How’s Your Health?

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November is known as the time for employers to furnish their employees with the next year’s health insurance and other benefits plans. It comes and goes at a fast pace. We are often caught unawares, and it’s something we have to do proactively every year.

My suggestion as we come upon the first of November is to take a health inventory. This would include what services and insurance benefits you used this past year, and what you expect to use next year so you can choose the best plan for you and your family without rushing around in the twenty-four hours of the very last day.

Take your health inventory.

Are you due for a tetanus shot? Any other missing vaccinations? Flu shot?

Have you had your yearly physical?

Is it time for a pap smear or mammogram? Prostate screening?

Colonoscopy?

How are your eyes? Do your glasses need updating? Do you need glasses?

How’s your hearing? I just got hearing aids, and I’m still adjusting to them. It’s not like going from deaf to hearing, but it is quite an adjustment to the new sounds that I’m noticing – the rattles in the car, the water and heat through the pipes in my house, the tapping of the keyboard I’m using right now. (I honestly can’t believe how loud it is!)

Take a medication inventory.

Are all of your medications up to date? Are they still working the way they’re supposed to? It may be time to change some dosages.

How’s your weight? Mine could do with some losing and increasing some exercise. On her TV talk show, Rosie O’Donnell used to say, “Eat less, move more.” Simple and yet really good advice that anyone can succeed at. Keep a food and exercise log. It’s not to guilt you into doing the right thing, but it’s good to see how far you advance from where you had started.

How’s your blood pressure?

Another simple, healthy choice is less salt and sugar. Less is more. Can’t go wrong with that. Smoke less, or stop completely. Drink in moderation.

Laugh. And sing. It’s good for your heart. And your head.

Take a mental health inventory/check-up.

Any depression? Anxiety? If yes, mention it to your doctor. Don’t put it off and let it sneak up on you.

Keep in contact with your doctor, and your health care administrator at work. Look at all of the available plans and compare them to what you have now. It’s not always better to take the cheapest plan, and by the same token it’s not always better to take the more expensive plan. Know your needs, and choose based on that.

Are you eligible for the Affordable Care Act? Medicare? Medicaid?
Here’s to a happy and healthy 2019!

October – Fall into Halloween – Quotation

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I had wanted to share some quotations from murdered journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, but I couldn’t choose. So please visit The Washington Post and read what he’s written including his last column, published posthumously. 

Also, if you’re so inclined, please support the Committee to Protect Journalists.

“Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life, define yourself.”

-Harvey Fierstein

Moon Shot

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​In 1995 when we moved into our second apartment the moon always found its way to my pillow. It was most prominent in the winter, but it always managed to be there sometime through the nights of the full or nearly full moon.

The window faced northwest and because we were on the second floor we hadn’t put up curtains and the windows were always kept open.

I’d wake up in the middle of the night and feel the moonlight shining. I’d open my eyes and stare. I’d reach my hand out until it bathed in the light reaching out to me from space.

We’ve been in our house for twelve years. Our bedroom window still has no curtains, but it is smaller, about half the size or less of that first window. It faces southeast.

I can sometimes see the moon, but it doesn’t shine as prominently on this side. I try to reach out to it, but it is far away, almost never shining on my bedcover.

When it does, I reach out and touch the light. It is a rare occurence.

This photo was taken just a few weeks ago. I woke up and I was a bit shocked at how clear the moon looked. How bright it shone the through the window, touching my face. I squinted.

I knew the picture wouldn’t come out, but I took it anyway.

It was a memory.

It was a held hand.

It didn’t actually come out that badly.

My light. Moon light.

October – Fall into Halloween – Reflection

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​I mentioned in my initial blurb earlier in the month that October is my favorite month. The leaves are changing colors, the pumpkins are in full force in the neighborhood, the kids are talking about their costumes, I’m preparing my own costume, my son’s birthday is happening, we go applepicking, there is usually a one day retreat, comic store activities, the return of The Walking Dead, my parish’s anointing mass, the Living Rosary, and a host of other motivations and inspirations for writing and centering.

This year, however…

Ugh.

It is 15 days before the midterm elections. Most years I vote, but I don’t pay that much attention. I trusted President Obama and even President Bush, who I did not vote for, to keep the country steady. I trusted Congress, even in its usual disfunction to keep a check and a balance on the President, although the Republican Congress during the Obama years went a little crazy on the obstructionism. I trusted the Supreme Court to follow the law. Even Scalia, who I didn’t like and disagreed with on almost everything, had a moral compass.

But this year….Good Lord. The hyperbole is strong – this may be our last free and fair election. Vote now, you may not get another chance. This is the most important election of our lifetimes.

And you know what?

It is all of those things.

In early 2017, I re-read 1984, and i was kind of amazed at how much of it I had forgotten, and also amazed, and petrified at how much of it seemed to be coming true with the new Trump Administration. I hesitate to call it a Republican administration, but the Republicans in  Congress seem to have forgotten their function in favor of…I don’t know what it’s in favor of.

So, yeah, long story short, tl;dr, yell, scream, run, don’t walk to your nearest polling place, and VOTE!

We also were not able to go applepicking this year. This is the first year since we’ve had kids that we haven’t gone. Even when my son was nine days old, we still went applepicking. I’m so torn about this.

My oldest child is moving out.

I know; it’s time. He’s ready. I’m not, but I probably would never be, but he’s ready. He also has two jobs, a car, and has been feeding himself for mostly a year now. He’s ready. I need to keep telling myself that.

I was late to my doctor’s appointment this  morning, and I would have only been less than five minutes late. Except for the speeding ticket. I can’t even.

I was going to go as a Hufflepuff professor for Halloween. I just needed a witch’s hat, and then Jamal Khashoggi was brutally assassinated in Istanbul. In 2016, I went as a journalist because of all the attacks on the media by the Trump campaign. Back then, I had no idea how bad it would get for the journalists and their colleagues. I would have never expected any President of the United States calling our free press an enemy of the people. I even less expected that after the murder of a US Permanent Resident, writer for the Washington Post, that any President would take the side of the murderers and make excuses akin to covering up that murder. So I’m recycling my journalist costume, both in honor of the free press and in memory of Jamal Khashoggi.

Let me try and think of three positive things before I go.

My brother may come for a visit for a few days. The kids are excited and it would be nice to see him. We’ll have to come up with something interesting to do. We’re a boring group, but I think we can fake it. We’ll need to start cleaning now. Like right now.

I’m planning on doing Nanowrimo this year. I loved how last year it gave me focus and motivation. I need that again, and am very much looking forward to it. It begins in ten days!

I got hearing aids this week. I’m still getting used to them. Some things are a little too loud, but the amount of times I say “what” and cup my hand over my ear has gone down by about 99%, so that’s a bonus. I’ve noticed a real difference in church, hearing the kids talking to me from the backseat of the car, talking to a waiter or waitress in a restaurant, and I’m more disturbed by the rattling that I can now hear my car making.