Thursday, March 10, 2011

Yeay Me!

I was on the train reading my book about the 7 spiritual laws of yoga when I was suddenly inspired to take up writing about myself in my blog :)  It's been a long time, and the three people who follow this blog already know what's been going on in my life.  On the off-chance that someone else starts to follow - I hope that you like what I have to say.

I have been an endless journey for peace and fulfillment in my life.  I am (generally) a good person, I try to do right by others, help when I'm needed (and when I'm not), and try to refrain from being harmful to anyone or anything.   You would think that this alone would make me feel good about life in general - but there has always been something just not quite right.  I know it has to do with how I view myself and some questions that I always seem to have like:  Who Am I?  and What do I want?

So, I'm reading my book on the train.  The chapter I'm reading centers around your body, mind and soul and how they are all connected to one another and the universe around you.  The author states that "the ego seeks security through control and often has a deep-seeded need for approval.  Most emotional pain is the results of your ego being offended because something that it believed it had control over was actually outside your jurisdiction" - Deepak Chopra.    He goes on to say that whenever we solely identify with our ego, we bind ourselves to things that do not have permanent reality.  This may be an attachment to a job, relationship, a body or a material possession.  It could also be an attachment to a belief or view you have about something. 

The goal is to be able to detach yourself from these things - to find your bliss in this way.  He's not advising you go get a divorce and live by yourself in the woods - but I do think that all of us get caught up with only identifying with our ego.  This is not to be confused with being conceited, which is often what people think when they hear the word egotistical, but in that we define ourselves by things that we manifest and things that are not permanent.  If we lost the ability to walk, we would still have our soul.  If we lost our jobs, would change as a person?

Who are we when we do not attach labels to ourselves?  Who am I when I learn to let go?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

After Shocks

I don't believe that patriotism is something that is taught, it is bred and it is earned.  I believe that it our duty as a nation to give people something to be proud of. It's our job as parents. 

Hurricane Toni on High Horse Again

It's been awhile since I have been pissed off enough to blog about something going on in the world.  This time around, I am picking a fight with Texas.  This might offend some of my friends, but my grudge isn't with them, it is with their Board of Education. 
Texas is trying to re-write the history books for children K-12 to make them more "patriotic" and remind them that this is a nation created "under God".  One of their efforts is to reduce the amount of time Jefferson spends in the schoolbooks because of his standpoint relating to the separation of church and state.  Now, I'm going to go ahead and open a large can of worms here.  I don't care what religion anyone is.  In fact, perhaps I'm anti-organized religion.  I believe that any spiritual relationship you have with God is yours and yours alone.  If you want to pray in the same building, the same day of the week at the same time with other people who have your same views and opinions, then by all means - go nuts.  But, it doesn't make anyone who doesn't share your same exact beliefs and praying rituals (and proves it by showing up to church each week) a bad person.  I can be just a Christian as the next guy, how do you know I'm not?  What if I judged you that way, Mr. Uber-Christian?  "Judge not lest ye be judged", correct?  Yes, I read the Bible.  How can anyone PROVE that their relationship with God is the best, is perfect and is the "right" way to have a relationship with him or her?  I'm just saying, that "under God" is a blanket statement.  Our Pledge of Allegiance does not say, "Our Nation, Under a Christian God Only". 

As usual, I digress.

My point is, Thomas Jefferson was as Christian as they come.  His contention about the separation of church and state is that he didn't want ANY government involvement affecting people's freedom of religious choice.  I'm assuming that the good educators of Texas forgot that the reason so many of our ancestors came "illegally" to this country was to escape religious persecution.   In Jefferson's words:   [American people] "declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state".  I guess I can't wrap my head around how this is un-patriotic?  Is it because in their view this isn't a pro-religious enough stance? 

Another issue I have is that these educators DECLARE themselves social conservatives.  I guess I just don't understand why people can't leave their personal beliefs out of our education system.  Religious and political-bias have no business affecting what my future children can and cannot learn.  It's making a case for me to home-school. 

I just find it to be so ironic that these people who blaspheme Barack Obama as a Nazi-communist are the same people who are looking to change our history books to promote their agenda.  Changing education books to suit your political ideals is nothing short of propaganda.  Same thing Nazi Germany did to indoctrinate the youth into a cult-like following, no?  Is my view extreme?  Perhaps.  But how is it different from theirs? 

Other nice little tidbits: 
  • Promoting free-market economies (not mentioning them, promoting them)
  • They want to require children to learn about the "unintended consequences" of affirmative action
  • Change the name of the slave trade to the "Atlantic triangular trade".  I literally have no words to explain all of the things wrong with this.  I mean, you won't call it the slave trade?  Which is what it was.  They traded PEOPLE.  'Let's try to make that seem like a legitimate free enterprise business by re-naming it.'  Bravo, Texas.  I didn't think that any entity had the balls to do something like this.  But, "its always bigger in Texas" must be true. 

Love and PEACE to Everyone, I don't care who or what you are.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

I'm Just Saying.....

If our current, (somehow) elected Congresspersons and Sentaors can not read or choose to get their information about H.R. 3200 from a forwarded chain email (I'm talking to you Rep. Curtis Blackwood of North Carolina), then we have a major problem. Rep. Blackwood took criticisms, that originated from God only knows where, and put them in a newsletter to his constituents telling them that they would find some "interesting facts" regarding the "Democrats' big health care bill". I don't even know how to properly speak to this. I mean. Really? You really sent an email filled with misleading information and lies that have been debunked on numerous occassions by a number of individuals and non-profit organizations? And you sent it in the form of a newsletter from your office? I mean. Wow. I...well I'm just stunned actually. What a gross misjustice you have done and you should be ashamed of yourself.

And to quickly address the insulting display of disrespect from Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina (another congressperson I'm sure has not read the bill or has read any law whatsoever). It is currently ALREADY UNLAWFUL FOR ILLEGAL ALIENS TO RECEIVE GOVERNMENT HEALTH CARE. This bill does nothing to change that policy. Folks are taking out of context in Section 152 on page 50. Coming to you, directly from the bill:

"[e]xcept as otherwise explicitly permitted by this Act and by subsequent regulations consistent with this Act, all health care and related services (including insurance coverage and public health activities) covered by this Act shall be provided without regard to personal characteristics extraneous to the provision of high quality health care or related services."

The last time I checked, "personal characteristics" was not a synonym for "illegal aliens", but what do I know? I would actually take that to mean that you can not discriminate based on ethnicity, gender, know, actual characteristics of a person.

I would also like to reiterate that on page 143 of the bill, it states:
"Nothing in this subtitle shall allow Federal payments for affordability credits on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States."

I'm beginning to think that people who claim to have "read" the bill are either lying and propogating the BS they hear on Fox News and other ridiculously conservative media outlets or they are just incompetent and do not understand plain English. I would venture to guess that these are the same people that send me emails about how people need to learn to speak English or get out even though the United States does NOT have a national language. Hmmm. I wonder how many of these folks had ancestors that didn't speak English. Including Native Americans. Who are the only true non-immigrants. I'm just staying. And I digress.

To make the point I was beginning, this is a website that came up as a legitimate Affordable Health Care source on the homepage of Google:

W.O.W. A quote: "Well, I have done it! I have read the entire text of proposed House Bill 3200: The Affordable Health Care Choices Act of 2009. I studied it with particular emphasis from my area of expertise, constitutional law. I was frankly concerned that parts of the proposed law that were being discussed might be unconstitutional. What I found was far worse than what I had heard or expected.To begin with, much of what has been said about the law and its implications is in fact true, despite what the Democrats and the media are saying. The law does provide for rationing of health care, particularly where senior citizens and other classes of citizens are involved, free health care for illegal immigrants, free abortion services, and probably forced participation in abortions by members of the medical profession."

How many times do these outright lies need to be debunked? A thousand times? Would that be enough? Here is a thought, crack open the bill and take a gander for yourself instead of trusting a complete stranger who has claimed to read it. But like most things, you see what you want to see instead of being objective. And, I simply can not WAIT to see how many free "forced participation in abortions" we have coming our way. I'm trying to contain myself from falling off of my chair and laughing about this absolutely ridiculous claim. But, I can keep myself seated because some people actually believe this is true. And the saddest part, is that this is bill would probably help those people the most.

I will have to save my outrage towards Sarah Palin for another day. I just don't have the energy.

Read it for yourself:

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Back in Action

I tend to only blog when something is important to me. This time around - its the debate surrounding health care reform. A close family friend recently told me that her six-year old child hasn't been covered in three years because she has acid-reflux and there isn't a health insurance company that would insure her. They won't insure a 3-year old because of heart burn??? WTF! God forbid something terrible happen to her. Their family could be bankrupted if she falls off of the monkey bars and breaks her arm - perhaps requiring surgery to the tune of 10's of thousands of dollars.

Which brings me to my next point. Close to 60% of the 1.5 million bankruptcies being filed this year are due to medical bills. 75% of thoes people HAVE insurance but claims were denied. One crucial talking point of the right wing is that having the government involved, that you would be letting beauracrats make medical decisions for you......NEWSFLASH: THEY ALREADY DO. They are just subsequently lining their pockets with our premiums. There is one health insurance CEO that is making $150 million per year. And my friend's chid can't have insurance because of heart burn.

"Among those whose illnesses led to bankruptcy, out-of-pocket costs averaged $11,854 since the start of illness; 75.7 percent had insurance at the onset of illness."

The average bankrupt person surveyed had spent $13,460 on co-payments, deductibles and uncovered services if they had private insurance. People with no insurance spent an average of $10,893 for such out-of-pocket expenses. How can it cost MORE to be insured than to not be?? I'm sorry if this makes no sense to me....

Don't buy into the BS that the media is trying to sell you. Do some research and read the bill as its being presented. The goal is not to eliminate private insurance, its goal is to try to make health care accessible and affordable to every single American by offering a public option that will force the insurance companies to compete.

People fail to realize that they pay for those who are uninsured anyways - through the form of their health insurance premiums. You are also penalized if you get sick. I had knee surgery this year, now next year when our company goes in for coverage review, they are going to come back with high rates, because of me. And my company and/or co-workers will have to foot the bill. The bill that insurance companies should pay for since we pay so much in premiums.

More facts and figures:

  • The United States has the 2nd most costly health care.
  • We rank 37th in the world for quality of health care.
  • The insurance companies retained a surpluss of over $600 billion by the end of 2006, which is higher than the GDP of 193 countries.
  • If you are a woman, you pay more for health insurance.
  • Right now, providers in Illinois lose over $2.1 billion in bad debt which often gets passed along to families in the form of a hidden premium “tax”.
  • In IL, the largest insurer carries 52% of the insured population....where is the competition for quality health care at an affordable rate?

This is just the attention and don't be caught buying into the big "town hall" uprising crap. There are actually groups out there that are teaching people how to disrupt a town hall meeting that state representatives are hosting to make it look like tons of people are up in arms over health care reform.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I did it!!!

Some background: Stephanie and I were talking last October about doing some half marathons together. In our research, she stumbled upon this event. We loved the idea and decided to talk our Mom's into doing this with us. And they agreed!! So, four months ago this journey began....

So, for the first time in my life I actually TRIED to do something. I was training since about December for the inagural Disney's Princess 1/2 Marathon at Disney World. I stayed in on Saturday nights so I could make sure to get up early on Sunday's to do my long runs. I was going to the gym late at night even after long 12+ hour days. I disappeared for a couple of months. Then, I tore my ACL the first weekend in February. I was super depressed b/c my goal of finishing this half marathon was shot. But, the trip was planned, so I went.

We arrived a couple of days early to relax. But, Saturday was the Expo held at Disney's Wide World of Sports. I was so excited to be there and get my race packet and shirt, that I decided right then and there that I was going to try to make it at least 6 miles so I could walk or run through the Magic Kingdom. Reason being: not only was this my first half - but this was my first trip to Disney World!! Unfortunately, the only running gear I had with me were my shoes - so I had to buy a skirt, shirt, socks and a bra. Oh, and a stabilizing knee brace. My doctor did tell me last Monday that I should not be running, but I didn't care. Oh well!!

I decided that I wanted a finisher's medal. There was a 4 hour time limit, but I thought if I could get halfway through, that I could walk the rest if need be. Well....I was able to run for about 8.5 miles and then my legs gave up on me. So, I started to walk. Luckily around 9.5 miles, I found a women how was doing 30s running/1 min walking. She got me through to the 12 mile marker and I picked up my pace a little bit. It took me 3:07 to finish, but I did finish. I earned the crap out of my awesome medal and I'm very proud!!!! My legs weren't very happy with me and I'm sure my doctor won't be either, but I don't care. I feel pretty good today, so that's fine with me.

I will post pictures later!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Fun Times and Follies trip to Granite Peak was this past weekend. Wow - what a good time (again). People should really join us on these trips. Anyway, we were so pumped to go on Friday evening that we were literally jumping around in the garage when Kedric and Shona pulled up (b/c that signaled the last of the group). We sang the entire way up for four straight hours and then checked into the hotel, had a few drinks at the hotel bar and went to bed. Everyone was pretty pooped. Except Jeff.....who thought that having 5 beer and 2 shots in 20 minutes was smart. Wife wanted to smack husband :)

Saturday morning we got up and ate our favorite breakfast spot: Emma Krumbees. Super yum. Then we all tackled the slopes. It was a gorgeous day to ski, not too cold, not too warm. Runs were amazing. The only bummer was that the west side of the slopes were not open, which is our favorite place to ski. A little more challenging, but super runs nonetheless. Shona wasn't sure of herself, but she ended up learning a ton and looking more comfrotable. Gretchen's ankle was bothering her pretty bad, which was a bummer, but she rested and then hit the slopes again. We managed get both Gretchen and Shona on a tougher blue! We were all getting pretty hungry and tired so we left around 5:30pm or so. We ate a nice little local joint and then all of us were so exhausted we pretty much went to bed.

Sunday rolls around and thanks to all of our rest, we are able to hit the slopes relatively early on Sunday. And - the West side runs were open! Woo hoo! We took Gretchen and Shona over there with us. The first part was easy....then comes trouble! Shona was a little nervous since we were going on a much more difficult run. I hung back with her to try to coach her down a little bit. Long story short....she slid onto her side and I didn't exactly move out of the way b/c it looked as though her skis would go right in between mine. Well they did, and then her right ski slid and took out my leg. I heard a pop and hit the ground. I managed to ski down to ski patrol with Shona and got some ice. Needless to say, I was done for the day. Shona and I sat in the lodge and drank some 312 while the rest of the group kept skiing.

Not more than 15 minutes later, Gretchen fell off of a run and down an embankment and screwed up her back really bad. Our friend Nick said it was the scariest thing he's ever seen and was pretty shook up. We took her to the local ER to make sure she was OK. Thankfully those XRays didn't reveal any broken bones and they gave her some pain meds. And by the way - best hospital ever. They have a medication dispenser called InstyMeds and she paid for and received her prescription on the spot. Amazing.

We played games and had some drinks on Sunday night. It was fun times and we were to bed by around 1:00am. Monday it was time to hit the road.

So, I had to call the doctor b/c my knee was super swollen and the ski patrol team said I should get it looked at. Thankfully I was able to get in on Tuesday. So, my doctor comes in and plays around with my knee a bit and tells me he thinks it's a torn ACL and a Grade II tear in my MCL. He drained some fluid from my knee and said if it had blood in it, it was almost for sure a torn ACL, and of course, it had blood in it. Still waiting for the MRI results on that one. If so, I will be out of commission for triathlons for me :(

Anyway....besides the really high number of accidents, the trip was a blast and I will go again next year without a doubt!