Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Our Broken Electoral Process

I don't watch the news anymore.  For starters, it really infuriates me that journalism is no longer unbiased.  That's probably the main reason.  It's not only biased but not even honest.  

Between the dismal world economy and the horrendous leadership of our country; the blatant hostility between every different type of social, economic, religious or ethnic group that can get in front of a camera why would anyone want to see the news?

Then of course there's the election circus.  It's the worst of all reality television.  While most want to blame the reality showman himself, Trump; the sad truth is that he isn't the worst behaved in the program.   He actually get's the game and is playing those who don't quite understand how to play it well.  He makes subtle, somewhat leading remarks and allows the "real housewives" of the group to do all the reacting and scene making for him.  I'm not defending him; I'm just saying he's better at it than a lot of them and he often makes them look worse than he does.  He drops a hint and they make the scene.   

However, this weeks' ridiculousness he wasn't even a party to.  Cruz' foot in the dung move; announcing to the Twitterverse that Carson was quitting the race and his followers would be wasting their votes so they should vote for him.  This prompted a just, but explosive reaction by Carson, calling Cruz out on his unethical behavior.  Cruz shrugs it off with a half-hearted apology.  Carson is playing "Dirty Deeds" as his new campaign music.  Cruz, the self-boasting, religious good guy is claiming victory that he obtained how??   Through a blatantly, dishonest, unethical move breaking about 3 commandments in the process.  In any other circumstance he would have been disqualified for such actions.  But not running for the most important office in the country.  Nice job.  

Yet we wonder why other countries in the world despise us?  We give them trash television as an example of American life and then demonstrate no better in our politics. 

Let's look further into our electoral process.  There are more registered Independents than either Republicans or Democrats in the country.  However, ONLY Republicans or Democrats are allowed to vote in the primaries to chose the candidates for election, a Republican or a Democrat.  Independents are excluded from voting in primaries. Does this seem right?

Then, our election is ultimately decided by electoral college, not the general election results.  The electoral college again will be decided by the Republican or Democratic basis; not the majority of Independent citizens voting individually in this election.  

The system is broken.  It no longer represents the public.  The Republican and Democratic party systems do not accurately represent our country and the electoral college system does not work.  The parties are entities that serve itself and disregard the people.  It has been proven in the past several election that results have been skewed and inaccurate.  

The system needs to be thrown out as it is and we need to resort to a popular vote in both primaries and general elections.  Every single citizen's vote needs to be counted and the actual totals be tallied.  No more flipping coins for incomplete results.  (As in the how the Iowa Democratic caucus was ultimately decided for six regions this week.)  No more back room deals for swaying electoral college swaying.  

We need a system with something like thumbprint only identification, individual ONE vote per U. S. citizen; TOTAL results.  Everyone counts, Republican, Democrat, Independent, Scooby Gang, whatever.  

And people that pull underhanded crappy stunts against fellow candidates, or treason against our country, or payoffs, or any other unethical campaign or other practices are disqualified!  

If you'd kick them out of the student council, you kick them out of the Presidential run.



Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Here We Go Again

Wow a whole year has passed.  Here I am once again post-op.  This time it was been a gastro procedure.  Far less invasive but my autoimmune flares along with a persistent infection are making it more challenging as usual.  I'll get over it but I'm under the weather again at the moment.

Challenging is probably the one word I would give 2015.  While it wasn't a bad year in general, it had its hurdles.  The biggest hurdle is that I still have not shaken this persistent flare I've been experiencing for about a year and a half now.  

Aside from that, there has been plenty of triumphs.  Overall, while it may have been not as progressive a year as I had hoped; it was still progressive.  As long as the net result seems to be progression I consider it success.  

There is more settling in the house and more of the rooms are furnished.  I actually am down to only one room with things left that need to be sorted through; and still furnished; which is leaps ahead of where I was before.  Half the house has window coverings and there's enough beds and sofas to have all the kids come visit now.  

I've gotten my most pressing health issues addressed so there isn't anything at this point left neglected that I'm tempting fate with.  From here on its keeping up, trying to make improvements where possible, and getting things checked that are recommended AS they are recommended.

Many of this year's goals are carry overs from last year; or extensions from things begun last year. I'm happy, excited, and optimistic.  I only hope I can get my body to be a bit more cooperative.

I have a new approach with guidance from my GP and Gastro that I'm optimistic may be a important change to my health.  Eat healthier and boot some of those poisons; etc...  I won't go into it at this time.  We will see how it works out.  

Now if I can just find a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow; everything will be wonderful.  

Oh and I vow to be back sooner than Jan 2017!  

Happy New Year 2016!


Thursday, January 1, 2015

My Big Health Scare and Procrastination

You've heard it a million times.  Get your regular check ups, screenings, etc.  You can't look at a news source without there being a story about someone's health tragedy.  Yet despite that, we all still tend to delay, defer and procrastinate on those things; and time slips away until we don't realize how long its really been since we've put them off.  

Since I have a lot of health conditions, I have to have regular medical tests and doctor visits.  Various urgent situations arise; I constantly have to prioritize what gets addressed and what get's put off as far as medical issues.  I simply cannot afford to get to everything, so I address the most pressing issues and try to stay on top of the costs associated with them.  Despite insurance, it doesn't pay for everything and my portion adds up quickly.  

The story goes; I had some abdominal pain that my doctors were trying to figure out.  I was sent to get ultrasounds on my liver and kidneys.  Went to the gastro doctor.  Nothing seemed to explain the pain.  Finally my doctor said to go see the Gyno and check out the "bladder sling" to make sure it was still good.  I had that surgery almost 8 years ago.  

I hadn't been to the Gyno in a lot of years.  I knew I had been post-op from the "sling" surgery, but that was about the last time.  That was one of the things I kept putting off.  Since I'd had a hysterectomy, and the reconstructive surgery; I had gotten everything checked out and then just deferred things again due to other priorities.  All I had left was ovaries that were going to stop functioning any day and the Mammogram I knew I was overdue that I kept telling myself I would get soon.  

Never underestimate what can come back to bite you.  The mesh was fine.  The doctor decided to get an ultrasound of the ovaries as a precaution.  Or perhaps she suspected something, I'm not sure.  It discovered "a mass" on an ovary.  Then came a CT scan.  It determined definitely a mass, which is medical speak for they aren't sure what it is, that had at least one ovary enveloped and possibly both because they couldn't see the other one either.  Cancer blood test came back in the negative range but I wasn't entirely out of the woods until they took it out and did pathology on the growth itself.  By the way, this mass was "the size of a grapefruit".  No wonder I had this tender abdomen.  It wasn't some little lump.  

It was about two months before I was able to get surgery scheduled.  Mostly, that was because it took two surgeons and they were hard to get scheduled together.  They were able to do it laparoscopically; but it took work.  The growth was attached to everything around it.  They took both ovaries and fallopian tubes out with it but they also had to detach it from the peritoneal wall, bowel, bladder, intestine, etc.  It definitely took some work and skill for a laparoscopic surgery.  It was fortunate they didn't have to do an abdominal incision.  It may have been easier for them if they had, but harder on me to recover; so it was nice they worked so hard to avoid it.  

About five days later I got the news that it was all benign.  From the reaction of my doctor, she was very relieved.  She obviously was more concerned than she had let on.  I had sort of an idea when she told me several times about referring me to an oncologist after surgery; and getting it out of there was the most important thing.  I really think she expected it to be malignant.  

My rheumatologist also had commented repeatedly on getting the large tumor out and about it thankfully being benign.  Twice before surgery she had said my first priority was to get it out.  

There were inflammatory cells; that my body was "attacking" it; so that was probably draining on me.  Maybe once I bounce back I'll feel somewhat better.  

Of course I'm having to deal with instant menopause and trying HRTs to compensate.  So far the worst of it has been a couple nighttime hot flashes.  I haven't felt too emotional.  Just a bit.  I'm not entirely sure the emotion wasn't just normal things anyway.  This all did happen in December after all; in combination with a car accident, Christmas, etc.  A bit of emotion is sort of the least anyone would succumb to under the circumstances.  

So the morale of this story is that skipping the annual checkup for seven years could have bit me a lot worse than it did.  I was so very fortunate it wasn't fatal.  I think I learned my lesson.  Even if I still have to manage the checkups for financial reasons, a year vs. seven years is a big difference.  No extra bill is worth my life.  


Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year's Eve and Resolution Time

Every New Year's Eve I sit at home and say next year I am going to go out and join the festivities.  I have lived in Northern Nevada 14 years now and never seen the fireworks in Reno; which are supposed to be one of the most elaborate in the country on New Year's.  Lake Tahoe also has fireworks and various other places around have assorted festivities which I always seem to avoid.  Staying home nice and comfortable and cozy just seems preferable to getting all dressed up and venturing out into the cold.  I am almost always battling some form of cold or flu and being out in the bitter cold night air just is not preferable to my cozy blankets and silly programming on television.  

Once again its time to review the old Resolutions and consider the goals for 2015.  I actually have some serious ones this year that are more than the usual "lose weight and exercise" ones everyone pencils in with only moderate conviction.  This year they are more serious as the doctor has ordered some serious dieting due to some medical tests that came back and triggered a need for me to alter my diet.  The exercise part goes along with it and I have a goal to get back on the snow skis this year if at all possible.  It may be the bunny runs; but it will be a success if I get back on them at all.  

Since I am finally in a house permanently and won't be subject to any more moving around I have a lot of goals that are centered around things that need done around the house.  So the list of to-do's for the house is sizable and as most know, never-ending.  It is going to be fun to have these little projects to do.  

Also since I won't be packing and unpacking again as I have been every year for the last half dozen I will have more time for visiting the kids and maybe some other friends and relatives.  I got the motorcycle all fixed up this year and once I resolve the car issue; (it is in a tow yard post-accident right now) maybe I will find some fun things to go take part in.  Perhaps I will get to some things on the bucket list.

As has been for the last several years there are the writing goals.  I still have the completed book that sits, waiting for me to find someone to publish it.  I have the sequel, barely begun.  I have other writings in limbo.  I have blogs sorely neglected.  The list sits glaring at me with its finger wagging that I need to pay more attention and get things moving.

So there it is.  My New Year's at home, cozy and warm with my television reruns and silly movies.  My Resolutions with old and new general goals.  Very optimistic and hopeful expectations for 2015.  Happy New Year to all.



Thursday, November 13, 2014

Holidays Fly By

The holidays are approaching again.  The time for family.  The time for giving.  The time for reflection.  The end of a year.  A new year begins.  

If you are religious; of course depending on what religious; there are numerous celebrations.  If you are Christian, its celebrating the birth of Jesus.  I won't pretend to know all the other religious celebrations off the top of my head.

Of course when I was a kid Christmas was mostly about what I was going to get.  I went to Catholic school, so there was a lot of activity at church as well.  The church was always done up so beautifully with the Nativity scene and Christmas decorations.  Usually there were Christmas pageants and the choir to sing at midnight mass.

As a parent I got excited about spending Christmas Eve wrapping all the kids' presents after they went to bed until nearly dawn and watch them open them Christmas morning.  Seeing them be excited about getting most of what they wanted on their list.  Watching them perform in Christmas shows, etc.  

Now its mostly about the rare opportunity for the kids to all get together.  It's the one time of year they work at all getting off from work to be together.  They have a great time together and the laughter is pretty constant.  I love this time with all of them together.  Now that there is a grand-baby we all dote on her and spoil her as much as we can.  This is what Christmas is all about now.  Watching her open gifts is the fun stuff now.  Especially this year when she is old enough to be more cognizant of what they are.

I cherish these rare times they all get together.  I imagine there may come a time where they are unable to all make Christmas so I am very thankful for the ones we still have while we can.  Life goes by so fast.  It doesn't seem so long ago my kids were just little ones on the floor opening their presents like the grandbaby.  






Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Losing Children

Three years ago I took my daughter on a school Scuba Diving trip.  She and her dive partner had a great time.  They were the last ones back in the boat when the group realized two of the teenagers were missing.

The Dive Masters went back into the water and the search lasted two and a half agonizing hours.  I was waiting at the dock for them to return.  We finally knew two boys were missing after they were about two hours late returning.  The Dive Master from the chartered boat finally found their bodies at the bottom of the ocean. The coast guard acquired them after they were brought up to the kids' boat.  It had a huge impact on everyone involved; as well as the family, friends, and neighbors of our rather small city.  The boys were football players at the city’s only high school.  My own daughters knew these boys since second grade.  In a small town all the kids know each other whether they are close friends or not, they know who each other is.  There wasn’t anyone in the city that was unaware of the accident and upset by it.  Many people from other cities and states also were shaken.  It even made the news across the country and we got phone calls from relatives in other states from Hawaii, Florida and Massachusetts.
It is so hard to know how to console children suffering from losing their friends.   It was a terrible tragedy and accident.  These things happen.  Teenagers tend to feel invincible and it is a startling experience for them to realize they are not. However, the kids organized several memorial events and for the first time the school administration was very supportive of them.  The kids did very well consoling each other and finding their own way to get closure. 

Days after this accident one of my son’s friends died in a car accident.  The third one he had lost that year.  How do you explain to kids the justification for children dying when you can’t conceive a logical explanation yourself?
I can not even count the number of friends my children have lost over the years.  There have been so many.  My oldest son lost his kindergarten best friend to cancer when they were in first grade.  Such a young child who suffered and died from cancer.  There is no logical explanation or way to really justify the death of a child.  While I know people resign to “God’s Will” it is still difficult to figure out why God would will such a thing.  

I suppose it isn’t our place to challenge God’s Will; but we are a rational, scientific society that has trouble accepting anything without explanations.  We can’t get closure until we have determined some sort of rationalization for it.  When there is none people speculate and try to develop their own.

In the midst of this terrifying tragedy I realized I am very fortunate.  My brother just had died that January and he is the first out of nine of us siblings to die, and he was 51.  All of us have made it to adulthood and had the chance to live before we left this world.  We have around 20 children between us all and all have been healthy and we haven’t lost any yet.  There are even fourth generation children that so far all have been healthy as well.  We are a very large family that has been very fortunate to have had little loss so far.  The youngest death I know of was at the age of forty, when my aunt died in an automobile accident.  Even all of the parents are still alive in their seventies. 
When I see so many children dying and my kids suffering their losses I give thanks.  Sure that sounds strange, but I have to give thanks that I have not been on the other side of the tragedies, the parents of the lost children.  My heart breaks for them and I mourn the loss of them.  It breaks my heart.  At the same time I am grateful I am not experiencing the loss of my own child.

The investigation of the accident never determined a clear understanding of what really happened to the boys.  "Diver error" was the conclusion.  No equipment failure, no foul play, no clear explanation what their error was.  Somehow both boys made a fatal mistake that cost them both their lives.

Our children are our angels.  I can't ever help but think that the children that are taken so soon in life are angels sent to us for some sort of lessons.  Their loss seems to make people reflect and sometimes motivates them to make a positive change in their own lives.  Keeping them in our hearts reminds us to cherish what we have and take stock of what is important. 

Both my daughters are much safer divers because of this tragedy.  The one that was there that day has gone on to get two more diving certifications including CPR and rescue diving.  Hopefully she will never have to use it.  However, it makes me, as mom; much more comfortable that she has the extra training for her own diving.  Since she is studying marine biology she will be diving a lot.  

It still seems like its an unjust way to teach us lessons or give us a wake up call.  I guess that's what it takes; but it is surely brutal. 



Sunday, January 12, 2014

Not That OCD

Today I set out to sort and fill the Christmas ornament containers I purchased last night so that I could determine if I had enough of them and then how many storage containers I needed for the other decorations. It turned out I had a perfect number of containers. I sorted by color and the special ones that were collected annually or other special ornaments all were sorted out. I then pulled down a large blue plastic container marked Christmas to evaluate.  My plan is to get red boxes for all Christmas stuff so they are easy to locate. I had not taken down the Christmas boxes this year because I only put up my small 3 ft tree since we had Christmas at my daughter's house. On the lid of this blue box it is written, in my hand, Christmas 2013.  Uh-oh. 

I hold my breath and open the box. It could have been worse, although I was certain I had done no early shopping and wasn't going to find forgotten gifts.  What I found was what equates to at least as many ornaments as I had already gone through!!  The catch was that these were more delicate, fragile, valuable and some antiques than what I had already packed up.  

I did not already mention I bought all the decoration containers at the store last night.  So I set out to hit the other two stores in the area. Unsuccessfully despite the fact my online search stated one had them in stock. So I decided to avoid going 20+ miles to other stores and risk the same outcome.  I'm not quite that OCD. 

Instead I purchased I hope enough extra red storage boxes and bubble wrap to repack the ornaments carefully within in their current boxes that will get them through this next move and to next Christmas until I get another chance at ornament storage. 

I've also realized I'm going to either need a 6 ft WIDE tree to accommodate all the ornaments I now own or my next house is going to need space for 2 full sizes trees.  Otherwise it may be time to realistically disperse ornaments amongst the five adult kids.  Or at least the three that have their own places to live. Dorm rooms aren't exactly prone to Christmas tree space. 

On the weird note; I came home and rushed around feeling frustrated at how little I managed to finish this weekend. Put the trash out for morning pickup.  Put some groceries away, got ready for bed, let the dogs out and back in.   Then I looked at my phone calendar and made quite a discovery. I still have half a weekend left!!

I could still finish grocery shopping, pack up the rest of the decorations, maybe go through the next group of stuff so I can at least fill the trash can, sew the items my twins left so I can pack them for shipping this week...

We will see how long the back holds out. That's usually the deciding factor. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Wine and Chocolate

What in the world do I mean by Wine and Chocolate? Well, have you ever tried the two together? They are actually very good together. 

 I prefer a very dry red wine like Pinot Noir or Cabernet Sauvignon. I do not care for Merlot which seems to be the house wine of choice for so many bars these days. It isn't the taste as much as for whatever reason it gives me an instant headache. 

I do not indulge in the two together very often; especially wine.  Chocolate is a staple, a life source, an almost daily necessity.  However, health issues and daily medications prevent me from indulging in wine very often.  But they each are some of my favorite things to indulge in. So it is the rare special treat for me. 

Wine is soothing and warm, takes the crazy out of the day. Chocolate is sweet and smooth and puts some happy into your mood.