Sunday, July 4, 2010

We Mutually Pledge to Each Other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our Sacred Honor

Is it just me or does anyone else feel like a certain faux political party has hijacked Thomas Jefferson?

Everywhere I turn I see Jefferson quotes that have been twisted and taken grossly out of context.

Soooo, in an effort to provide a community service to those who have not taken the time to read, much less comprehend, the Declaration of Independence, I thought today of all days would be a good day for a refresher.


The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

Happy Independence Day,

Tuesday, June 15, 2010



These last few months, since we spoke last, there has been a lot on my mind. My plate. My heart.

The dictionary defines transition as "movement, passage, or change from one position, state, stage, subject, concept, etc., to another." In a general sense this is where I've been.


In the last few months, my husband and I both began new jobs. My son became a teenager. My daughter entered therapy for a very real, physical breathing problem that turned out to have a very real, psychological cause.

My husband is learning what is like to work with people who are as exceptional as he is. It is good.

My son is learning what freedom tastes like. It is good.

My daughter is learning what it is like to decide for herself what her truth is. It is good.

And me?

I have been afforded a rare and precious opportunity to create a business, a future, and a legacy from scratch. An opportunity to create a professional life that is aligned perfectly with who I am. I am learning what it is like to own, really own, my choices. It is good.

After an almost three year absence, in the midst of what conventional wisdom says is one of the toughest times to be a mortgage loan officer, I have returned to the mortgage business.

With a determined intentionality.

Everyday I intend to do business, refer business, and close business with honesty and integrity.

Everyday I intend to care for my clients with sincerity and transparency.

Everyday I intend to conduct my business the way I conduct my personal life - by putting my clients' best interests in front of my own.

Woodrow Wilson once said, "We are not here to merely make a living. We are here to enrich the world, and we impoverish ourselves if we forget this errand. "

I'm going to walk this talk and see where it takes me. I'm confident it will be somewhere good.


Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I Am Part of Something Larger Than Myself

And I could not be prouder. My fervent hope is that I am setting an example for my children that nothing is impossible.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Most Dangerous Woman In America

Are you kidding? Sarah Palin is annoying, not dangerous. I'm talking about Liz (I channel McCarthy) Cheney and her sick and twisted friends from Keep America Safe. If you've not been paying attention, you should be. Apparently, Liz and her friends believe the right to an attorney should be reserved for those they deem worthy. And woe be to those young, idealistic, passionate, pro bono lawyers who may disagree.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Marc Thiessen
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Reform

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Today Is A Day of Promises

Optimist Creed
by Christian D. Larson

I Promise Myself

To be so strong that nothing can disturb my peace of mind.
To talk health, happiness, and prosperity to every person I meet.
To make all my friends feel that there is something worthwhile in them.
To look at the sunny side of everything and make my optimism come true.
To think only of the best, to work only for the best
and to expect only the best.
To be just as enthusiastic about the success of
others as I am about my own.
To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the
greater achievments of the future.
To wear a cheerful expression at all times and give a smile
to every living creature I meet.
To give so much time to improving myself that I
have no time to criticize others.
To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear,
and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.
To think well of myself and to proclaim this fact to the world,
not in loud word, but in great deeds.
To live in the faith that the whole world is on my side,
so long as I am true to the best that is in me.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Bye Bye Bayh

I want to be angry at Senator Evan Bayh for announcing his retirement.

I really, really want to be irritated out of my mind that another Democrat is leaving the Senate.

I really, really, really want to be self righteously indignant that Bayh is "abandoning" the good fight.


I can't.

I just can't muster up anything except understanding.

Here's the deal. I like Evan Bayh. When he speaks, I believe what he is saying. I find him to be a thoughtful, intelligent, and genuine guy. I kind of even identify with him. True, he's much more moderate in his political philosophy than I, but there is something about him that I get.

Can you imagine what a skull drag it must be to have to go work everyday and know that the singular goal of forty percent of your coworkers is to stop anything positive you may try to do for your constituents?

Listen up, right wingers (if any of you are thoughtful and interested enough to even be reading) and more importantly, independents - WHEN A MODERATE, REASONABLE, AND QUALIFIED SENATOR, SUCH AS EVAN BAYH, IS FORCED FROM THE SENATE BECAUSE OF OBSTRUCTIONIST PARTISANS WE HAVE A PROBLEM.

A big one.

And if any of you think that giving the Republicans more control, instead of less, is going to help, let me be clear.

You're wrong.


Wake up. Who do you think created the mess we're in? It wasn't a left wing socialist. Or a moderate like Evan Bayh.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Day is Not Just for Lovers

Families are complicated. Mine is no exception.

I lost track of my sister and she of me around 2000, right after my daughter was born.

I'm still not sure how it happened. A day turned into a week. A week into a month. Months became years.

She built a life as a professional musician.

I built a life in Stepford.

I caught glimpses of her every now and then. Jay Leno, Scrubs, the VMA's, Rolling Stone. My daughter's face.

I once turned on the radio while driving to daycare and heard her being interviewed. Her voice was so familiar, but I couldn't find the girl I knew in her words. It was at this moment I began to fear I had lost her forever.

I felt as if a glacier of misunderstanding had filled the physical and emotional space between us.

Funny thing about glaciers. They are always moving, you just can't see it.

First, there was a concert where we had about ten minutes together. There were pictures taken and as I drove home I thought "at least if I never see her again, I have tonight and I have pictures of her and my daughter. I can be okay with this small thing."

A year later, there was another concert. We had a little more time and I felt a crack in the ice. I felt the glacier beginning to thaw.

I wrote a story about that night. Through my writing I hoped I could convey everything that I had been unable to say during the years.

And somehow, we began again. Emails back and forth, she began to read my blog, she began one of her own. On her birthday we slammed back more than a few martinis. We laughed. And talked. Just two friends hanging on lower Greenville Avenue.


I was fortunate to see my sister perform yesterday afternoon. This is one of a few pictures I posted on Facebook. A very gifted, professional photographer who is a friend of my sister tagged this photo with "love".

My sister and I are so different. We have chosen different paths. Our lives intervene to make a quick cup of coffee a major undertaking.


We share a history.

And we are family.

I love you, A. Have a wonderful time and safe travels down under.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Just When You Think You Know Everything

editor's note: This post is a shout out to my girls from Wenatchee. Thanks for teaching me something new.

"You are so 1980's," says a friend of mine after I confess my undying love for Jon Bon Jovi.

He intended the comment as a slam, but 1) how can you not love Jon Bon Jovi? and 2) this is the same guy who had just minutes earlier told me "I always smile when I talk" and I can only remember seeing him smile like once. Ever. And he wasn't talking at the time.

Needless to say, I didn't pay him much mind.


He is right. The 1980's shaped a lot of things about me. During this one short decade a lot happened in my world. First kiss and first broken heart. I learned to drive and got my first new car. Graduated high school, left for college, and lost my virginity (not necessarily in that order). I learned to drink, how to do laundry, and that not everyone in the world is a Republican. I voted for the first time, got married, and got my first job. On New Year's Eve 1989, sushi became my favorite food. I would still eat it everyday if I could afford to do so.

The 1980's was a decade when I was positive I knew way more than I actually did.

The 1990's took care of that character flaw.

And now, it is 2010. Unbelievable. I know intellectually that I am not in my twenties or even my thirties any longer. It's just that I don't feel any different than I did when I was twenty-five. I know a lot more things. But, I still view myself as young.

This is not a vanity thing either. Although I wouldn't mind having my twenty-one year old tits and ass back, I honestly feel more attractive now than I ever did when I was younger. Perhaps it is a confidence thing, but more likely I think it is that I have grown more comfortable in my own skin. I like myself more and have figured out what makes me happy.

One of the things that really keeps me balanced is having an open mind. I like to learn new things. I'm determined to not turn into an old person who is afraid of new experiences. Whatever the post web 2.0 world has in store, I'm ready. I'm positive science is going to provide a way for me to live to be one hundred twenty. When we land on Mars, I'll be watching. When we discover we are not alone in the universe and the gene responsible for homosexuality, I want to be there.

You get it - I may tip toe carefully into the future, but I'm usually ready to embrace whatever it holds.

Or so I thought.

Earlier this week I was perusing Facebook when I saw an unusual status update from one of my Facebook friends. Unusual in the sense that I had no freaking idea what it meant. I have a pretty damned good vocabulary and I have been known to actually read a medical text book for fun. So when I saw

placental encapsulation

as a Facebook status, it caught my attention.

I was aware that this friend was pregnant so my first thought was "oh no, I hope that is not serious."

Then someone commented "Are you going to do it?"

"Do it?" That made no sense. I started dissecting the status in my head. Placental meant placenta. No mystery there. Encapsulation could mean that the placenta was some how confined, but that didn't help me decipher the "do it" comment.

Then someone commented with this link and said something like "I'm your friend that freaks your other friends out." Somewhere in the back of my mind a thought of which I wanted no part was beginning to form. Just as I was debating about whether or not I really wanted to click the link someone posted the following:

SNL killed a skit years ago in the '70's... it was called, placenta helper.. (think hamburger helper...)

And just like that, the thought I had been trying to suppress was fully formed and there was no going back.


I'm fairly certain that if I could have seen my face at this moment it would have looked eerily similar to my own mother's face when I told her I was going to breast feed and that my husband was going to be in the delivery room.

Had I turned into my mother? Was I now so old and out of touch that all the hip, progressive, young mom's were eating their own placentas and I was totally clueless? Oh lord... and am I not going to live to be one hundred twenty because no one told me I was supposed to eat mine? Is it not bad enough that I didn't have the option to store my children's cord blood? I mean, really. If only that had become available two or three years earlier. But, noooooo. As I sat there wondering, cute young faces were commenting with things like "that is so flipping cool" and "that rocks".

I was feeling pretty damned unprogressive.

I checked my gmail chat box. A young, pregnant friend who I have known for seven years was online. I im'd her with "OMG." She replied with "what up?" I typed, "placental encapsulation". She said, "It's okay. I'll send you an article."

Good god, even she knows about it. I wanted to ask if she was eating hers, but didn't really want to know.

The article she sent was awesome. It was written by a writer I have long admired, which only made my dilemma worse. The article totally took the gross out factor out of ingesting one's own placenta, made it hysterically funny, and it was written by The Joel Stein. And yes, his wife ate hers.

I guess it is inevitable. No matter how hard you fight it, the torch does eventually get passed from you to the next generation. It's just that I feel so damned cheated. What I wouldn't give to be able to tell my mom that I was intending to not only hire a postpartum dula (which I did), but that she would be serving my placenta for dinner.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Healthcare For All: Part II

This is a story about a child I love as if he were my own. Before this child was born, I had not thought it possible to love another's child with the same intensity and affection that I lavish upon my own children. But, it is true. This child has a place in my heart that previous to his birth had been reserved exclusively for my own children.

This blonde haired child with a double crown is my nephew. His father is my younger brother.

When my nephew was fourteen months old, my brother lost his job. With my brother's job, went his family's health insurance. My brother was a mere twenty-eight years old, college educated, and a hard worker. He was a home owner and a good husband. He was a good employee and a wonderful and loving father. My brother, like most fathers, loved his family and worked hard to provide for them. And thankfully, his small family was healthy.

After losing his job, my brother did not sit idle and feel sorry for himself. He hustled, worked his contacts, and quickly landed another job.

A better job.

A job with a three month waiting period for access to health insurance benefits.

He could not afford COBRA and not long before my brother's new health insurance took effect, his fair headed baby boy fell ill.

My young sister-in-law took my nephew to the pediatrician. The pediatrician, who knew there was no insurance to cover my nephew's care, was sure that the fever, pink eye, and irritability would pass. He sent my sister-in-law and my nephew home with medication and treatment instructions. Before leaving the office, my sister-in-law paid her bill in full.

My nephew did not get better.

His symptoms of fever, pink eye, and irritability worsened. The palms of my nephew's hands and feet looked as if they had red welts on them. He refused to walk or even stand. Whenever he was forced to put weight on his legs he would scream as if he were in excruciating pain.

My sister-in-law took my nephew back to the pediatrician. The pediatrician mentioned that my nephew could have something called Kawasaki Disease, but that the treatment was extremely expensive. He recommended waiting a few more days to see if my nephew improved.

My mother called me in a panic. I dismissed her panic. After all, a common cold can induce a panic attack in her.

I called my brother to find out what was really going on.

I googled "Kawasaki Disease".

After pushing my own panic to the back of my mind, I called my husband who was on a church retreat with a friend of ours who is a doctor. The doctor said, "If this were my child, I would take him directly to Children's Medical Center."

I called my brother back. I asked him to please put my nephew in the car and meet me at the hospital emergency room. It was late. Neither my brother or my sister-in-law had had much sleep the previous week. It was a two hour drive to the hospital. It was January, it was thirty-six degrees, and it was raining.

They wanted to wait until the next morning.

I hesitantly agreed.

The next morning, I awoke to the phone ringing. It was my brother saying they were on their way to the hospital. My nephew was worse and they couldn't get their doctor on the phone because it was a Sunday morning. I dressed, made arrangements for my own children and met them at the hospital.

If my nephew had been referred to the hospital by his pediatrician, he would have gone directly to admitting. He would have been admitted to the hospital, accessed, and any needed treatment would have then been administered.

Instead, my nephew was forced to go through the regular emergency room. With hundreds and hundreds of other uninsured children.

We arrived at the hospital at 10AM on a Sunday morning.

My nephew's name was finally called at 9PM.

He was seen by a doctor at 10:30 PM.

He was very sick. He was a baby. He was forced to wait in a hospital emergency room for twelve and a half hours with hundreds of other sick children. And a lot of healthy ones as well. I learned on this day that when a single mom brings one of her uninsured children to the emergency room, she usually has to bring all her other children with her as well.

It was crowed. It smelled. There were crying, hungry, sleeping and dazed children everywhere. So many children, in fact, that the children and their families spilled out of the waiting room and into the hallway. We sat and rested and slept wherever we could. A rare open chair, a bench, the floor. I sat and held a baby I loved on the floor of a hospital when I could stand no more. No one seemed to have enough food, or diapers, or children's Tylenol, or patience.

Or money.

And I was in Dallas, Texas at the world renowned Children's Medical Center. I wasn't in a third world country or even a city that had fallen on hard times. I was in Dallas. There is always money in Dallas. And I was as close to hell as I ever wish to come.

Once the doctor saw my nephew, things moved at lightening speed. She quickly determined he had Kawasaki Disease and that our time was running out for treatment. The gamma globulin IV therapy is most effective in preventing coronary artery damage if it is administered within ten days of the presentation of symptoms.

We were on day nine.

And I'll believe until the day I die that if my nephew had been insured he would have received the gamma globulin therapy many days sooner. And that he would have received it without the trauma of a twelve and a half hour wait in the emergency room.

I also believe Children's Medical Center saved my nephew's life. And I will be thankful to them for the rest of my life.


By the time my nephew left the hospital more than a week later, the bill for his care was in excess of thirty five thousand dollars. How many young families do you know who can take on that kind of debt over night?

The billing office offered to cut this bill in half if my brother would commit to paying $600 per month toward the bill. He couldn't afford to do it. Every month he pays $100 toward the bill. With no interest it will take my brother thirty years to pay off this debt.

Thirty years.

My brother is a politically conservative guy. We have many healthy political debates. But on this point we agree. Health care reform is needed and it is needed now. A lack of insurance could have cost my nephew his life.

So I ask you again, since when it is it right to take a pass on doing what is right because it is hard?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Healthcare for All

I have been working on this health care post for over a year. Yep. You read that right. A YEAR.

I've had a more difficult time with this post than anything I've ever tried to write. I have thought a lot about why this post has been so difficult and it boils down to two very basic things. Health care is complicated and it is personal. And for me, it is personally complicated.

For the next few paragraphs, let us put all the rhetoric about a "government takeover" of health care aside. Let us, just for the few minutes it takes to read this post, release our fears of having the "government decide if I receive health care". Let us set the uber complicated policy aside and let us just examine, in a practical and personal way what my experience with our health care system has been.

The vast majority of Americans that have health insurance receive their coverage through a plan that is administered through their place of employment. Or, as in my case, the place of employment of their spouse. We are the only developed nation on the planet with this system.

This system, for the most part, has worked well for me, my husband, and my children. Early in my marriage, before I had children, my husband and I each carried insurance on ourselves through our own employers. The cost to us during this time was very small. And, because we were young and healthy, we used very few of our plans' resources. All was right in my naive, healthy and young little world.

I gave birth to my son a few days after I turned thirty. Before my maternity leave was up, I decided I wanted to leave my job at Hewlett Packard (yeah I know, I wish I could have that decision to make over again) and stay home full time with my son. I went back to work full time for a few months, until we were able to arrange our finances to live off just one income. With that being accomplished, I quit my job and my son and I rolled onto my husband's health care plan. And the health insurance that I had been able to access, at an affordable rate, for the last nine years, terminated the day I left Hewlett Packard.

Three months after my husband became the sole provider for our young family and his employer became the sole provider of our health insurance, my husband fell ill. His symptoms of double vision and dizziness were baffling and frightening. He visited several doctors, completed a few rounds of antibiotics for a suspected sinus infection, and finally ended up in his opthamologist's office for a check up. Just as he was being sent out of the office with a clean bill of eye health, he experienced an episode of his mysterious symptoms while he was in the presence of the doctor. The doctor immediately sent him across the street to the hospital for an MRI. After the MRI, he was sent to a neurologist to discuss the results of what was going on inside his brain.

He had Multiple Sclerosis.

He was thirty-two.

He had a non-working wife.

A baby.

A job, a mortgage, and a car payment.

He was going to have Multiple Sclerosis for the rest of his life.

There is no cure.

The treatment is very expensive. Without insurance, his oral medication is $150 per month. His injectible medication is $1400 per month.

$18,600 per year to fight off a disease that has the potential to rob my husband of his eye sight, his mobility, and his livelihood. Which also means that MS has the ability to rob him and our family of our health insurance.

My husband began treatment shortly after his diagnosis and two years later he was doing so well that we felt confident enough to add our daughter to our family.

Sixteen days before my daughter turned one, my husband's company shut it's doors. On the last day of the month. This meant that as of midnight on that day we had no health insurance.

COBRA coverage for our family was $1200 per month. My husband's unemployment benefits were $330 per week. Basic math tells you those numbers don't add up very well.

We were very fortunate. My husband found a new job within three weeks and with it, health insurance. However, it was during these three weeks that I realized that my exit from the work force had actually put my family at real financial risk.

Two years later, I went back to work. And I breathed a small sigh of relief. At least with us both working we would have a safety net not only for income, but also for insurance if one of us were to ever lose our job again.

Two weeks ago I had the privilege of experiencing what it is like to lose a job. I'm not alone. Over ten percent of Americans that are still looking for work are unemployed. Some statistics put the real unemployment rate somewhere in the neighborhood of seventeen percent.

I can tell you from my recent experience that unless you have an employment contract (and who does?) your employer has all the power in the employer/employee relationship. And that usually includes the power over whether or not you have health insurance. And not just you. This means your spouse and your children as well.

My husband and I are college educated. We are bright. We work hard. We have a strong work ethic. My husband has an MBA and almost twenty two years of work experience. And if he lost his job tomorrow, his health insurance would go with it.

I support health care reform, a public option, and even a Medicare for All system. I'm not a socialist. I'm not looking for the government to take care of me. I don't want or need a free ride.

I do want every citizen in my nation to have access to affordable, quality health care. I believe health care is a human right - not a privilege available to the wealthy or those lucky enough to currently have a job.

I know the policy is difficult. I know the path ahead is fraught with emotion and fear. I know it will be expensive.

But I ask you, American to American, since when is it okay to take a pass on doing what is right because it is hard?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

We Now Return You To Your Regularly Scheduled Programming

I have had one of the most dizzying weeks of my life.

Seldom have I experienced such a wide spectrum of emotions in such a short period of time.






I've lived enough to know life can be this way. Life can simultaneously offer up a main dish of the wonderful with a side of crap. I just usually see it coming before I take a big 'ole bite.

I know I've left many of you wondering "what the hell?"

Let me share with you the life lessons of which I've been reminded in the last ten days. Perhaps it will provide the needed clarification.

Nine year old girls can do great things, know a great deal about fair play, and often have more character than grown ups.

Twelve year old boys can teach you more about not sweating the small stuff and finding joy in small things than any book I've ever read.

People can look you square in the eye and lie.

I will almost always believe them.

You can wake up in the morning employed and be unemployed before lunch.

I have the ability to be so angry that it makes me physically ill.

I also have the ability to use that same anger to propel me forward in a way I had not previously thought possible.

There are still people in the world who will take a chance on you, even when they have every reason in the world to not do so.

Blood really is thicker than water.

After twenty-one and a half years of marriage, my husband still has the capacity to show me extraordinary kindness and mercy when I need it most.

In short, upon my return last week from my daughter's first national soccer tournament, I had an unexpected change in employment status. And that, is about all I ever want to say about that.

What I do want to add about the last few days is this... the kindness and understanding of the Internet has amazed me once again. This blog has often offered me a place of refuge, comfort, and community.

And it did so once again.

I love you all and will never have enough words to tell you how much.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Song for Yertle

Karma cuts both ways.

And the turtles, of course… all the turtles are free. As turtles and, maybe, all creatures should be

I'm a plain little turtle whose name is just Mack.

However, I've decided I've taken enough.

And I have.

I may be a plain little turtle, but I'm more than a little bit mad.

As a plain little turtle I may only be able to do plain little things.

But this little turtle is about to shake the throne of a king.

I love me some Dr. Suess. It is required reading at my house. And not just the well known Cat In The Hat or Green Eggs and Ham, but the ENTIRE Dr. Suess library. My personal favorites are (in no particular order) The Lorax, The Sneetches, Oh, the Places You Will Go!, and the masterful Yertle the Turtle.

It has recently come to my attention that some of my readers are unfamiliar with Yertle the Turtle. This is an oversight that most assuredly must be corrected post haste.

My children can recite passages from this book with ease. My fervent hope is that when they are grown this ability will not leave them. I pray they take the lesson of Yertle and Mack with them into adulthood and apply its lessons daily. If they do, they and those with which they interact will be all the better for it.

by Dr. Suess

On the far-away island of Sala-ma-Sond,
Yertle the Turtle was king of the pond.
A nice little pond. It was clean. It was neat.
The water was warm. There was plenty to eat.
The turtles had everything turtles might need.
And they were all happy. Quite happy indeed.

They were… until Yertle, the king of them all,
Decided the kingdom he ruled was too small.
“I’m ruler”, said Yertle, “of all that I see.
But I don’t see enough. That’s the trouble with me.
With this stone for a throne, I look down on my pond
But I cannot look down on the places beyond.
This throne that I sit on is too, too low down.
It ought to be higher!” he said with a frown.
“If I could sit high, how much greater I’d be!
What a king! I’d be ruler of all that I see!”

So Yertle the Turtle King, lifted his hand
And Yertle, the Turtle King, gave a command.
He ordered nine turtles to swim to his stone
And, using these turtles, he built a new throne.
He made each turtle stand on another one’s back
And he piled them all up in a nine-turtle stack.
And then Yertle climbed up. He sat down on the pile.
What a wonderful view! He could see ‘most a mile!

“All mine!” Yertle cried. “Oh, the things I now rule!
I’m the king of a cow! And I’m the king of a mule!
I’m the king of a house! And, what’s more, beyond that
I’m the king of a blueberry bush and a cat!
I’m Yertle the Turtle! Oh, marvelous me!
For I am the ruler of all that I see!”

And all through the morning, he sat up there high
Saying over and over, “A great king am I!”
Until ‘long about noon. Then he heard a faint sigh.
“What’s that?” snapped the king,and he looked down the stack.
And he saw, at the bottom, a turtle named Mack.
Just a part of his throne. And this plain little turtle
Looked up and he said, “Beg your pardon, King Yertle.
I’ve pains in my back and my shoulders and knees.
How long must we stand here, Your Majesty, please?”

“SILENCE!” the King of the Turtles barked back.
“I’m king, and you’re only a turtle named Mack.”

“You stay in your place while I sit here and rule.
I’m the king of a cow! And I’m the king of a mule!
I’m the king of a house! And a bush! And a cat!
But that isn’t all. I’ll do better than that!
My throne shall be higher!” his royal voice thundered,
“So pile up more turtles! I want ’bout two hundred!”

“Turtles! More turtles!” he bellowed and brayed.
And the turtles ‘way down in the pond were afraid.
They trembled. They shook. But they came. They obeyed.
From all over the pond, they came swimming by dozens.
Whole families of turtles, with uncles and cousins.
And all of them stepped on the head of poor Mack.
One after another, they climbed up the stack.

Then Yertle the Turtle was perched up so high,
He could see forty miles from his throne in the sky!
“Hooray!” shouted Yertle. “I’m the king of the trees!
I’m king of the birds! And I’m king of the bees!
I’m king of the butterflies! King of the air!
Ah, me! What a throne! What a wonderful chair!
I’m Yertle the Turtle! Oh, marvelous me!
For I am the ruler of all that I see!”

Then again, from below, in the great heavy stack,
Came a groan from that plain little turtle named Mack.
“Your Majesty, please… I don’t like to complain,
But down here below, we are feeling great pain.
I know, up on top you are seeing great sights,
But down here at the bottom we, too, should have rights.
We turtles can’t stand it. Our shells will all crack!
Besides, we need food. We are starving!” groaned Mack.

“You hush up your mouth!” howled the mighty King Yertle.
“You’ve no right to talk to the world’s highest turtle.
I rule from the clouds! Over land! Over sea!
There’s nothing, no, NOTHING, that’s higher than me!”

But, while he was shouting, he saw with surprise
That the moon of the evening was starting to rise
Up over his head in the darkening skies.
“What’s THAT?” snorted Yertle. “Say, what IS that thing
That dares to be higher than Yertle the King?
I shall not allow it! I’ll go higher still!
I’ll build my throne higher! I can and I will!
I’ll call some more turtles. I’ll stack ‘em to heaven!
I need ’bout five thousand, six hundred and seven!”

But, as Yertle, the Turtle King, lifted his hand
And started to order and give the command,
That plain little turtle below in the stack,
That plain little turtle whose name was just Mack,
Decided he’d taken enough. And he had.
And that plain little lad got a bit mad.
And that plain little Mack did a plain little thing.
He burped!
And his burp shook the throne of the king!

And Yertle the Turtle, the king of the trees,
The king of the air and the birds and the bees,
The king of a house and a cow and a mule…
Well, that was the end of the Turtle King’s rule!
For Yertle, the King of all Sala-ma-Sond,
Fell off his high throne and fell Plunk! in the pond!

And today the great Yertle, that Marvelous he,
Is King of the Mud. That is all he can see.
And the turtles, of course… all the turtles are free
As turtles and, maybe, all creatures should be.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

If You Don't Jump, You Will Get Pushed

I am a slow and steady wins the race kind of girl. The pedestrian tortoise to the speed of the hare. I like sure things. Vegas is not my thang. I wrote for the web for a year and a half before I had the courage to create my own blog. I often avoid things I know I will love for fear that I may fail.

I consider everyone else's feelings in a decision before I consider my own. I tip toe into the future rather than charge full speed ahead. I hate making mistakes and I've developed a personality that minimizes risk.

I almost always know in my heart of hearts what is the right next step for me long before I ever find the courage to take the first step toward it.

Hello, Karma.

Fancy seeing you here. On the edge of the next big chapter in my life. You know well by now how I feel about you. I love love love you when you're busy biting the ass of someone who I think deserves it. I'm not such a big fan of you when I'm standing on the edge of a cliff - double, triple, quadruple checking my safety gear - when you decide that this is the exact moment to give me one of your affectionate shoves. Don't you know how high up we are? I'm afraid of heights, damn you.

Could we at least, just once, give a whisper, a note, or a billboard a try? Hell, I'll even go out for coffee if you'd like. I promise I will even do the listening instead of the talking.

Stop laughing.

What do you mean you always try those things first? Funny I never seem to notice.

Okay, so what's the plan here? Since I didn't have the parachute fully packed and ready to go it looks like I'm going to have to fly. And quick. Swiftly, without a plan. Without looking down.

I'm going to have to do it afraid.

Here I go.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Political MMQ

It has been a rich week on the political front. Some weeks are just like this. Some weeks the irony almost leaves me speechless.

(I said, "almost.")

Let us review.

Rush Limbaugh is out of the hospital after being admitted for chest pain. After leaving the hospital where the cause of his chest pain was never determined (I'd like to suggest it might be caused by listening to his own radio show - I know listening to him on the radio occasionally causes me some chest pain) Rush had some amazing insight to share with us. He said, "The treatment I received here was the best that the world has to offer. Based on what happened to me here, I don't think there's one thing wrong with the American health care system."

What a freaking relief. I can't articulate how happy I am that a fat cat millionaire with a Cadillac insurance plan has the ability to buy the best health care in the world. Because I mean, shit... if the millionaires aren't getting the best health care in the world, what chance do the rest of us have?

My favorite gal pal, fellow writer and politico, (not to mention master linguist), Sarah Palin has inked herself a deal with Fox News. I admit I am a bit confused about how exactly Sarah is going to fit in with the fair and balanced news network. I mean, after all, nothing says "fair and balanced" like hiring the girl who makes the news to also report the news. No word yet on whether or not she'll refer to herself in the third person when doing a story on herself. You know, kind of like watching Elmo do journalism. The upside? I'm sure she'll no longer have to worry about those "gotcha" interview questions since she'll be interviewing herself.

The challenge to California's Proposition 8 in Federal Court began yesterday. This is the first step in determining if same sex couples have the Constitutional right to marry. I had looked forward to viewing the court proceedings on YouTube. However, the anti gay marriage camp has temporarily blocked the video postings by arguing that putting the proceedings on YouTube would lead to witness intimidation. A victory for persecuted straight people everywhere. I'm sure Carrie Prejean, that symbol of pious, siliconed, mega-church, evangelical, opposite marriage is very relieved. You know, just in case she's called as an expert witness.

Liz Cheney was back on the Sunday morning talk shows this week promoting her new organization, Keep America Safe. No word yet on whether or not the organization's mission includes locking Dick's shotgun away. She did indicate that the Christmas Day bombing attempt was a direct result of the United States dropping it's torture program. I'm not sure exactly how torture failed to prevent the attempted shoe bomber on her Daddy's watch, but I'm sure I'm just missing a fundamental distinction. You know, kind of like the one she misses between what is morally right and wrong.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

New Year's Wedding

So, you've been wondering where the hell I've been, eh?

Portland, Oregon.

My best friend from college was married on New Year's Day and I was honored to be a bridesmaid - even at my age.

(Shut up. Is it really so hard to believe there is someone on the planet who has tolerated me for almost twenty-five years? Never mind. Don't answer that.)

I don't travel much and I don't particularly enjoy it. I like the being there part, but I could really live without the traveling part.

(I'd like to take this opportunity to personally thank the dickhead who tried to blow up an aircraft on Christmas Day. This made my trip to Portland less than a week later uber pleasant. Thanks to you, Richard Reid, and those liquid bomber wannabes, I had my hairspray and toothpaste confiscated by the friendly TSA. Thankfully, my Philosophy Hope In a Tube eye cream was .3 ounces below the per container limit for fluids allowed in a carry-on bag. Otherwise, we would have had a very serious security issue on our hands as I reached across the table and poked the eyes out of my friendly TSA agent's skull. Seventy-five bucks a tube is not something from which I'm willing to allow radicalized terrorists to separate me.)


On the morning of New Year's Eve, my nine year old daughter and I made it through security and onto to our plane without being put on a watch list. After an hour and a half of sitting on the plane while said plane was still at gate C9, we were finally in the air. I even resisted the urge to add one (or two) of those cute little vodka bottles to my orange juice. The same cannot be said for the two gentlemen who were sitting directly behind my daughter and me.

Just as we were flying over Denver, one of the men behind me had consumed enough vodka to ask me if I thought we were over Nebraska.


I had decided this was the lamest line I had ever heard from a man until his friend opened his mouth with "Are you Argentinian by any chance?"


And then the grand finale of "I'm a professional photographer and my friend would like a picture of you to create a sketch from later. Could I take your picture?"

(Yeah Dude, like that's going to happen.)

My daughter whispered, "Mom, those men are being really nice to you. I think it is because your hair looks so pretty today."

My hair was looking good that day and when my daughter so accurately pointed this out, I softened up just a bit about the men. I mean, after all, men are suckers for good hair. And I have good hair. And lips. I like to think my hair and lips compensate for the size of my ass and for what gravity and children have done to my boobs.

So, with good hair and fully glossed lips balancing a fat ass and saggy boobs, my daughter and I arrived in Portland.

We immediately hit the nail salon around the corner from our fabulous hotel. We left with my nails a very wedding appropriate french and with my daughter's a beautiful and dress matching glittery red.

The next morning we were scheduled for hair. When the Bride emailed me a couple of months ago asking if I were interested in having my hair done on the day of the wedding, my exact response was "Yes. I don't want to be the only Bridesmaid with bug fuck ugly hair in your wedding photographs. And go ahead and put the kid down for hair as well. There is no way I'll be able to get away with a beauty treatment without including her."

And so my hair lot was cast.

Just as my daughter and I arrived for our hair appointments, the Bride was finishing up and preparing to leave to get her make up professionally done. When I saw her hair, I was stunned. It was gorgeous. The Bride's hair is difficult to work with due to it's fine texture and medium length. The hairdresser had worked some amazing magic. Somehow her hair was curly and was loosely pulled back into a messy, yet elegant, bun at the nape of her neck. Gorgeous, I tell you. Gorgeous.

I was almost giddy thinking about what he was going to do to my hair. I was going to look amazing.

The hairdresser did my daughter's hair first. He did a darling little hard part on the side with a thin braid that twisted around her head and met up with a thicker braid in the back. He then took both braids and wound them into the cutest bun on the nape of my daughter's neck.

She was giddy when she saw herself.

I could not wait to see what he had in store for me.

I climbed into the chair and said these fateful words - "I trust you. Just make me look like Angelina Jolie."

I did not describe to him what I imagined that he would do to my hair. I just let him have his way with me and my locks.

If he thought leaving the majority of my hair down was a good idea, I envisioned something like this.

Elegant, looks good from the back when walking down the aisle, and totally something my hair is capable of pulling off when placed in the right hands.

If he thought an up do was more appropriate, this is what I envisioned.

Sexy and I appreciate the softness the long, loose pieces lend to this look. Again, my hair has this in it.

If he wanted something much more formal, this was what I had in mind.

Not really my style and I'm sure my head would have hurt horribly by the end of the evening, but still a beautiful choice for a wedding.


There must be something about me that just screams Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Perhaps I somehow let it slip that my secret fantasy is to be Warren Jeff's sixty-first wife, because when I looked into the mirror after my hair was finished, I was one widow's peak short of looking like the woman in the center of this photo.

Or one gingham dress short of being indistinguishable from this line up.

Truthfully, this is the best approximation of what I looked like - sans the Book of Mormon and unibrow, of course.

The Bride and the rest of the Bridesmaids were appropriately horrified. They collectively worked on my hair prior to the photos, but honestly, despite my best efforts I was indeed the only Bridesmaid in the wedding with bug fuck ugly hair.

I'm so looking forward to seeing how fabulously one of the best photographers in Portland documented my hair. I'm sure its going to be a hoot.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

STEPFORD STORIES © 2008. Template by Dicas Blogger.