Friday, July 31, 2009

Rut-roh Reorge!

Yesterday some random dude came and spray painted lines in my yard. Orange ones. He was gone before I could ask him what they were marking.

This morning, three large trucks have shown up with telephone poles and work like equipment. Something that looks suspiciously like a borer.

And I don't think they have sliencers on those bad boys.

I've had a massive attack of stupid and am supposed to sleep today so I can participate in my fourth tweleve hour night shift in a row tonight.

Prince Ambien! Lord Reisling! Please come to my aid!

The boyz say: Don't waorry momma, we've gotcha covered. Unless it a FedEx or UPS truck, then we'll be under the bed growling at each other.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Thor's Day!

A real bird would be safe from Thor, who only likes to lick feathers (until he gags himself).

Thor sez: I'll stick to mousies, k thnx bai.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I Wonder

If the health CARE reform was properly rechristened health INSURANCE reform, would people be less afraid of it?

I personally am tired of my wonderful family practice doc telling me she'd like to try x-medication for me, but my insurance doesn't cover it.

Or how about the time my elbow hurt and above mentioned FPD said I needed to see an ortho doc for a cortisone shot, but my insurance wouldn't pay for it until I had: done physical therapy and worn a brace for x-amount of time.

So instead of one charge for a specialist visit and one charge for a shot, my insurance company (and I) paid for:

A primary doctor's visit.
Ten trips to a physical therapist.
A visit to the brace maker for a fitting.
A brace.
A visit back to the primary doc for a referral to the specialist.
A visit to the specialist.
A cortisone shot.

Multiply scenarios like that times every insured person in America and see how much money we are wasting because the insurance companies are calling the shots. (pun intended)

Not to mention I was in pain the whole four months of "trying shit" time and the inflammation in my elbow began impinging on a nerve and the whole problem could have moved to the surgery level quite easily. But no, let's jump through the insurance company hoops.

We need to take medical decision making out of the insurance company's hands and place it back in the hands of doctors and patients.

Thor sez: You humans sure like to complicate things, don't you?

Monday, July 27, 2009

Help Spread the Word

Recently, I had yet another co-worker come back from the ER in tears.


Because another baby had been found suffocated and dead beneath the sleeping body of a parent.

Another family frantically called 911. Another EMS crew worked feverishly in the back of a bouncing, speeding ambulance, siren screaming the warning all the way to the hospital. The ER staff with nursery support pulling out all stops, doing everything possible to revive the infant. The family standing by speechless, in shock, as it became evident that the baby had been without oxygen for too long.

If memory serves, that is the 8th baby in the tri-county area to be accidently smothered to death while sleeping with an adult this YEAR.

Please, please, please, tell everyone you know to never, ever sleep with their baby. That includes letting a baby sleep on your chest while you are laying on the couch. Drift off to sleep, roll over and you will have either an injured baby from falling on the floor or you will have a dead baby suffocated between you and the couch cushions.

And I know, the number one excuse I hear is that when breastfeeding, it's easier to have the baby in bed with you. Sure, until you wake up and find your baby dead.

And not one of those eight dead babies' parents thought that it would happen to them either. There are special bassinets made now that you can snug right up beside your bed and one side comes down so you can slide the baby to you for feeding, then back into the safety of his or her own bed when finished.

This is a silent epidemic that is out of control not only here in the low country, but across the nation. When you hear "SIDs" or "crib death", it is rarely really a case of a baby found not breathing in a crib. Mostly it is a "roll over" death where some one rolled over on the baby and suffocated it.

As a night shift nurse, I have this conversation (and have been accused of being "mean" and "rude") with new mothers very frequently. We do formalized teaching, we show videos on the subject. All the hospitals in the area do this.

And still, eight babies are dead so far this year. And eight families have been changed forever.

Loki sez: That's why I don't sleep with Thor, he rolls around like a marble in an earthquake.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Loki Sunday

Loki sez: That flash is disturbing my artistic muse.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Double Trouble

I can't even begin to describe the sense of joy and wonder I still feel when I glance out the kitchen window and see the deer and her baby in the yard. And then when the second fawn came trotting out of the marsh to join them - magic.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Thor's Day!

Poor, long-suffering Thor. We should change his name to Job.

Thor sez: No, I do not want to lick your finger. I am not a dog. Or Loki.

Fine. -lick- Happy now? Could you at least use tuna flavored soap?

-nom- Oops, sorry. No, no, total accidental nippage.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Bandits in Training

Momma Raccoon and her band of banditos.

I know, they are cute now. Don't know how cute I'll think they are when my garbage is spread across the backyard to the marsh.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Loki Sunday

Loki sez: I know, I'm hot.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Getting What You Pay For

One of those shrill voices that pass for news reporters these days was introducing a story on the health care reform bill that is being worked on right now. "WHO IS GOING TO PAY FOR THIS?" he wanted to know.

Um. We are. Just like we are now. We, the taxpayers and health care consumers, are paying for the uninsured now. Whether in higher premiums or higher health care costs, we are paying.

And the wheels on the bus go 'round and 'round.

Our local on-line "newspaper"'s brain trust of commentators has been screaming for days now about how we just need to lock up all the criminals and never let them out of jail.

But none of them will want to pay taxes to build more jails, to hire more guards, to expand the courts so they can move criminals through the systems more quickly.

Every time there is some improvement needed - schools, jails, roads, bridges, health care, immigration, social services - everyone loves to scream about how something "needs to be done", but let the money for it come up in a referendum or a proposed tax increase, then suddenly it isn't our responsibility to pay for the cost of these things.

Loki sez: Let's all put on our magic hats and just wish everything we need into place.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Thor's Day!

One of Jason's editors, upon seeing a laptop screen saver photo of Thor, said, "He looks like a Snickers bar."

Jason replied, "He's as sweet as one."

When told of this, I said, "No, he's as nutty as one."

Thor sez: Call me "Snickerdoodle" one more time and something will be shredded.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Thor Sez

This is the best present ever on the whole earth!

I love my blue bag!

Thank you Miss Michelle!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Oh, Baby, Baby

Yesterday, saw the (another?) deer with two fawns ambling through the marsh into the neighbors yard.

This morning, Ms. Rockyette Raccoon was spotted showing her four babies where to come for free food.

Baby squirrels, baby blue jays and mockingbirds and sparrows are all out getting acquainted with the feeders of my yard.

Thor sez: I wanna play with the raccoon babies!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Death from the Sky

I'm surprised it took this guy so long to figure out there was a squirrel buffet under the oak tree. I think it's a red tailed hawk.

Photo by JAZ

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Loki Sunday

Loki has two personalities.
Angel Loki. Who loves to snuggle between his humans and watch Jeopardy. Who loves to snuggle by anyone using the laptop. And gives his brother kisses on the head.

Then there is Devil Loki. Who just shows up at random, hissing and spitting and growling at his brother, sits in the corner for a while, then goes away.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Jan-trum Addendum

(or why I should edit more)

Not that I retract anything I posted yesterday, but that I just didn't emphasize something.

Yes, I came out of an financially impoverished background. Yes, I was a member of the working poor for a long time. Yes I made the climb up to at least the lower rungs of middle class.

And no, I don't think that I did anything that most people like me couldn't do. You just have to want to and have to do it.

However. I had several things "going" for me.

1. I had no mental health issues
2. I had no drug/alcohol dependence issues.
3. I had not been physically abused or neglected or malnourished in the critical brain development stage of birth to 24 months.
4. I had a high school education to start with.
5. I could read on a college level before I reached high school.

Some people don't start with all those skills. They need extra help.

That's all.

Thor sez: Like Loki? Needs extra help, right?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Jan-trum Time!

The other night, in the grips of my old friend insomnia, I was scanning through television channels when I landed on a news show. The fellow being interviewed was talking about Sarah Palin’s working class act.

He said her strategy was in pitting the “working class” against the “elites”.

It occurred to me that I’d heard this argument before. But it wasn’t working class vs. elite. No, it was white vs. black.

See, I grew up in a white working class suburb just after the Civil Rights Act was being implemented. I heard a lot of “us” and “them” talk. It was what the Klan thrived on. Take a poor, poorly educated, unemployed fellow and tell him none of it is his fault. Tell him it’s not his fault he didn’t do well in school. Tell him it isn’t his fault he can’t hold a job because he has a drinking/drug problem. No, tell him it’s the blacks and Jews fault. Tell him if it weren’t for “them”, he’d be a prince without having to work for it.

Sarah Palin and her ilk have just refined it. It’s not your fault that you don’t have a better job. It’s not your fault you didn’t go to college. It’s not your fault you bought a house out of your pay grade, counting on overtime to get you by. No, it’s them gosh darn liberal elites’ fault. And they don’t even like you any way.

(Eighth grade anyone?) This is what they count on - the insecurity and class anxiety of Americans. The need to belong to a group - the need to belong to the "right" group. And the latest American emotional need - the need to feel like you are being persecuted. (They're going to take your Bibles away and outlaw being a Christian!)

No, it wasn't the big oil companies that sucked your wallets and the economy dry just because they could. No, not the fat cats on Wall Street whose main priority was maximizing profits for investors and workers be damned. No, not the CEO’s who began caring more about stock returns than their workers and moved every job they could overseas. None of them have a single thing to do with the economy and lack of jobs.

I have walked the long road out of working poverty to working class to having a pretty good hold on middle class. And I worked my ass off for it. Now that I’m here, no, I don’t work quite as hard as I did when I was working poverty wage. Yes, things are much easier.

But I had to sacrifice a lot. I had to take risks that scared the hell out of me. I had to rack up a debt that made me want to vomit every time I got that loan statement. I had to stop whining about how I didn't have any breaks or special hand outs and just go do what I had to do. And realize that most people had to do just that, very few people get anything handed to them. And I know I’m not that special. I’m not any smarter or talented than any other average Jo-ette out there.

But I remember the resentment. I remember the anger I felt towards those who were doing better than myself. They didn’t have “any” problems. They could do whatever they wanted to do. They had everything and begrudged me anything. They got handed everything. They didn’t have to struggle like I did.

Then I grew the fuck up.

It was just an excuse I'd been taught to use to make myself feel better about not doing what I was supposed to do. And that is what Palin and the anti-elitists are telling Americans it's okay to feel now. Just give up. Just be angry. Just be resentful. Whine about all "those people" who have it so easy. It's okay. It isn't your fault. Be a victim. Some people stay stuck in that mentality all their lives. Some people are ripe for an excuse to blame someone. Some people need a scapegoat.

And those darn liberal elitists make such good targets for that kind of insecurity.

I don’t consider myself elite at anything. But I’m secure enough in my own skin and skills and abilities that I don’t consider the “elite” something bad. I sort of want my leaders and statesmen and doctors and scientists to be “elite”. I want my armed forces to be “elite”.

We need each other. We need the brilliant minds to dream and think and imagine. We need the workers to bring those dreams into reality. We need the middle class workers to keep it all running smoothly. That's what built America up, everyone working together, everyone doing their little part. Not scapegoating and finger pointing and being resentful of the idea that someone was smarter or more successful. You want to be more successful? Do what you need to do. Don't complain that it's too hard. Don't blame other people for no reason.

If you want to be an artist and someone chops off your hands, perhaps they can be blamed. But don't blame some nameless, faceless "elitist" for you not getting a scholarship to art school.

We complain about our schools being “dummied down” and the harmful consequences of lowering educational standards.

Dummying down politics won’t help either. Gaining political power by playing to the worst of our human tendencies won’t help.

Obama won, in my opinion, mostly because he played to the best of our human tendencies.

Seems like Palin and her ilk believe that Americans like to hate and resent more than we like to hope and help.

Loki sez: I could have been a great cardboard box artist, but those elitists said that only humans could go to art school!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Thor's Day!

I've never quite understood the phrase "sleeping like a baby". Babies wake up screaming every couple of hours.

Sleeping like a cat makes more sense. And no kitty sleeps cuter than the Thor.

Thor sez: You disturb my slumber? I shall..zzzzzzzz.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Household Conversations

Me: I'm so happy that the fawn is okay.

(click to imbiggen, look to left, behind fence, little face in the bushes)
Jason: Me too.
Me: But I never see baby daddy.
Jason: Haven't you read Bambi?

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Loki Sunday

Loki is having a bad mental health day today. Not helped by his brother biting him and the new fish staring at him. And me yelling at him for standing glassy-eyed on the couch hissing and spitting for five minutes.

Loki sez: That fish is staring at me.

Freddie Mercury sez: I believe you are staring at me.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Happy Fourth of July!

That's not a real sparkler!

I'm ready for the parade!

Happy Fourth!

Friday, July 03, 2009

Half Broke

It's annoying being half broke.

My allergies kick in randomly (I sneezed 12 times in a row a few minutes ago) but they aren't consistent enough to receive treatment beyond Zyrtec or Claritin.

My left knee has been giving me such fits that I asked Jason just to yank it out of joint so it can be broken enough to be replaced.

You know you are pathetic when you are HOPING for a joint replacement at my tender young age.

All you people out there who can bend your knees, thank them!

Sorry about the quality here, but shooting through the kitchen window on the quick doesn't make for great photos.

This morning I stopped by Lowe's on my way home. I called Jason to see if we needed anything ("From Lowe's?") and told him I was just getting some food for his deer. And her baby. I'm a little worried because I haven't seen the fawn for about two weeks now, but she just may not let him out much. She's been coming around in the middle of the day to eat my please-stay-out-of-the-trash-cans critter food bribe to the raccoons.

Loki sez: Is deer a part of my ancestral diet?

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Thor's Day!

Last night, ten minutes before I left for work, just in my sight line:

Thor sez: You aren't really going away and leaving me here are you?