A brief collage of my December adventures!
A brief collage of my December adventures!
The last two years have been clouded with so many political things, and the next two will also have much more to come, but I am grateful for the outcome of the election, the blue wave, and the thoughts that maybe we can work our way back to where the country not only should be, but where the majority of the country wants it to be. I’ve been inspired by so many new faces and listening to many intelligent voices on my new passion of podcasts that I feel cautiously optimistic that we can get through this time.
While I haven’t written that much for Nanowrimo, I have still done a lot of writing for my space here, reading my good morning journal as often as necessary, and have some other ideas and writings plotted out in the bare bones.
I went on a beautiful retreat for Thanksgiving reflection and am looking forward to another on Mary the day after my birthday.
I am grateful to be hearing better than I have in a few years. The number of times that I say “what” have gone down exponentially thanks to a pair of hearing aids. I’ve also gotten a lot of medical things taken care of with more to come in the coming weeks, including at a ridiculous early time tomorrow. I am still seeing my therapist and trying to use all the tools in my basket; my mental health is definitely stable and good. My kids are healthy and happy in school, and we have a home, heat, and food and with the snow starting early that is indeed appreciated. Whatever else we may want, our needs are well taken care of.
Looking forward to Thursday with our family and thinking about the family not there, whether too far away or no longer and especially that whether together or apart, we are still a we.
Wishing you many blessings at this holiday season, and grateful that you are all in my life.
Prompt: Childhood Illnesses
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?
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!
To be honest, I’ve never been a huge fan of Jimmy Kimmel. He’s funny and he tells intelligent jokes. He’s good at political humor, and satire. He can also be biting. I think it was a chance watching of one of his early works on Comedy Central: The Man Show. It was…not my cup of tea to put it mildly.
However, last week and the weeks previous back to when he talked about the birth of his baby son, Billy had me catching up with his monologue, at least on YouTube.
People, politicians mostly, got upset with him for moving out of his lane, comedy, forgetting that before he was a comedian he was a person. And as any parent knows, or should know, once you have kids, your parenthood comes first.
He spoke what was on his mind, made his priorities known, and most people agreed with him.
Then, they came for him.
And he did not crawl away, hurt, insulted, fearful of what his ratings might turn to, but he came back stronger, and he came back stronger because he had the truth on his side.
He spoke the truth.
He let his heart sit on his sleeve, and talked about what his family was going through, and reminded the hypocritical politicians that his isn’t the only family going through this scary time. They’re not even the only family with health insurance, but there are many more who don’t have adequate health insurance or any health insurance at all.
In fact, if you follow the news, you’ll have read, between the President’s golf game and berating the hard-working Mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Congress ignored a key deadline and failed to reauthorize the CHIP, the children’s health care plan that has helped millions of children. Today, they wake up with no health insurance. What are they supposed to do?
No, Jimmy Kimmel isn’t an expert on health care, but he is an expert on what health insurance and health care provides for his family; for his children, andhe has every right in the world to speak about it, and if that shames Congress, well, they should be ashamed.
Here are some links to the CHP information in addition to more information about Jimmy Kimmel.
Jimmy Kimmel is just a person, just as we all are. There is something we can all do, but first we have to stand up.
Sunday will be the sixth anniversary of my friend’s death. She was murdered by her ex while simply living her own life, washing a tea kettle out when he came up behind her and ended her life. For all of us who are touched by domestic violence and abuse, we ask if there was something we could have done, something we should have been aware of. I participated in my own share of victim blaming until I saw the larger picture of having your finances and only home tied up with someone who is threatening.
I think we all like to believe the best of people, and if we’re wrong, we just pick up and walk away. Everyone has friends they can rely on, but how true is that really? Can a mom, the mom who seems to have all the problems, is never on time, offering flimsy excuses with the two kids, both in diapers – can she crash on your sofa or spare room indefinitely? Are you friends with her domestic partner? Who will you believe?
Domestic violence can happen to anyone, and it takes on a variety of forms. Some, though not many, don’t realize they’re abusive; it’s the way they were raised, and they think it’s “normal” to slap your wife and kids or grab her or slam doors and drink a little too much. Others seem like the perfect couple, family, etc, and no one knows what’s going on inside someone else’s home?
For B, my friend, when she had nowhere to live, she arranged to live in her house. Her house, that she paid for, contributed to the down payment of, was responsible on the deed for, but also on the property where her ex lived. I thought that was crazy. However, what else could she do?
He threatened her, but people say things they don’t mean all the time.
Why didn’t she call the police? Well, she did, several times. In fact, the police paid a visit to their house the night before she was murdered. They didn’t believe there was a problem; not a real one. Don’t set him off, though.
I didn’t understand.
Now, in Congress, in the House of Representatives yesterday, a bill was passed that will now go on to the Senate to be voted on. If it passes the Senate, I have no doubt that President Trump will sign it. He signs whatever he’s told to.
This new bill, that might become a law, which by the way also exempts members of Congress from its new rules and changes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as well as affecting private insurance and employer insurance along with Medicaid and Medicare, defines pre-existing conditions in horrific ways and will affect someone you know.
They say that pre-exisiting conditions will be covered, but that depends on the state you’re in, and legal access to health care doesn’t mean that everyone will have it or be able to afford it.
For example, four of the pre-existing conditions mentioned specifically are: domestic violence, sexual assault, c-section, and post-partum depression. What do these four things have in common? In addition to being completely and arbitrarily unpredictable and randomly occuring, they also only happen to women. The first two – domestic violence and sexual assault – are perpetuated by men onto women, but as is the case in many instances, women pay the brunt of the violence against them.
This is one of the most blatant and disgusting and obvious moments of victim-blaming.
They’re looking at getting rid of well visits and preventative care, maternity leave, and pre-natal care as well.
In today’s Congress, had my friend survived her gunshot to the head she would be blamed for it as a victim of domestic violence. It would be considered a pre-existing condition and not covered under the Republican’s repeal and regress health care plan.
They’ve had eight years to come up with something, and they’ve failed. However, they continue to punish women for their failure.
Do not let this Republican controlled Congress and White House continue to abuse women and their families.
If you or someone you know are in danger or in a domestic abuse relationship or situation, contact the The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. They can help you and find resources for you wherever you are.
If you or someone you know are an LGBT+ youth and in an abusive situation, contact The Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386. They can put you in touch with someone who can help you.
You are not alone.
This was my fourth or fifth anointing mass. Our church holds these twice a year. it is a lovely mass with music and inspiration and no matter what the ailment – whether physical or mental, whether relief is granted, there is always some form of healing whether it be spiritually, in our hearts, or simply through the camaraderie of joining with so many others for a beautiful morning and then socially at lunch.
The tables are always set beautifully with a seasonal centerpiece, or rather smaller items across the table that we take home at the end. There are also inspirational cards to remind us of our anointing and also of G-d’s presence in our lives, supporting or comforting us and more.
At my first anointing mass, in my priest’s homily, he mentioned Julian Of Norwich and her saying: All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.
This reminded me of myself. Whatever huge thing is happening, my response is always, it will be okay. I don’t always believe it outwardly, but it centers me into striving for it. There are always worse things. I will get through this. For a long time I had forgotten this, but that first anointing mass, at the time I called it a healing mass, was exactly what I’d needed, and it gave me something to carry with me as well as someone to look into.
After returning home yesterday, and after an hour and a half last week with Brother Mickey McGrath, I was inspired to draw.
The first photo is what we received at the luncheon, and the second is my art that I created last night.
Unless we ski, snowshoe, or take winter hikes, we tend to hibernate through the season. We rush from our house to our car to work and back again bundled up, heat on high. We layer up and avoid the outside as best we can. However our feelings about the cold and snow, the outdoors are actually very healthy for us, even those of us who are not particularly outdoorsy.
With our windows closed keeping us sealed in and cooped up, we’re more susceptible to colds and lingering infections and just feeling yicky and not ourselves. One way to combat that stale air and the winter doldrums is to get outside every day. We don’t often think of that as a solution, but the fresh air is a real pick me up.
I know. It goes against every fiber of my being too. The cold. The snow. The wind. But fifteen minutes every day has a way of rejuvenating our systems.
For kids, it gets their energy focused in the snow instead of on your living room sofa.
Bring out the shovels and the Nerf guns.
By the time winter recess comes along, at least in the northeast, we’re about ready for a mid-winter thaw. The air is a little warmer – forties instead of twenties, the sun is bright.
Take a walk.
Have a snowball fight.
Run and jump.
Make snow angels.
And then when you come inside, have a steaming cup of hot chocolate with marshmallows.
It takes just a little time, a little effort, and no money. Not to mention that it will help to keep the family healthy and ready to go back to school at the end of recess.
Today is the 43rd anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision. That’s the decision that maintains a woman’s right to choose; to do with her body as she feels; It gives her privacy. It gives her autonomy. Many people herald it as a pro-abortion decision, but any of us who have contemplated abortion know that it is not. We know that no one, NO ONE, is pro-abortion.
Read about abortions before this landmark decision for some perspective.
As a country, we’re okay with the death penalty, even in cases where the convicted party is mentally disturbed – not the Charles Manson crazy, but developmental disabilities like Down’s Syndrome and mental ages that are well below their chronological age.
As a country, we’re okay with war; perpetual war since 2011.
As a country, we’re okay with torture.
We’re okay with domestic violence and victim-blaming where women are involved. Where men are involved, we reduce them to women.
We can’t even pass a VAWA that includes ALL women.
What is going on here?
I read something recently from someone who I respect, who is pro-life, who is a good-hearted, loving, peaceful person describing abortion (in some instances) as a convenience. Women don’t want to be inconvenienced. I strongly take issue with that way of thinking; that stereotype. Women who have abortions because of economic reasons are not doing it as a convenience. These women, for the most part are living in poverty. They have children and are often single parents. There is no universal child care option for them to get steady work or they work several jobs for part time hours. They are living in abusive situations that they can’t escape because they have no control over their own money and/or bodies.
Women would choose to avoid pregnancy rather than terminate it, but increasingly this option (birth control) is being taken away because corporations are people, too, my friend. The owner of Hobby Lobby is against contraception for religious reasons and chooses to force his employees to follow his religious beliefs instead of allowing them the freedom to follow their own religion.
The sooner the people in this country realize and accept that this country was founded on the principle of not only freedom of religion, the freedom to practice individual religions by individual people as well as, and in addition to the freedom to be free of religion entirely, the sooner these arguments will be null and void. We need to stop inflicting our beliefs on others. This country was founded on our differences; we should embrace them.
When my church does their prayer of the faithful, they almost always include a prayer for life, from conception to natural death. Very rarely, but sometimes, they reference abortion directly, and my mind invariably wanders and prays for the women; that they continue to have the freedom of choice; that they have the support, the autonomy, the health care and the reproductive rights that they should have in a free society.
We should be supporting women who choose abortions instead of terrorizing them.
The most recent act of terrorism in Colorado Springs that targeted the Planned Parenthood there killed a woman, not having an abortion, but supporting her friend, a man on his cell phone on the street, and a policeman/security personnel. This is horrible, and the fact that many of us hand-wave it away as collateral damage is more than a little disturbing.
The sooner we get back to our basics of bodily autonomy and religious freedom, the sooner we can move on as a country to more important things – stopping our military involvement, the quagmire, eliminating the gender gap in pay and rights, giving Americans the right to have access to health care that is actually healthy and affordable.
Women, when left to their own devices will make the right choices and the right choice is whatever they feel is right for them, not what you feel is right for them.
In all matters.
My church has a twice yearly Anointing Mass for anointing the sick. It is also called a Healing Mass. Everyone is welcome whether for a physical or a mental ailment. Many of the neighboring nursing homes and assisted living centers bring in their residents for this special mass. This was my third one. I go for both my depression and my knee pain.
Obviously this is for people of the Catholic faith, but belief or not I still think it is a wonderful experience of community and sharing our joy which halves our pain*. Seating is every other pew so the priests can move through to anoint and offer the Eucharist.
There is music and singing; there are prayers and scripture reading. It’s a Mass so it includes the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist.
The Mass is followed by lunch. I usually attend alone, so it’s always a surprise who I will be sitting with. So many people go to so much trouble, cooking, setting everything up, decorating. There are prayer cards and a favor to take home. One of the volunteers makes them. They are so thoughtful and creative; it makes me want to go home and create something.
In yesterday’s writing, I mentioned having an object to help with meditation and contemplation. Today we were given a small medal with a cutout of a cross. I have been given this week’s object, I see.
I encourage you to look up today’s readings. They are always a link from the past history to our daily lives. One of the things I enjoy about going to Mass so often (usually four times a week) is that despite the words being thousands of years old, they still speak to me. I relate to them on a regular, almost daily, basis.
First Reading: Lamentations 3:17-23
Second Reading: James 5:13-16
Gospel: Mark 7:31-37
One of my favorite of her quotations struck me when I first heard it. Ironically, when I am in a pessimistic mood, I will still often say that everything will work out; it will be okay.
“All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well”
is so close to my own sentiment that I did a double take the first time I heard it, which was appropriately at my first healing mass.
[Borrowed and paraphrased with permission from Dumbledore’s Army and the Year of Darkness.]