Saturday, April 3, 2010

A healthy outlook

Approved You all know me well enough by now to know that even while I've been trying to cope with feelings of loss and sorrow, I've still been paying attention to the news. I can't help's just my nature. (Thanks, Dad! Mom, too--she's a lot more interested than she used to be, and she pays attention to what is going on.)

I missed some when everything was so hectic, but I've been watching closely lately. I watched as the vote passed the Senate and cheered when it did; I watched as a jubilant President used 22 pens to sign the bill into law. I was grinning right along with him. I've gotten into debates online with some local folks, including one guy who seemed to really dislike me. He called me an "old school hippie," and when I flashed him a virtual peace sign, he flipped me a virtual bird. Where's the love, man? He said that I seemed to think I was a great writer; I said I'd made no such claims, and what I wrote there is just the way I write; he said that I had insulted others on the forum and that he would make sure to speak up in any further threads that I "corrupted," although I had insulted no one, and I fail to see how voicing my opinion is in any way corrupting the thread. I could only conclude that when it came right down to it, he just didn't like me because I was an uppity woman who dared to voice an opinion that was different from his. When he tried to browbeat me into accepting his opinion, I stood my own and would have none of it, and he didn't like that, either. How many times do I have to say it? Don't fuck with me. Seriously.

Anyway, what I saw there was someone who, when they didn't get their way initially, resorted to bullying and name-calling. Oh, did I forget to mention that he said that I had my head up my ass? Yes, that too. I think my experience on a local thread was a microcosm of what we're seeing on a national level. When certain types don't get their way, they resort to hurling insults and epithets, and as we've recently seen, they aren't averse to launching a loogey now and then. There is a word for such behavior: childish. I guess when you can't get your way in an argument by using your own reasoning, you have to go to your fallback position of acting like a brat throwing a tantrum. It's amusing to watch, but it really is rather unseemly and doesn't further your argument at all.

I've also enjoyed some much more satisfactory discussions with Cousin Curt--at least we can argue our points without resorting to such tactics. That's what happens when you've got a couple of intelligent people who understand that true and productive debate is based upon facts and reasonable hypotheses, not simple gainsaying (think Monty Python's Argument Clinic) or petty insults. In these discussions with Curt, I returned to my underlying theme about health care, which is that I feel that it is our moral obligation as a country to provide for all of our citizens.

Obama Clinton hug I realized that as long as we have that dichotomy in our country, there will be no resolution and no real agreement between those who supported insurance reform and those who opposed it. For the opposition, it will always be about cost/timing/entitlement, and in the case of the crazy opposition, it will always be about socialism/death panels/handouts. For supporters, it will continue to be about compassion/logic/cost savings.

Isn’t that a great picture of Secretary Clinton giving President Obama a hug after the bill passed? It must have been so gratifying for her to see it passed after she tried to get it done twenty years ago.

A common argument is that everyone can get health care here, they just have to go to the emergency room. I'm going to say it flat out, right now: that is a retarded argument, and stop using it. Just stop it. ER costs are outrageous, and when you've got people going to the ER for non-emergency situations like sore throats and minor infections, or for complications from treatable conditions that they aren't seeing a doctor for regularly, it drives the cost up for everyone. Everyone. See what I'm saying? It causes insurance to be higher for all of us when people are relying on emergency rooms for general health care. If I hear anyone use that argument again, I'm going to issue a well-deserved smackdown, and it won't be pretty, because I'm getting sick of hearing that ridiculous argument. Fair warning.

It all comes down to that moral obligation, at least for me. For those who would deny coverage to all, I wonder how you would feel if you had loved ones with a serious condition who couldn't get coverage. I wonder if you would help them with their medical bills? How would you feel if you lost your job and your health care coverage, and then found out that one of your kids had leukemia? It happens to people all the time, and I suppose it's easy to sit back and say "We can't do's too expensive" when it's someone else's loved one. Maybe if it were yours, you might feel differently. For all those Republican legislators who opposed, to a person, the bill, but maintain that they care about everyone, they really question is if you cared about us all so damn much, why the fuck didn't YOU do anything when you had the majority? You cared but just didn't care quite enough, I guess. Maybe you need to shut up and stop being sore losers, quit talking about repeal, and for crissake, stop talking about Armageddon. Seriously.

Friday, April 2, 2010

A sunshine day

Jim and Beth Today was a beauty, eh? (I'm channeling my inner Bob and Doug.) It hit 82° here and it was wonderful and sunny! I headed across town to meet my pal Jim for lunch, and we had a great time talking and getting caught up on things, and was fun. (I didn't take a picture today. This is from our lab days, obviously.)

I actually had to apologize to him, because I felt like as soon as I sat down, I started gabbing away. It had been a while since we'd talked, and it felt really good to just be a Chatty Cathy. He said, "No problem, it's what we're here for!" Oh, and this was odd...the first thing he said to me was about being so sorry about my Dad. And just as he was saying that, the song "Me and Bobby McGee" came on the music feed. I don't recall if I've mentioned this here, but that was one of Dad's favorite songs (the Janis Joplin version), and my niece made a slideshow with that music as the background. I know it's a common song, but it was just kind of neat that it started playing when Jim was offering me his condolences. I see nothing magical or eerie about it, it was just coincidence...but it was a cool coincidence!

We spent a good two and a half hours talking about things, and it was a welcome change from the past couple of days (which I told you had been kind of rough). Add to that a record-high day when it came to the temperature, and it all felt pretty good. (A couple of pints of yummy beer also felt pretty good.)

When I drove home, I rolled down the windows and played surf music, including the theme from "Hawaii Five-O." haha After driving through town, with plenty of stoplights, I hit the highway and let my car loose! No, I didn't speed excessively, but it just felt good to accelerate and drive a little aggressively. I got my ya-ya's out today, and I really did need that.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


Sadness It's been a while since I wrote, I know. I kept thinking that I needed to write something, but just haven't had it in me. (Thanks to those who inquired after me and said they missed me. I appreciate that, I really do.) I had intended to write a joyous entry about passing the health care bill (there may still be one about that); or one about the death threats and epithets being hurled in Washington; or maybe about the Hutaree nutarees arrested in my neck of the woods. I may be down, but I'm still paying attention to politics, and it's actually taken my mind off of the sadness tsunami.

That's not working tonight, so maybe it's time to write some of this out. I'm mostly doing okay, and many times things feel pretty much like normal, but today was a matter of helping Mom go through some of Dad's papers and stuff. First off, it hurt my heart to see my Mom trying to cope with all of these things. She's really doing pretty well, but admitted that it's toughest in the evenings. That's when her and Dad would sit and eat dinner, then watch something on TV, talk about things...the thought of Mom sitting there missing Dad so much is almost more than I can bear. But she is bearing it, so I need to, too.

A couple of things really got to me today, though. When my family went to Washington, DC for the WWII Memorial dedication, my sisters and I got him a little flag pin for his lapel. It wasn't horribly expensive, but it was pretty nice, with little diamond, ruby, and sapphire chips. My sisters were down at Mom's the other day, and they put our names in a hat to see who would get the pin, and it was me. Mom gave it to me today and told me that he really loved that pin, and was so proud of it...always pinned it to his lapel when they went to church or any other place where he wore a suit coat.

Then as I was going through one of Dad's briefcases (he had four, for some reason), I found his nametag from his National Guard days—just a black rectangle with his last name on it. I saw that for so many years on his uniform, always perfectly squared, and I don't think I'd seen it since he retired some thirty years ago.

What really got to me was related to his nametag. I was in the basement, copying a few things, shredding a few others. I noticed his shoe-shine kit sitting there, a wooden box with the slanted foot rest on top. I opened it, and there were the various containers of Kiwi black polish, the brushes and the cloths. The smell of polish wafted up from the box, and I remembered all the times I went down to the basement, where Dad's office was, and talked to him while he polished his shoes, or used Brasso to polish his belt buckles. I was always close to Dad, and even though we had our conflicts (Mostly about music! But Dad, you were so right about Johnny Cash, and I'm so glad I learned to appreciate him the way you did.), we genuinely enjoyed talking to each other. Sometimes I'd smear the polish on his Guard shoes, and hand them to him to polish with the brush and then the cloth. And we'd talk. It's no surprise that when I was 6 or 7 years old, all I wanted for Christmas was a G.I. Joe. I got other presents, but Joe was my favorite.

It struck me that sometimes scents can be as powerful a trigger as sights or sounds. You don't think of an aroma having as much power as the others, but believe me, when I opened that kit, it was as visceral a memory as anything else. It also pleased me to know that although Dad was long retired, he still took pride in having well-shined shoes. He really did always look "spiffy!"

So it was a tough afternoon and evening. But a little while ago, I got an email from my sister Sue, and she said she'd talked to Mom this evening. She said Mom sounded really positive, even somewhat excited, about sorting through some of this stuff and getting a handle on the financial stuff. She is off to the Armory tomorrow to work on getting the military pension and insurance in order, and I know they will take good care of her. I wouldn't be at all surprised if some of them recognize Dad's name, either from the Guard or from our large family in that town. I was feeling pretty miserable earlier on, but I believe I worked my way through it, with a little help from my friends. Thank you, and you know who you are. :)

Marvin the Martian Oh, and just so you know that feisty Beth is alive and well, I'd like to say that some recent Anonymous comments (now deleted) on the entry I made about my Dad's funeral were not appreciated. They were catty, bitchy, and apparently designed to do nothing more than stir up trouble, like life is some kind of fucking soap opera. I tracked the asshole down, and with the help of a friend, they were confronted and vanquished. I have no idea what this person's problem was, other than being a lunatic bitch, or what she was trying to accomplish, but yeah...really classy to write shit like that on an entry about my Dad's funeral. If she happens to visit here again, a couple of caveats for her: IP addresses don't lie, and Anonymous comments have been permanently disabled here. If you want to harass me, you're going to have to take the time to create at least a bogus profile in order to do so. But keep in mind the first item, and I'll reiterate: IP addresses don't lie. And if I ever happen to run into you, you might have a few dozen pounds on me, but what I lack in size I make up for in sheer fury, and I've got a tongue like a whip. I will make you cry. I guarantee.

There. I feel better. >:]