Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
I broke the fast at one of the member's homes, a place where I've been a few times for Shabbat and the Holidays. It was very nice, good food and good people, but I still feel like I haven't found my place in the Jewish life here in Cleveland. Where are the misfits? The weirdos? The ultra-creative? The ones with the dark sense of humor? David would say that these people wouldn't be in a synagogue, and he's probably right.
I suppose I'm alone among the people I most identify with in my love of religion. And I use "religion" for lack of a better word. I hate "religion" actually. I don't trust an iconoclast, I fear the mob mentality, and most organized anything tends to struggle with corruption. But I also love "religion"--the rites, the rituals, the community, the yearning to be a part of something larger than yourself, the fumbling search for truth, the chasing after meaning, a semblance of order in the chaos. When I read Life of Pi, I loved and identified with the main character, who was secretly a part of three different religions because he found them all so beautiful. I secretly harbor a love for many religions myself.
It's the fact that each one claims to KNOW the truth that I can't stand. For me the meaning is in the search, and anyone who claims knowledge smells of hubris to me. Here I am, an ex-evangelical missionary, a converted orthodox jew, the last one you'd expect to be critical, but that's where I stand.
Anyway, this is a much longer post for a much more thoughtful time. The High Holidays are a time for reflection, but that's one thing that is lacking greatly from my life at the moment. All I'm worried about now is just getting through it. And finding a place here, somewhere.
Friday, September 25, 2009
2. Even though I remind myself constantly to pick up my groceries at the parcel pickup when I leave the store, if a single thing distracts me (the cell phone, a cute puppy) I will drive home without them. And have to go all the way back.
3. The song "Tutti Frutti" is vigorously copyrighted and cannot serve as the background to my home video on youtube or facebook.
4. Jack + Solids = Sleeping through the night. Seriously, four out of five nights this week he's slept from 7 (ish) to 7 (ish). A miracle!
5. Having a car, even for a week, is like becoming a god. I feel that powerful. You know, when I can go, like, wherever I want.
6. Jack is developing a flat head. Attempts to get him to sleep on his side and/or stomach have failed. Have resorted to massive amounts of tummy time, and the child barely leaves his bumbo. Pictures of child trying to release himself from Bumbo Death Grip to follow. As soon as I catch one.
Friday, September 18, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Monday, September 14, 2009
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Look: no one ever promised for sure
that we would sing. We have decided
to moan. In a strange dance that
we don’t understand till we do it, we
have to carry on.Just as in sleep you have to dream
the exact dream to round out your life,
so we have to live that dream into stories
and hold them close at you, close at the
edge we share, to be right.
We find it an awful thing to meet people,
serious or not, who have turned into vacant
effective people, so far lost that they
won’t believe their own feelings
enough to follow them out.
The authentic is a line from one thing
along to the next; it interests us.
Strangely, it relates to what works,
but is not quite the same. It never
swerves for revenge,
Or profit, or fame: it holds
together something more than the world,
this line. And we are your wavery
efforts at following it. Are you coming?
Good: now it is time.
Wednesday, September 09, 2009
That being said, so far I haven't been able to get out of my short-term mentality. Normally, I descend on a place, work furiously until it's exactly how I want it, and then, thus settled, feel like I can begin my Real Life. But with a house it is different. A house is an investment, a labor of love--a journey, not a destination, if you will. But I still see this place as a short-term stop, and I want it to be DONE. Now. The fact that it is not done has stopped me from "living my life," whatever that means, feeling at home or being productive or what have you. Were we here long term, it wouldn't feel that way. It would be a journey, with twists and turns and unforeseen curves along the way, and I would delight in that and take my time. But we're here for a few more months at the most, and the work to be done weighs on me like a mini-albatross.
So why did we buy a house, you say? If we weren't planning on settling down? Number one, it's an investment in the financial sense. Our mortgage is cheaper than rent. And with an FHA, we put less down on the house then we did on our car. So it just made more sense, especially in a city where houses are going for practically nothing. Plus I was pregnant and needed to feel the ground beneath my feet in a way I never needed before, someplace with a foundation that felt like home. Trouble is it's taken months longer for it to feel like home than usual, if only because it consists of about 800 more square feet than I'm used to. Not including the yard. Did I mention the yard? Oh my heavens the work that is a yard. We've basically just let ours go. Our "flower bed," if you can call it that, is home to weeds the likes and size of which I have never seen, weeds I am afraid to approach, weeds with long complicated names and a particularly aggressive nature. I leave them alone.
But I digress. The point of this is that I've been sticking my little toe in this blog for months, testing the water, but never taking it seriously--or anything having to do with my creative, inner life--for months, waiting until I felt At Home and Real Life could finally begin. But yesterday I finally threw up my hands. This house may never be done the way I want it to be before we leave it. But I am not going to let that stop me from writing every day, and from doing what it takes to feel like myself again. I need it. Daily maintenance, piles of laundry, wild dustbunnies--unfurnished rooms and unpainted walls and unhung pieces of art--all of it be damned.
Tuesday, September 08, 2009
When we came back here, no private insurance would take me as I was already pregnant. Nobody would hire me for the same reason. Luckily, after jumping through a thousand hoops and BECAUSE I HAD NO MONEY, and parents willing to give me a place to stay, I got Medicaid, which thankfully covered everything. But had David and I married? No Medicaid. Had we even lived together? No Medicaid. Had I worked anywhere other than Starbucks or Wal-Mart? No Medicaid. And thousands of dollars in debt.
We need Universal Healthcare. We NEED it. It's embarrassing that we DON'T have it. As the daughter of two doctors, I have grown up against it, filled to the brim with the myths of why it's such a bad idea. But my parents, unfortunately, will never have my perspective. Their healthcare is a given, for the rest of their lives. But I think they fail to remember that they have four daughters, none of whom are doctors, two of whom are currently uninsured. How can they be against this?
Anyway, pulled this from a blog, Authentic Threads, and thought it worth a read.
8 ways reform provides security and stability to those with or without coverage
1. Ends Discrimination for Pre-Existing Conditions: Insurance companies will be prohibited from refusing you coverage because of your medical history.
2. Ends Exorbitant Out-of-Pocket Expenses, Deductibles or Co-Pays: Insurance companies will have to abide by yearly caps on how much they can charge for out-of-pocket expenses.
3. Ends Cost-Sharing for Preventive Care: Insurance companies must fully cover, without charge, regular checkups and tests that help you prevent illness, such as mammograms or eye and foot exams for diabetics.
4. Ends Dropping of Coverage for Seriously Ill: Insurance companies will be prohibited from dropping or watering down insurance coverage for those who become seriously ill.
5. Ends Gender Discrimination: Insurance companies will be prohibited from charging you more because of your gender.
6. Ends Annual or Lifetime Caps on Coverage: Insurance companies will be prevented from placing annual or lifetime caps on the coverage you receive.
7. Extends Coverage for Young Adults: Children would continue to be eligible for family coverage through the age of 26.
8. Guarantees Insurance Renewal: Insurance companies will be required to renew any policy as long as the policyholder pays their premium in full. Insurance companies won’t be allowed to refuse renewal because someone became sick.
Learn more and get details: http://www.WhiteHouse.gov/health-insurance-consumer-protections/
8 common myths about health insurance reform
1. Reform will stop “rationing” - not increase it: It’s a myth that reform will mean a “government takeover” of health care or lead to “rationing.” To the contrary, reform will forbid many forms of rationing that are currently being used by insurance companies.
2. We can’t afford reform: It’s the status quo we can’t afford. It’s a myth that reform will bust the budget. To the contrary, the President has identified ways to pay for the vast majority of the up-front costs by cutting waste, fraud, and abuse within existing government health programs; ending big subsidies to insurance companies; and increasing efficiency with such steps as coordinating care and streamlining paperwork. In the long term, reform can help bring down costs that will otherwise lead to a fiscal crisis.
3. Reform would encourage “euthanasia”: It does not. It’s a malicious myth that reform would encourage or even require euthanasia for seniors. For seniors who want to consult with their family and physicians about end-of life decisions, reform will help to cover these voluntary, private consultations for those who want help with these personal and difficult family decisions.
4. Vets’ health care is safe and sound: It’s a myth that health insurance reform will affect veterans’ access to the care they get now. To the contrary, the President’s budget significantly expands coverage under the VA, extending care to 500,000 more veterans who were previously excluded. The VA Healthcare system will continue to be available for all eligible veterans.
5. Reform will burden small business: It’s a myth that health insurance reform will hurt small businesses. To the contrary, reform will ease the burdens on small businesses, provide tax credits to help them pay for employee coverage and help level the playing field with big firms who pay much less to cover their employees on average.
6. Your Medicare will be cut: It’s myth that Health Insurance Reform would be financed by cutting Medicare benefits. To the contrary, reform will improve the long-term financial health of Medicare, ensure better coordination, eliminate waste and unnecessary subsidies to insurance companies, and help to close the Medicare “doughnut” hole to make prescription drugs more affordable for seniors.
7. You can't keep your own insurance: It’s myth that reform will force you out of your current insurance plan or force you to change doctors. To the contrary, reform will expand your choices, not eliminate them.
8. The government will take control of your bank account: It is an absurd myth that government will be in charge of your bank accounts. Health insurance reform will simplify administration, making it easier and more convenient for you to pay bills in a method that you choose. Just like paying a phone bill or a utility bill, you can pay by traditional check, or by a direct electronic payment. And forms will be standardized so they will be easier to understand. The choice is up to you – and the same rules of privacy will apply as they do for all other electronic payments that people make.
Learn more and get details:
8 Reasons We Need Health Insurance Reform Now
1. Coverage Denied to Millions: A recent national survey estimated that 12.6 million non-elderly adults – 36 percent of those who tried to purchase health insurance directly from an insurance company in the individual insurance market – were in fact discriminated against because of a pre-existing condition in the previous three years or dropped from coverage when they became seriously ill. Learn more: http://www.healthreform.gov/reports/denied_coverage/index.html
2. Less Care for More Costs: With each passing year, Americans are paying more for health care coverage. Employer-sponsored health insurance premiums have nearly doubled since 2000, a rate three times faster than wages. In 2008, the average premium for a family plan purchased through an employer was $12,680, nearly the annual earnings of a full-time minimum wage job. Americans pay more than ever for health insurance, but get less coverage. Learn more: http://www.healthreform.gov/reports/hiddencosts/index.html
3. Roadblocks to Care for Women: Women’s reproductive health requires more regular contact with health care providers, including yearly pap smears, mammograms, and obstetric care. Women are also more likely to report fair or poor health than men (9.5% versus 9.0%). While rates of chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure are similar to men, women are twice as likely to suffer from headaches and are more likely to experience joint, back or neck pain. These chronic conditions often require regular and frequent treatment and follow-up care. Learn more: http://www.healthreform.gov/reports/women/index.html
4. Hard Times in the Heartland: Throughout rural America, there are nearly 50 million people who face challenges in accessing health care. The past several decades have consistently shown higher rates of poverty, mortality, uninsurance, and limited access to a primary health care provider in rural areas. With the recent economic downturn, there is potential for an increase in many of the health disparities and access concerns that are already elevated in rural communities. Learn more: http://www.healthreform.gov/reports/hardtimes
5. Small Businesses Struggle to Provide Health Coverage: Nearly one-third of the uninsured – 13 million people – are employees of firms with less than 100 workers. From 2000 to 2007, the proportion of non-elderly Americans covered by employer-based health insurance fell from 66% to 61%. Much of this decline stems from small business. The percentage of small businesses offering coverage dropped from 68% to 59%, while large firms held stable at 99%. About a third of such workers in firms with fewer than 50 employees obtain insurance through a spouse. Learn more: http://www.healthreform.gov/reports/helpbottomline
6. The Tragedies are Personal: Half of all personal bankruptcies are at least partly the result of medical expenses. The typical elderly couple may have to save nearly $300,000 to pay for health costs not covered by Medicare alone. Learn more: http://www.healthreform.gov/reports/inaction
7. Diminishing Access to Care: From 2000 to 2007, the proportion of non-elderly Americans covered by employer-based health insurance fell from 66% to 61%. An estimated 87 million people - one in every three Americans under the age of 65 - were uninsured at some point in 2007 and 2008. More than 80% of the uninsured are in working families. Learn more: http://www.healthreform.gov/reports/inaction/diminishing/index.html
8. The Trends are Troubling: Without reform, health care costs will continue to skyrocket unabated, putting unbearable strain on families, businesses, and state and federal government budgets. Perhaps the most visible sign of the need for health care reform is the 46 million Americans currently without health insurance - projections suggest that this number will rise to about 72 million in 2040 in the absence of reform. Learn more: http://www.WhiteHouse.gov/assets/documents/CEA_Health_Care_Report.pdf