Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Funny girl

Last night we were eating dinner at a restaurant when a man came in wearing an Elmo shirt. Yes, a grown man. In his defense, he was carrying a gift and went to a table where a family with a boy who looked about four-ish was seated, so I'm assuming he wore it to please the birthday kid. Maybe not. Maybe he's just weird, or maybe he's very cheap & found it in the 'donate' bin at church or something.

Anyway, Z took one look at this guy and spontaneously burst into song:

"la-laa la-la, la-laa la-la, Elmo shirt, Elmo shirt!"

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Not feeling the love

I have not had the energy to blog lately. I've had a little run of bad luck, and it's had me down. I'll spare you the gory details, but the bullet-points version goes something like this:
  • Somebody slammed into my parked car on 9/19 (I was not in it at the time, so nobody got hurt).
  • The dumbass tow truck driver hauled it to the body shop by the back end, thereby burning out the transmission.
  • Thanks to the transmission damage, the insurance company declared my car a total loss last week.
  • They're only giving me about $8000, which is not nearly enough to buy a car that I feel safe driving my kids around in.
  • So we're looking at used Subarus, with a $10-12,000 auto loan in our very near future.

To top it all off, I fell down on a trail run a couple days after the accident and banged myself up quite nicely, and now I seem to have acquired a nasty cold that today migrated down to my chest and has lodged itself quite solidly there. And I got an email for Z's preschool director saying that there's a confirmed case of flu in her classroom. They're not saying for sure that it's H1N1, but since 90% + of all cases of influenza A are turning out to be H1N1 in Colorado this fall, the odds are good that it is. Oh, goody. I know two families where the entire family has come down with it together. Wouldn't that be fun? Especially with a nice chest cold going to start me off on the right foot.

There have been some glimmers of happiness in all my gloom, like the visit I made to my sister last weekend to snuggle the twinitos and my big win at the racetrack on Saturday (a whole $9!). Let me get the car buying hassle out of the way, return the craptacular Ford Focus to Enterprise (who, by the way, did NOT pick me up on the day of the accident), and refocus myself, and I'll do a nice sunshine and rainbows blog post with some of the many pictures and videos I've been storing up over the past couple of weeks. Maybe that'll happen on Friday.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Friday, September 11, 2009

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Accountability

I barely made my 50 mile goal for the month of August, and only by cranking out a 6.7 mile run on the 31st to get me to 50.7 miles for the month. So I have a new strategy: I'm going to have weekly goals instead of monthly goals. I'm going to gradually build my miles each week, and then "rest" a bit every fourth week.

September's weekly goals:
1. Week of 8/31: 11 miles
2. Week of 9/7: 13 miles
3. Week of 9/14: 14 miles Oops, only 9.5. Bad week. I'll try this again next week.
4. Week of 9/21: 14 miles RATS!  I was almost there.  11 miles with one day left, and I was at sea-level (easy running).  Then I got sick.  Let's hope the third time is the charm.
5. Week of 9/28: 14 miles Sick.
6. Week of 10/5: 14 miles Finally!
7. Week of 10/12:  10 miles  10.5
8. Week of 10/19:  15 miles

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

DO SOMETHING!!

It's time to take action on health care reform.

I'm starting to fear that the public health care option is slipping away. I was not an Obama supporter in the early phase of the primaries specifically because I thought his stance on health care was not strong enough. I also thought he wasn't liberal enough in general, but that's another story. I came around because I thought he had leadership qualities and the ability to inspire people in a way that no other candidate had. Sadly, I'm starting to fear that I made a mistake and my initial feelings about him were right.

The power of right-wing talk radio and Fox "News" is so great that they are able to convince people of things that sound utterly ridiculous if you think about it for even a second. Does anyone REALLY believe that the government would set up "death panels" to decide who gets health care and who doesn't? Or that Obama's health care advisors don't value the lives of the elderly? Please. That's just silly. Why would you believe that? Particularly when there's so much evidence to the contrary. And if those things are not true, why would so many people be going to such great lengths to convince you that they ARE true? What could their motive be? I say they stand to profit in some way by keeping things the way they are. They are profiting, whether directly or indirectly, from the profit-based health care rationing system we currently live with.

They've also managed to convince people that the government won't do a good job of providing health care because government can't do ANYTHING right. Again, give me a break! Here's a list of just a half-dozen or so things the U.S. government does well. Big things. And I owe my dad (a lifelong Republican) thanks for helping me think of some of these.
1) The government doubled the size of the country with the Lousiana Purchase.
2) The government thought up and executed the Homestead Act, without which most of us wouldn't own property or a home today (and if you don't think the Homestead Act was socialism, go get a dictionary and check the definition!).
3) The government will come to your house, pick up a letter, and for $0.44, deliver it to the opposite coast, 2,500 miles away, in just a few days. And surprise! The U.S. Postal Service has not put UPS and FedEx out of business yet (the postal equivalents of private health insurance companies in this analogy).
4) The government built and maintains the interstate highway system.
5) Who do you think it is that answers the phone and sends an ambulance to your house in a matter of minutes when you're hurt or threatened? The government.
6) And I suppose you think the U.S. military sucks too. What?! You don't? You think it's the greatest military force on the planet? Oh. That's interesting. And who do you think runs the military? Ah, right. The government.
7) Speaking of the military, let's take a closer look at that argument that they can't do health care right. The VA health care system and Tri-Care, the health care system for our nation's military, are among the world's best. Who do you think runs those? The government.
8) Social security. No, it's not perfect, but jeez louise! The government sends you a check every month! Do you know what happens in lots of other countries when you get too old to work? Either your kids take care of you, or you die.
9) Medicare. Again, it's not perfect, but I personally know many people who would have died without it. My grandfather was one. Since the same corporations that are against public health care don't want to provide health coverage to their retirees, Medicare is the only option for most elderly Americans. Would you prefer that we got rid of this public option?

Today I sent copies of the letter below to my member of Congress, both my U.S. Senators, and President Obama. If you also feel that a public option is an important part of health care, please, please, write or call President Obama and your members of Congress. Don't send them an email -- a call or an actual letter is much more effective. It shows that you care enough about the issue to take the time to sit down and write a letter, or pick up the phone and talk to someone. Feel free to borrow from my letter if it helps.

Find your member of the U.S. House of Representatives & his/her address here; your two U.S. Senators here; and President Obama's address here (go to the bottom of the page for the mailing address).

JUST DO SOMETHING. Now. Please.

-----------------------------------------------------------

Dear X,

I respectfully ask that you lobby forcefully for health care reform that includes a public option. To me, this is a moral issue. Under our present system of health care, Americans who can afford insurance have no choice but to purchase coverage through for-profit companies. These companies do not exist to provide health care; they exist solely to make a profit for the executives and shareholders. Therefore, the bureaucrats who stand between me and my doctor have a clear motivation to obstruct, ration or deny health care. It is morally wrong that Americans are forced to depend on this profit-motivated system.

Health care reform with a public option will offer Americans a health insurance choice that is not motivated by profit. To me, the fact that it will drive health care costs down by creating more competition among health insurance providers is a secondary benefit. There are, or course, other health care reforms that could and should be made:

1) Insurance companies should not be permitted to deny coverage due to pre-existing conditions.
2) Insurance companies should be prohibited from dropping coverage when a customer in good standing is diagnosed with an expensive medical condition.
3) The government should be permitted to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies for drugs provided under Medicare Part-D.
4) Medical records should be electronic, secure, easily accessible, and fully transportable.
5) Providers should be encouraged to cooperate in providing care, and to provide follow-up care.
6) Most important of all, there must be a public option for health insurance.

Don't let the Republicans stop this critical reform. Those who argue against a public option are either woefully uninformed, or are beholden in some way to the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries. If that means Congress must pass health care reform without Republican votes, so be it. That's a good long-term political strategy anyway -- when the public option is wildly popular and successful, the Republicans will look like obstructionist fools.

I have been a registered Democrat since I turned 18, and I have always voted Democratic. I must tell you, however, that this issue is so critical to me that I will not support a candidate in the 2010 or 2012 elections who failed to forcefully lobby for a public option. My votes and my dollars will go to other candidates in the primary and general elections.

Please, don't let this opportunity slip away. Pass health care reform with a public option!

Sincerely,

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Mystery baby


Awww, look at that cute little chubster! I'm told it's remarkable that he was wearing a diaper and not stark naked in this picture. Anyone want to guess who it is?