Thursday, June 28, 2012

ACA FTW

Today was a big day, am I right? And really, no one is more surprised than I at the out come.  I was so sure that I was going to spend the day feeling disgusted with people who were celebrating the downfall of the Affordable Care Act.  Also, I was gonna start figuring out how we could move to France (maybe Norway?) and how soon we could do it. But, instead I’m spending the day feeling disgusted with the complaints they are making about how it is not failing, and wishing I lived in France so that I would not have to listen to it. WOOHOO!

So, anyway, I have a few initial reactions to the things I’ve been seeing and hearing today.  I *know* you’re dying to hear from me about it all.

I’ve already made my opinion on the health care mandate and people who oppose it pretty clear.  But it seems like people are just revisiting all of that today.  I simply don’t understand the ignorance on the issue.  To me the benefits of it seem so obvious that I feel like people have to be trying, and trying hard, to not understand it.  Alas, I can only rant and rave about that so much, ya know?

I’ve said it before and I’ll probably say it again a million times, but Americans are way too obsessed with their “freedoms”.   We’re ridiculous.  We are so overboard about protecting every little freedom that we think we’re entitled to, that we are willing to sacrifice everything that makes a society function well.  You know, it IS possible to take that too far.  If you don’t agree, I don’t think that America is the right country for you.  I would recommend Somalia.  That is a nice libertarian state where you can bask in all the freedoms your heart desires.  I honor and thank men and women who are willing to sacrifice their lives for my freedoms.  I draw the line at those who are willing to sacrifice my quality of life for their anarchist idea of a life of freedom that requires no government intervention whatsoever.  Please go somewhere else for that. But be warned, as long as societies have existed, they have sought order.  And when you seek a life without government, you give up the power to decide how that order is established and what it means.  Seriously.  Somalia.  Look it up.

And I have to say that by far the funniest thing I saw today was a montage of people who want to move to Canada because they are so angry with SCOTUS and ACA.  Oh, that is so priceless. Please, try that.  Let me know how it works out for you.

Never mind all the great things that ACA offers. There is the access to healthcare, lower premiums (don’t argue with me about that, you will just show your ignorance), a regulated marketplace (for an industry that otherwise makes a profit off of the sick and dying.  don’t argue with me about that either. I’m not in the mood.), no pre-existing condition exclusions, all kind of tax credits and benefits for small businesses that choose to offer insurance to their employees, affordable access to healthcare for the nation’s most vulnerable populations (ie, those who can’t afford it otherwise and seniors), equal costs for men and women, more coverage for young adults.  Not to mention other important inclusions like the breastfeeding initiatives—requiring employers to be more breastfeeding friendly and requiring insurance companies to cover breastfeeding support.  That is HUGE. 

I mean, really. How DARE they?

I think the other big reaction was really over semantics on the heath care mandate.  Is it a fine?  A tax? A penalty?  A penalty tax?  I’m gonna say upfront that I don’t care what you call it, because I call it SMART, I call it GOOD FOR EVERYONE, and I call it STUPID TO OPPOSE IT.  But just for fun, let’s discuss.
If we call it a tax people are all up in arms because they claim it is a “tax without choice” (Other taxes come when you choose to buy a home, get a job, etc.) and are calling it a tax on life.  My first reaction to that is that it is bogus.  You choose this tax just like you choose any other if you can afford to get health insurance and you CHOOSE not to.  Ya follow me?  But let’s say these people are right and it is a tax without choice: News flash folks.  This is not unprecedented.  Americans get tax breaks for having children.  Which means childless people get charged extra taxes for DOING NOTHING.  *gasp*  Okay, so it is actually a tax break given to people under the notion that they are investing into society by having children.  Just like you invest into society when you pay into the health insurance program, thereby making it cheaper for all Americans to have access to healthcare.  If you don’t pay in you get taxed.  Just like when you don’t have kids.

So, whatever, it is a penalty tax.  And you should be so penalized for not paying into the society that you are a part of.  Giving you a fine is better than kicking you out, which means you’re getting better than you deserve.   

As for how this affects the election, we’ll just have to see how it plays out.  It sounds like Mittens is planning on making Obamacare a focal point.  Not sure that is a smooth move, since he basically grandfathered it.  You know, whatever.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

What an Apology Is(n’t)

Dear former friend,

I need you to know that the word sorry doesn’t mean anything to me.  I need you to know that it is a pointless word that I feel like people throw around when they don’t want to be accountable for the things they’ve said and done.  I feel like when most people say “Sorry.” what they are really saying is “Please just pretend I didn’t do that, so that I don’t have to face it or deal with the implications of it.”  I feel like when most people say “Sorry.” they are doing it in a kind of self righteous I’ve-done-nothing-wrong-but-since-you’re-all-upset-I’ll-say-this-magic-word-to-make-you-stop-talking sort of way.

So I guess, when you said your “sorry” was not good enough for me, you were spot on.  It fell way short of the mark.  You didn’t know why I was upset.  You didn’t have any idea how you had affected me.  You were just hoping that, before I even really had a chance to react to some really hurtful things you said, you could just stop me from reacting at all.  That is not the way it works.

In a real friendship, one that means something, people seek to understand each other.  When one finds out that they’ve hurt another (and it is almost never on purpose; I don’t think it was in this case), they seek to understand.  They hear the other person out.  They recognize the hurt they’ve caused.  They make repairs.  They don’t justify.  They don’t continue to defend the things they said, and then go on to say more hurtful things.  They don’t try to come up with ways that the person they’ve offended is actually the villain. 

An example of that would be quite sometime ago, when I said something in a facebook status that you thought was about you, and you were hurt.  You wrote me a message, explaining your hurt and why I shouldn’t have said what I did.  I told you I understood your reaction.  I told you that my status wasn’t about you, but understood how you perceived it might be.  I explained what the status was about.  I validated how you felt about it.  That, my former friend, is what a real apology looks like.  I did not get defensive that you’d personalized something that had nothing to do with you. I could have told you that I have every right to post what ever I want in my facebook statuses.  I could have pointed out that, even though you were accusing me of censoring you, that is exactly what you were doing to me.  But I didn’t.  It didn’t matter to me, I was more concerned that I’d inadvertently hurt your feelings. 

I feel like you never really cared to understand why I was hurt.  I think you were just more content to pretend that you hadn’t actually said anything wrong, and I that I just reacted poorly to it.  You kept driving home your own perception of the situation, and totally ignored mine.  Over and over again. I kept trying to explain why I saw things the way I did.  Instead of trying to understand me, it was just easier for you to find reasons why you could be upset with me.  Because really, if you could find reasons why I was in the wrong, then you wouldn’t have to admit that you were.  When you told me you needed time to cool off, I went away trying to understand you.  I went away trying to figure out why you’d said some of the things you did, and what you could’ve really meant by it.  I came back to the conversation with the hope that we could discuss those things, and that I could explain why I had the perceptions that I did.  And I thought you’d be ready to hear me, and that I would be ready to hear you. But, that is when I realized that you’d used the time to “cool off” only to find more reasons to be upset with me. To figure out why you should be the one hurting and not me. And you came back ready to justify that more than anything else. That is not what a real apology looks like. It is not what a real friendship looks like.

I wish you all the best.  I hope that you get everything you want in life.  (For a lot of reasons, but selfishly I also hope that when you do get the things you want, you will better understand what it really did to my heart when you attacked my Things.) I also hope that you can take away some kind of lesson from this.  And that you can handle your relationships better in the future.  For as humans, hurting each other is just something that sometimes happens.  It it all about how you handle it after it happens that matters.  I fear for you, that if you keep being this self absorbed in the face of hurting someone else, I won’t be the only friend you lose.

I’m so sad to see years of friendship—a friendship I cherished—lost over this.  I’m so frustrated that it has turned out this way.  And I’m so angry that I couldn’t do anything to make you see me.  I just really wish this had all worked out differently.

You’ve accused me of saying negative things on my blog about you.  I never have before and don’t know where that accusation came from, but this post is probably gonna upset you.  But the thing is, I really needed you to hear me.  And I tried and tried to get you to hear me, but you won’t.  You refused.  And so, even though I know you’ll be upset that I’ve blogged this (if you ever even read it)…  I just need someone else, anyone else, to hear me instead.

It all comes down to this.  A real, sincere apology is not just a word.  It is so, so much more than that.

Love,

Me

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Simple Woman

Find it HERE.

FOR TODAY

Outside my window... the heat is making me cranky.  Usually when I’m irritated with the weather here in Virginia I look up the weather in Tallahassee to make me feel better—because at least I don’t live there any more.  But for the next week, my corner of Virginia and the panhandle of Florida are having similar temperatures, only at least in Florida they are getting tons of rain which makes hot and humid so much more bearable.  So, I’m feeling kind of mad that Virginia is betraying me with its heat, humidity, and rainlessness.  Everyone here keeps say it never gets this hot here.  Well, it did last summer, and its doing it again.  So, it just gets this hot here after I move here?  Lovely.

I am thinking... that I will NOT be attending the Mitt Romney event that we just got a phone invite for.  Thanks for the call on Sunday, GOP.

I am thankful... that my awesome husband always does bath time with the Things.  It is their thing, and it gives me a nice evening break.

In the kitchen... I’m doing an elimination diet right now, and I don’t love it.  For the last week I’ve had no dairy, sugar, or grains… well, today I added back in brown rice.  Anyway, I think my body is reacting to something other than corn, and so I’m slowly adding things back in until I figure out what it is.  I miss cheese.  And pasta. And chocolate.  I look forward to having those things again soon and am praying none of them cause me physical distress.

I am wearing... green blouse and a beige skirt.

I am creating... oh blah.  I finally finished the curtain project I had going forever ago, but still have my other top secret project sitting unfinished.

I am going... to “playtime” at the library tomorrow, I think.  Library summer programs are so awesome when the weather is so hot.

I am wondering... what to do for my birthday next week-end.  We’re going somewhere for the week-end, and I’ve yet to decide where.

I am reading... Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis, Towers of Midnight by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson, and I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore.

I am hoping... for a closing on a house soon.  We’re just waiting and waiting.

I am looking forward to... My Birthday!

I am learning… patience.  Okay, not really.  But God sure is giving me lots of opportunities.

Around the house... William has started packing things up for the move that will hopefully happen soon.

I am pondering... friendships and how they end. I just keep investing in the wrong people.

A favorite quote for today... There are two kinds of light—the glow that illuminates, and the glare that obscures. – James Thurber

One of my favorite things... the all wood floors in the house we’re buying.

A few plans for the rest of the week: Several library trips, a park trip or two, and then the aforementioned birthday trip.

A peek into my day...

Snapshot 1 (6-24-2012 7-56 PM)

Friday, June 22, 2012

Play Dough

Thing 1 has been introduced to play dough and really enjoyed the adventure of it.  I’ve kept Thing 2 from it because he still likes to put everything interesting into his mouth, no matter what it tastes like.  Sad for Thing 1, right?  I knew that I could make it at home, but my experience with home made play dough is that turns into a hard crumbly mess before too long and is fun for no one.  So, I’ve never tried it.  BUT I found this great recipe on Pinterest that really intrigued me because it seemed to address those issues.  I tried it today and it was awesome.  My only drawback is that I have some natural food dyes that are kind of awful.  Next time I think I’ll put in the effort to make my own for better color.  But it was SUCH a big hit with the Things anyway.  And the were so cute having fun with the play dough that I had to take pictures, which is really the whole point of this post.

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          “Take a picture of my play dough, MOM!”

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                     See that on his chin?  Oh yeah, he was eating it.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

My Daddy, by Thing 1*

My Daddy’s name is: William

My Daddy’s age is: twenty thirty**

My Daddy is 2 feet tall and weighs 10 lbs.** ***

My Daddy’s favorite food is: sandwiches**

My Daddy is smart because he knows: that he likes to laugh

Daddy always tells me: “Look at me!”

It makes Daddy happy when: he has friends

Daddy loves to: drive cars on race roads****

My Daddy is really good at: building towers and building trains and building castles

My favorite thing to do with Daddy is: drive cars and take a walk

What I love most about Daddy is: He’s fun to play games with.

A Picture I drew of my Daddy:**

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* Thing 2 wanted to help. But, mostly he just had no idea what we were doing.

**Not entirely accurate

***Accompanying statement: “He is tall, tall, tall and has a big face.”

****Accompanying statement: “He does that with me ALL THE TIME.”

Happy Father’s Day to our favorite Daddy.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Thing 1: Tell Me A Story…

This was a moment that left my son beaming with pride.

Thing 1: Mom, tell me a story about me.

Me: There once was a woman who didn’t have children.  She wanted to be a mom so bad. She wanted to have babies so much that it hurt.  She tried for years and years and was so very sad.  But THEN, one day she found that she was going to have a baby!  She was so happy!  And when that baby came she named him John. The baby John made the woman a mom, and he made her very, very happy and she loved him so much.

Thing 1: That was about you, mom? ‘Cause I’m John?

Me: Yes, indeed. I waited for you for a long time, and when you came you made me very, very happy.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Which is it?

First let me say that, while my faith often drives what I believe about politics, I do not use it as a rationale for political belief.  I believe strongly—very strongly—in the separation of church and state.  Unless an entire governed body believes the same thing, the government of that body has no right to impose a religious agenda into it’s policy.  My political opinions, including my belief that we need to tax the daylights out of the rich, are based in my own study and research on the topics.  I’m a results based person, and I believe in the value of comparative politics—to see what has worked for others and what hasn’t.  Do a quick comparative study of the economic soundness of Norway and Greece, and it is easy to see why I believe a socialist approach to the economy is a better solution than austerity measures. 

Since I’m in favor of higher taxes (especially for the rich) I am privy to a lot of reasons why people are against it—since it seems like every one of them wants to change my mind.  These argument often confuse me.  Not because they are hard to understand, they are actually often overly simplistic.  But, I am generally confused because these people seem to have no concept of what the bigger picture looks like and how inconsistent they seem within it. 


One argument is the idea that the poor should just pull themselves up by their bootstraps.  You know, the kind of, “I made it on my own, working three jobs while in college, walking up hill both ways in the snow...  So why should I help anyone else?”  I try not to engage in further conversations with these people.  It is that kind of argument that will make me wish I didn’t know the person making it. And I’m often amazed at my fellow Christians that make these arguments. Because, this is just not at all what Christ taught.  Some of examples of being asked to help the poor, or being praised for doing so, are Matthew 19:21, Mark 14:7, and Luke 19:8. And one of my favorites, a stern warning against not helping the poor in Ezekiel 16:49.  These references are by no means exhaustive, the Bible is brimming over with them. If you are claiming to a be a Christian and you don’t believe that we should help the poor improve their station in life you’ve either never read the Bible or you don’t understand it.  Christ never talked about who deserved help, he didn’t wax eloquent about teaching a man to fish—indeed, he often just gave out fish.  And that is just what he commanded that we do (metaphorically, of course. but I wouldn’t turn down some catfish, if you’ve got it). 

There is another set of arguments I always get from the Christian crowd that is something along the lines of, “Of course we should help the poor as Jesus has asked us to do, but we should do it privately.  We don’t need the government forcing us to give to others.”  At the heart of the “government shouldn’t force us to give to others” argument is the idea that government has no business directing us morally. Because the government should stay our of our lives right?  If you believe that we should help the poor, but you don’t want the government to force you to give to the poor, it must mean that you don’t think the government should be allowed to force a religious moral imperative upon it’s people. 

This argument also confuses me.  Because I’m betting that you, conservative Christian friend, also think that preserving the sanctity of marriage is a moral imperative.  Or the sanctity of life. So, obviously, when someone presents the argument that government shouldn’t be forcing us to give to the poor because moral issues are a private concern, I can only assume that they are also in favor of same sex marriage and that they are pro-choice.  The claim is that you want to be able to take care of the poor through private organizations.  You can also approach the battle you want to wage for the sanctity of marriage through private organizations, right?  Missionary work and all that. And the government shouldn’t be forcing those beliefs on anyone, right?  They should stay out of our lives, you say. This just makes sense.

Of course, we all know that much of the same camps of people that don’t want the government taking their taxes and using it to bolster social net programs are the very same people who are the most ardently opposed to same sex marriage and are very in favor of anti-abortion laws.  Which is inconsistent, to say the least.  And it leaves me to wonder what the difference is between these moral imperatives that allows them to think the government should handle some but not others.  It is pretty obvious though.  If you are not gay and seeking marriage, then laws banning it don’t affect you much, do they?  If we allow the government to intervene in Jesus’s commandment to care for the poor…  well, then we’d all actually have to put our money where our mouths are, wouldn’t we? 

So, you either think the government can intervene on moral measures or you don’t.  One or the other, is all that I ask.

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