (hair slicked back)
Rose Fox – my 2nd grade teacher Blonde wig, Hawaiian print dress, grade book
Rev. Andy Bales – CEO of Union Rescue Mission Bicycle Jersey, handlebars, Bible with a paper titled Los Angeles City Council Meetings poking out.
Kenny Keith – my baby brother (not a role model: but this was too easy) Superman shirt, jeans with holes. No shoes (or tennis shoes) , wrench and toy car
Samantha Morley – my friend and Medical Office Guru Heels, jeans, Zombie t-shirt, tote bad with slogan “Eat healthy and learn to love it!”
Job’s Daughter – International Girl’s Organization through the Masons White pillow case sewn into a greek robe, white twine for a chord, purple ribbon headband and white ballet slippers
Officer Crowther  – a police officer in my home town Police uniform , mustache, glass of wine, marathon medal
Barbara Bates Jensen – Nurse, mother, teacher Blonde wig, scrubs, first aid kit with sticker “Haiti or bust”


Dear every mom I know

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wpid-PicsArt_1382578274436.jpgThe internet is full of “perfect moms” and the world is full of regular women trying to make homes and raise young people into healthy adulthood.
Stop staring at Pinterest and put Facebook down. Hug your kids and know you are doing somethings right.
Enjoy being a mom. Love yourself. Find a friend and laugh at your failures.
via PicsArt Photo Studio

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October 24, 2013 at 1:36 am

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September 30, 2013 at 5:02 pm

My family

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I don’t often write in this space : usually I post pictures directly from my camera phone and then move on. I don’t even know if anyone reads this – and that is fine with me. This is something I do for myself and when work is slow or life is depressing I have something to look at that cheers me up.

Other people use the internet for p*rN and Kittens and laughing babies. I use it as a coping mechanism.

About 12 years ago I found a chat board from KYSR 98.7 fm in LA. through them there were chat boards “Drunkjack.com and Jamiewhite.com”. This is how I found Bonnie and Isabel,Mikey, Cami, Angela, Jack, Pearl, Veronica and more. Even Phaedra and Sam were on here. That’s when I discovered the therapeutic qualities of chatting with folks through the day and being able to read responses at my leisure.

The station changed format and ChatBoards are harder to find that have meaning now that the entire world is enraptured with FaceBook and we have Twitter for quick “shout outs”. But I have been blogging for 6.5 years and loving it. I started out with “Homeless in LA” and have ghost written a few others and then made this one for Darla so she can be seen by my family and also see herself grow up when she is older.

Not all of the photos are in focus. Not all of them are editorial and tell a story. They are just pictures of her, and me and her sisters and her family.

Family means a lot to me. I have had a couple of them in my life and I pick and choose who I want to publicly admit being related to ( I am terrible like that) .

So enjoy my family. I do. When I need a little extra love – like I did last weekend – I will drive 12 hours to get to my Grandma’s arms and back home again – because family is life.

Enjoy mine. I do.

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August 2, 2013 at 6:27 pm

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Means your own coffee cup at Grandma O.J.’s

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August 2, 2013 at 4:04 pm

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a bunch of photos

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June 21, 2013 at 9:13 pm

Queen of the morning

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January 11, 2013 at 3:56 pm

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May I Skip Easter?

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Of course I can’t. It is Jackies’ last Easter as a child and there are traditions to be upheld.

1. She is speaking at Easter sunrise service.

2. There are Easter Eggs to dye.

Every year Jackie and I pull out loads of eggs, vinegar, food coloring, dyes, wax, tin foil, hot glue guns and then we camp out at a table and work together for hours – hovering over little while ovals and turning them into works of art or just works of something while our nail beds turn all the colors of the rainbow.  Every year it is just her and me and our shared artistic visions while we watch movies or just chatter about any and everything.

I know that easter is about dying and resurrection and ever lasting life. But dude, my mon died on Easter and three days later she didn’t reappear.

I am just not feeling it.

I usually dig the holidays. I like to use them to measure out where I am on my goal planning and to review and celebrate the changes since the same holiday in a year prior.

This past year has been a wash;

 a continuation of the “Lynne D”  nightmare compounded with Michelle Gomez – both slimy symptoms of Don’s incredible narcissism and lack of respect for me, Darla and our family. I have been besieged by pleas from the Bonus Kids to stay with their father and not leave them, guilt over the thought of raising another child alone and washes of memories of how stressful it as the first time, (although, I make good product and Jackie is fabulous and was accepted to 5 of the 6 colleges she applied to), anger (and disgust) at these people who have never met me but dismissed me any my role in Darla and Don’s lives as unimportant when compared to their desire to be loved. This Michelle chick used to sneak into my home while I was at work, sit on my furniture, drink from my glasses and eat my food and then have the nerve to tell me that “oops, she knew I lived here, and although I caught her sextings in October and told her to stop – she didn’t think she was doing anything wrong – then told me about her failed marriage and why it made it okay to try to ruin Darla’s family. Discovering how completely selfish and dishonest Don is, and seeing that it is his choice to be so  – but also looking at the people in his past relationships who lied and snuck around to get what they wanted. I did get him to come to a parenting class with me – he fell asleep. I have the same job with the same pay but twice the workload from a year ago. And somehow I weigh 12 pounds more (but thankfully can get back in to the same pants).

So – can I just skip it?

Written by Homeless

March 29, 2012 at 6:52 am