Sunday, April 26, 2015


I'm having a hard time watching the national network news.... 


This time it's the word, radicalized. 

I was recently in Boston. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was in the sentencing phase of his trial for the Boston bombing. 

As I listened to the news, I couldn't help but notice that the newscasters were talking about Tsarnaev being "radicalized" by his older brother, and perhaps that would impact the penalty phase of his trial. 

When someone is radicalized, it implies passivity. That somehow, over breakfast, someone was talked into something, pressured to hate people, and passively they became a hater. This term has had a major appearance in recent years with regards to ISIS and terrorism. Speaking about radicalization with regards to terrorism implies that the terrorists were somehow persuaded and are ultimately not responsible.

I started to think, this week was also the 20th anniversary of the Oklahoma City Bombing. 

Did anyone ever talk about Timothy McVeigh, the bomber, being "radicalized?" Never.

Why can't we admit that "some people" do "bad things" and they are responsible for those bad things?  

What I learned from 3 days at a homeschool convention booth

I always enjoy people watching... all kinds of people watching. So when I was recently a vendor at a homeschool convention, I had the opportunity to learn some things....

  • I am noise intolerant. This was reinforced to me. There were crying babies everywhere. I'm so glad I wasn't lactating. Whoever sold those "bird callers," I hate you.

  • Ballet slippers (real ones) are not just for dancing.

  • Classification is important... hipsters, mennonites, christian, secular, unschool... most people lead the conversation with, "I am a ... ."

  • If you have more than 6 children, it's a "thing" to wear fluorescent matching t-shirts.

  • Smiling all day kinda hurts.

Friday, February 27, 2015

What I learned traveling out west

Recently I traveled from Columbus, Ohio, to Pasadena, California, with a husband, a big white van, and a load of furniture for two kids starting out their young married life. I learned quite a bit along the way...
empty living room

Don't take any exits off the freeway in St. Louis without prior knowledge of the crime rate.

Each day I checked the weather channel. It was all Boston, all the time. It's almost like Boston's 100 inches of snow was more important than my trip. But we did go from Ohio to California and back without any snow or ice or sleet or hail or rain along the entire trip. That was quite unbelievable. Sorry, Boston!

Apparently, I can get sunburned at the Grand Canyon when it's 27 degrees. And it might just be the only place on earth with 18 mph speed limit signs. I also learned that "Wow" is a universal language.


husband even goofier>

panoramic iphone setting>

I am OCD in a hundred ways, but I didn't make him turn the van around if I missed the "welcome to" or "thank you for visiting" signs. I just used it as a form of exposure therapy.

more of these would have helped>

Rest stops in the West are 100% better than in the South. All of them. And rest stop apps are awesome, but that just could be my age.
Rest Stop in Arizona... not kidding...

I was excited that Illinois had a large print map. Again, that could be my age.

When I told people I was from Ohio, I heard "where's that?" far more than I wanted.

The Oklahoma City Memorial is a MUST VISIT for anyone who remembers that tragic day 20 years ago.

I guess a big white panel van with no windows is suspicious at the California-Arizona-New Mexico border with Mexico. 
Homeland Security + Border Patrol = Unnerving

I can sing the Soundtrack from "Rent" across the entire state of New Mexico and my husband won't leave me behind!

Speaking of the husband, he is a walking trivia fountain of knowledge, including a tidbit about Needles, California. As we are driving through he wants me to know that Snoopy's Cousin Spike lives there.
He knew weather information, rock formations, mountain ranges. He even knew exactly where the Continental Divide sign was going to appear. He knew history, geological time lines, and practically every Indian tribe along the way. I felt like I hadn't even paid attention in school my whole life!

My iPod has 16.7 days of music, and I feel like I listened to almost all of it. I didn't. But I told myself that I did.

I saw animals in the wild that I had never seen before: a golden eagle and a red fox. I wanted to see an armadillo in Amarillo, but it just didn't happen.

I saw baby zoo animals that made me smile... my favorite were twin chimps in the Albuquerque Zoo. So much cuteness!

No matter how far you go, people from home are nearby. Chris and I decided to go up the tram to see the Sandia Mountain in New Mexico. Of the 24 passengers, 8 were from Columbus.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

What happened to the morning news?

Maybe it's just me, but more and more I am frustrated with morning news programs. I really just need to know about weather, traffic, and the top news. I don't need to know about the latest Hollywood happenings. I am tired of hearing about what's trending on Twitter, as if that is a measure of anything relevant. And what's with the Today Show's Orange Room? It seems to be about whatever people are talking about. I don't care what people are talking about. I want to know about things that ordinary uninformed people don't even know enough to care about.

I think one of the more disturbing things that I saw was a story about "don't leave your baby in the hot car." I know that it's summer time. I know that it's hot outside. But every year we hear about dozens of children left in cars... forgotten.

Part of what upset me about this story was, of course, that children were dying at the hands of their own parents. But what the newscasters said next was so crazy. The reporter and newscasters continued the conversation. They were talking amongst themselves about how to help viewers "remember" their children. One newscaster suggested placing the diaper bag in the front seat to remind you that you child is in the back seat. And most offensive yet, one newscaster even suggested that a parent should place his or her cell phone on the back seat of the car because, "No one forgets their phone." And then he threw in for good measure, "it will keep you from texting and driving, too."


Apparently it's common knowledge that no one forgets their phone. But forgetting your child just happens sometimes.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The not so affordable Affordable Care Act

After weeks of anticipation and anxiety, we finally received our health insurance options for next year. And by options, I really mean, limited forced changes that I didn't want. I need to start with a disclaimer that I am not a fan of our current costs and plan. I don't like the high premiums and high deductible. I don't like that ALL of our costs are out-of-pocket until the deductible is met each year. And I don't like that we had about a 30% increase in our premiums last year "in anticipation" of the Affordable Care Act's implementation. 

Lie number 1: 
"At a town hall meeting in New Hampshire on Aug. 11, 2009, President Barack Obama repeated a line he's used many times in describing his health care proposal: 'If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan.' " 
Our family insurance has been moved from a policy that we purchase through the insurance company, to a limited number of options within The Exchange.

Lie number 2:
In this YouTube video from Obama's first presidential campaign, he claims that premiums will go down for the average family. Not true for our family. Our premiums are higher. 

Lie number 3: 
In this speech to the American Medical Association, Obama says that "If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor." Not true for us. We are forced into a PPO, preferred provider organization. The insurance company is not sure at this time which doctors or hospitals are going to be in our provider "network." 

So let's talk about networks for a moment. Did anyone consider the effect on parents with college students? If the only option given to our family in The Exchange is an "in network" and "out of network" PPO, where does your out-of-town or out-of-state adult child go for their care? So, what's the solution? I am so glad you asked! Either you insure your child with the understanding that the maximum out-of-pocket is UNLIMITED. Or every adult child that is out-of-network needs to get their own policy (costs more). And if they do not do it (or parents do not do it for them), guess who gets the tax penalty? 

Adult children under 26 even if they are married, even if their employer offers a plan, and even if they are not dependent can be/will be on a parent's policy. 

Our health savings account will be cut from $6450 per year maximum contribution to $2500 per year. 

There is a Medicare tax increase for self-employed. Can I direct this money to go to my parents? Their premiums were doubled. It might help them a little bit. 

To get a subsidy, I must be poor or a member of Congress. The income used to determine subsidies is gross income of ALL household members combined (1040 Line 22), not AGI (1040 Line 37) or any other income level. So, let's pause for the math lesson. If I have a business that makes $1000 per year. It costs me $900 to run that business. My health insurance subsidy is figured on $1000, not the actual $100 that I make after expenses. And if I have adult working children in my household, I must include their income as well. 

For those of you rejoicing that there are differing rates for smoker v. nonsmoker, I would bet that the fat v. skinny table is coming soon. 

For those of you who voted for this, I don't hate you. You were lied to as well. I was just savvy enough to realize it. But when I told you this would hurt me, hurt millions of people, and not help the situation, you made fun of me. You told me I was an extremist. And you mocked me by saying "death panels" and "conspiracy theorist" and "racist." If anyone would like to publicly apologize to the same extent that you publicly ridiculed me... GO

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Month 10 of Gluten-Free Living

Good news... I have discovered I am gluten-intolerant.
Bad news... I miss Krispie Kreme, but I don't miss pasta or bread at all.
Good news... I feel soooo much better.
Bad news... I have to plan food, and I hate that.
Good news... I greatly reduced my nausea and inflammation.
Bad news... I eliminated other foods and found that I am also dairy intolerant.
Good news... I am sleeping better than ever.
Bad news...
on balance, there is mostly good news!

My next elimination test has been going on for three weeks... eggs, peanuts, and soy.
I am afraid to reintroduce them. The dairy reintroduction went horribly wrong...

My next addition is mangosteen juice to reduce inflammation even more and reduce my dependence on arthritis medication.
$36 per bottle is still cheaper than $5 per day for Celebrex.

It's been so humid. I miss my bike.


Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Sometimes Reality Bites

Dear Tre and Juicy,
I have been a fan of the Real Housewives franchise for years. And I have watched you from your debut. Reality TV may have made you semi-famous, but your actions and excessiveness on television made you a target. Pulling cash out of your purse and paying tens of thousands of dollars for furniture is what made you a target. In all "reality", it's probably when the investigation began. The alleged illegitimate success actually spawned legitimate success, but all that means is that you now have enough money to pay fines and attorneys.

Dear Journalists,
Kim D is not a reliable source of ANYTHING! She is a shit-stirrer. And if she is talking to the press, it's not likely that there is anything substantive. She can't spell it and doesn't have it.

Dear Friends and Extended Family of Tre and Juicy,
You are true friends for NOT commenting to the press. No tweets. No blog posts. No digs. I hope that Teresa notices that about each of you.

Dear Fans of Tre and Juicy,
I suppose now you are rethinking all happened these last few years. Stress, particularly hidden stress and secrets, makes people act a little crazy. Now some of the jabs by others are understood a bit more.

Dear Joe and Melissa,
I think that the two of you have hearts of gold. I believe you love your four nieces. And you may have the upcoming challenge of a lifetime to prove it.