Friday, July 3, 2009

Too funny to not put up here - remember this???

I just had to post this video - I found it again on a list of "Best Moments in TV Dance History" and I think it's hysterical. I love Paul Rudd - he is awesome!!! And while Justin may not have been my favorite N-Sync-er (that honor belongs to Lance Bass "I love you Lance!!!") he has proven that he has quite the sense of comedy and can make fun of himself.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

You make it sound like a bad thing!

I had been waiting to see when the big bad almighty insurance industry would jump into the fray of the health care debate and proclaim their righteous indignation and hoot and holler about what a horrible plan it is and how it will never work. And now I know. It has arrived. I caught this article on - about how the president has to "line up" against them and their rhetoric and arguments against it. I love this quote he has though - "If private insurers say that the marketplace provides the best quality health care ... then why is it that the government, which they say can't run anything, suddenly is going to drive them out of business?" I love it! Personally, I don't care if the insurance industry does get run out of business. They certainly aren't helping anybody but themselves right now. They long ago forgot that the object of insurance is to spread the risk around, not avoid it completely, which is what they do when they cherry pick who they want to write a policy to, or implement "pre existing condition limitations" or go back and try to deny claims after they've paid them, or try to dictate over the heads of the doctors what medicines they can and can't prescribe for patients. In addition, the argument that the 2 cannot coexist together is nonsense. Britain has the NHS and they still have private health insurance. Canada has it's national health plan and private health plans as well. Granted, these are on a much smaller scale because the private health insurance industry is not nearly as big there as it is here. However, it does exist.

I hate the Republicans insistence on everybody keeping what they have now, and "preserving choice" - I don't think they really mean choice of health insurance, because frankly they're all pretty much the same. Bad customer service, bad claims service, runaround and red tape - you've dealt with one you've dealt with them all. I think they are worried that people won't get to go see the same doctors. I think that's really all people care about - can I see my doctor and will it cost me an arm and a leg? That's HEALTH CARE not HEALTH INSURANCE. We are getting the 2 things confused and we shouldn't. Someone I used to work with claimed that a national health care plan would not work because the doctors wouldn't be on board with it and would not see patients who had it. I beg to differ. If a government run plan has enough people on it that it is "running the insurance companies out of business" (which they all of a sudden are so afraid of) then the doctors will quickly realize that the only way to get any money at all is to accept patients on the government plan -whatever it may be. Sure they may make less money, but if they are only in it for the money maybe they shouldn't be in it at all.

I do recognize the argument that Medicaid is broken and if this ends up being an expansion of that then it will not be good because the reimbursement rates are so low. That's a problem with Medicaid I believe - any plan that responds to rising costs by shrinking reimbursement rates is profoundly screwed up. Do away with that and base it off the "usual and customary" rates that insurance companies are used to using and the problem goes away! Easy peasy nice and cheesy. I wish I could be consulted for things like this, I would have solved it ages ago. HAHA.

Also, I hate how Republicans emphasize personal responsibility because that does not even begin to encompass all the people in this country like my daughter who were born with chronic, severe, and highly complex and expensive medical conditions that no amount of healthy eating or exercise will erase. I don't want her to grow with this much uncertainty about her future. She should not be pigeonholed into a particular job or employer because it is one of the few that still offers comprehensive health insurance that will allow her to see her cardiologists, get her meds, and heaven help us, get a heart transplant if she needs it. No one knows how long kids can go with the Fontan circulation that she has, I hope it never happens but I would not be surprised if one day she ends up on that organ donation waiting list for a heart. How on earth is it fair to deny someone like her access to the care she needs to satisfy some company's bottom line? It's not!

Most of you will not understand this last bit, but those of you who are LDS will - many of you vote Republican and are against this. Many of you also spout off about "why should I help someone else when I have worked so hard for what I have and to provide for my own family". Think about this - that kind of attitude is precisely why there is no more United Order or Law of Consecration. What do you think those things were if not all of us pulling together for the greater good and helping out those who needed it more than us? I am a "have-not" but I work just as hard as many of the "haves", why should I and my family be left out in the cold because someone else thinks they shouldn't have to?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

You're not putting that there!

Funny title no? I heard today about how the daughter of Alaska's governor - Bristol Palin has been going around talking about the issue of teen pregnancy and how abstinence is the best thing, and something I've always thought is that there are things missing from arguments on both sides of the issue. Those who argue for "abstinence only" are leaving out information that needs to be said, and those who argue for "safer sex" are leaving things out as well.

I was once a teenager, and growing up as a member of the LDS faith has taught me that contrary to the "safer sex" school of thought - teenage hormones are not always out of control and they can be controlled, and there are thousands, no, hundreds of thousands of teens who successfully abstain from sexual activity not just throughout their teen years, but until they are married, so to me, anyone who says that it's not realistic is not telling the truth, because I have seen it time and time again amongst those I know. Is everyone able to do it? No, of course not, but I think there are some things that can be done to help increase the odds of success.

1. The idea of abstinence definitely has to be something the teen WANTS to do for themselves. If it is merely imposed on them by outside sources - parents, school, whatever, - they will be less likely to follow through with it. Teens can be pretty rebellious so if something is imposed that they don't really care too much about, they're probably not going to do it - even if on a purely cerebral, intellectual level they "get" the good reasons for it.

2. Once a teen has decided they WANT to go that route, then it becomes very important that their friends and acquaintances are aware of it and support them and their decision. If there is pressure from friends and those they date to abandon their stated goal, then they will be likely to give in at some point. If they hang around with people who share the same goals, then it will be a lot less difficult.

3. Any situations where it could become difficult to stick to this decision need to be consiously avoided - if this means putting off dating when it seems as though everyone else is doing it then so be it. There's a lot worse things in this world than being single in High School. High School boys are pretty uniformly not worth it anyway so why bother? Junior High even more so! When I was in high school, I would go to my boyfriend's house, but his family did not share the same ideals as mine, so even if his parents were there (and they usually were) they didn't care what he did, so they would stay in the living room and what would we do? Go in his room and shut the door. RECIPE FOR DISASTER! Had his parents been a bit stricter and said "no you either stay here with us or keep the door open" I doubt we would have done some of the things we did. Staying out too late, being by yourself, etc. When you've got raging hormones going on, all these things need to be watched and avoided.

4. This list by no means excludes the "safe sex" options. Another component that is crucial for success - or at least a better failure - is a good relationship with parents or other "authority figures". I was lucky that I didn't have any "unintended consequences" in High School because I did not have a good relationship with my parents and I did not go to them and say "hey I need to go get birth control pills" or something like that. Because I saw it as a failure on my part to stick with my goal, I thought that any move on my part to get condoms or pills, or whatever would be like admitting to myself that I was going to do it anyway, and why bother trying not to. I think if my relationship was better with my parents and I wasn't so scared of how they would react I might have not felt the way I did.

Looking back on my life - if I had avoided the first 2 boyfriends I had, or if I had been able to avoid the "dangerous" situations with them, life would have turned out differently.

Monday, April 27, 2009

My midlife crisis

Okay so I turned 30 last week - gah I feel so OLD!!!! And 1 day before I turned 30 I started a new job. That part is a YAY, but it's for at least 5 bucks an hour less than what I was making before. I knew I'd have to come down a lot because I worked at KPMG, and the Big 4 do pay their admin staff pretty much at the top of the payscale for things like that. I was still broke but now I REALLY am broke, but I knew I couldn't expect that again. My new job is as the receptionist (blah) at UAA (University of Alaska Anchorage) in the School of Nursing. Good thing about that is that the people seem nice so far, and it's not stressful, and as one of my friends kindly reminded me - it will be a well funded department so there should be some job security there. Another perk is that as an employee of the University I can take up to 6 credits per semester (up to 12 per year) for free (which is very nice) so it's got me thinking about going back to school. When I was last in school for real - I was attending BYU and studying GIS (Geographic Information Systems) which is just playing on computers and making and analyzing maps - it's actually incredibly interesting in my opinion since I LOVE maps and am good at navigating and hardly ever get lost. HOWEVER I did not finish my degree and apparently GIS is one of those things where you have to constantly use it or else you can't ever find work using it. I have been out of school for 7 years and have not used it in the work arena since a summer internship in 2001 - the year I got married.

So keeping that in mind, and the economy being what it is, I have been thinking about what I want to do with my life - what I want to be when I grow up if you will. Fascinating as it is, GIS isn't as high paying as other things - and I've been broke for so long I'm being a bit mercenary here. With the economy in the crapper, I've been checking into things that are pretty "recession proof" and not that anyone's interested here is what I've been tossing around in my head and my thoughts on them:
1. Accounting - yes I worked for a Big 4 firm, and Yes I saw how worked to the bone people were - but I also heard that they were well paid, and the internal firm documents on their career site bore this out - they had a graph showing how within a few years a new associate would have their salary doubled there - and here in AK I'd bet dollars to donuts that would be nearly 6 figures. Then do the math on the likely jump for managers and partners and it's highly lucrative after you've been in it a while. Plus I'm very detail oriented and anal so it might not be too HORRIBLE....
2. Law School - I've always been one to disagree with EVERYTHING. I always am arguing something so perhaps this would be a natural. This would be one of the closest things cause I would just need to FINISH my degree somehow in whatever and then just take the LSAT and go to Law School - however competition is fierce for that and my GPA isn't that hot thanks to Freshman year and the semester I was engaged and thought it would be a great idea to take 18 credits...all my other semesters had well over a 3.0 GPA except those 3. Plus there are no Law Schools in Alaska and it's one of those professions where you can't do the education online.

Now come the strange ones (to me at any rate):
3. Pharmacy school - I would have to take a ton of prequisite math and science courses, and somehow find several related letters of recommendation - perhaps volunteer at Providence? However this is another one with STIFF competition to get in, and there are none in Alaska but Creighton University has the only distance option so MAYBE I could still do it here. But for those that do it, you have nearly 6 figure income right off the bat, so that is attractive. Plus being in the medical arena it is recession proof because people get sick and need meds no matter what the economy is doing.
4. Ultrasonography technician - again it's medically related so it should continue to have growth and be recession proof. Plus, these guys make GOOD money - in the neighorhood of at least 50K to 80K - nothing to sneeze at I'd say. But again, Alaska has no program. There are 3 distance options but it looks like to be the most competitive I would need to already have a Radiography tech license or something like that (which UAA actually does have so maybe I could do that first and then continue my education with this). This program also doesn't always require a 4 year degree, lots are certificate programs or Associates programs.
5. Radiography tech - see above, but Alaska does have a program, but it's highly competitive, but it is an Associates. They make good money, but not as much as Ultrasonographers.
6. Nursing - but I HATE needles and blood and bodily fluids...ugh...makes me wanna barf. But they have the most flexible schedules and they are well paid - at least here in Alaska. But again, highly competitive to get into the programs. If I did this, I would want to definitely stay pediatric and specialize in pedatric cardiac care so I could be on the other side of the hospital room and being the one telling parents and kids that hey "you can do this!!! I've been where you are and it will turn out" cause I honestly have been in their shoes with Zoe. In fact, when she was in the infant ICU at Seattle Childrens, one of her first nurses the first couple nights had been a cardiac nurse for a while before she went to the infant ICU and I tell ya, James and I just PUMPED her for information about everything she knew, and it was so great. She was the best. And I don't remember her name now, but I do remember that.
7. Paralegal - Legal related but definitely not as highly paid - around 40 to 50K I would think is the general range. However they get to do the tasks that the lawyers don't want to do like all the research and stuff, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE to find things out and research and make lists and play in databases and stuff. UAA has a certificate for this but you have to earn it in conjunction with another degree, it's not standalone.

So the bottom line is I'm in a quandary and I don't know what I want to be when I grow up!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Egregious??? I'll show you egregious!

Last week, I heard some FABULOUS news! The Congenital Heart Futures Act was introduced in both houses of Congress. For those who don't know, this Act seeks to recognize that Congenital Heart Defects are the most common birth defect, promote awareness, create a registry of defects to aid doctors and patients, and a whole host of other people find out more about the defects, and best practices. It also seeks extra funding for research from the National Institutes of Health and the CDC. Worthy worthy goals I'd say, especially for something that is responsible for more deaths than all forms of childhood cancer combined, and roughly 1 out of every 100 babies being born with one - 40,000 per year. Thanks to better treatments, more and more kids are surviving to adulthood. Surviving but not necessarily thriving - check out this blog to see a personal story of why they're not necessarily thriving.
Anyway, I got a shocking wakeup call tonight when I saw this post on a heart blog I read. Here's the link -
I didn't comment on it, but I gotta say THE SHAME!!!! HOW DARE YOU CALL THIS EGREGIOUS!!!! As a mom - this got my hackles up, especially as a heart mom, and how personal this issue is to me. I WANT people to know more about heart defects! It shocks me that no one knows about it! We don't have a Michael J. Fox, a Susan G. Komen foundation, or any number of other celebrities throwing their weight behind this. My husband thinks I'm ridiculous, but I find myself sometimes hoping that other people will find themselves in the position that I have been in because then there will be 1 more family that knows about this! Of course I don't really, but hopefully you understand my point and how I just want other people to know what this is like and how desperately we need more awareness, and more funding for research. I have never seen a Public Service Announcement on TV about it, there is not a Heart Defects Awareness Day or Week on a National Level that is really recognized everywhere (Yes I know there is a Heart Defects Awareness Week and Day on Valentine's Day, but at this point it's not really taken root and it's kind of grass roots still).
Anyway, to anyone that reads this - please please please let your Representative and Senator know that you support the Congenital Heart Futures Act, and they should too.
1 person's pork spending is another's life and death struggle apparently, and hopefully there are enough of us who care that this thing can pass - if not this session then next!


Saturday, February 28, 2009

Chocolate Nirvana

I didn't get to go to the Anchorage Blogger meet up yesterday sponsored by Scribbit so I decided to stop at the Modern Dwellers Chocolate Lounge and get a cup of drinking chocolate. Lest you think this was mere hot chocolate, let me correct that erroneous idea. No no no...drinking chocolate is about as far from that as you can imagine. It's like if you took a bar of really high quality chocolate, melted it, poured it into a cup and drank it. It's thick, rich, ohso divine....ohhh. For those who have read them - in the old Agatha Christie mystery books, her detective Hercule Poirot drank chocolate, now I know what it was. As I drove home, ingesting my chocolate and trying to get the last swigs of it out of the cup, I thought it was the closest you could get to having chocolate intravenously fed. It was absolute I must be left to my cravings.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

CHD Awareness Week - Post 6

I hope I haven't caused any overload this week - but I know how important this topic is to a lot of people. I get so caught up sometimes in Zoe and how she's doing, I sometimes don't realize the seriousness of what she's living with. She's done so well with her surgeries and if you were to look at her, you would never realize that there was anything wrong. I love to read about other heart kids online, and I love the support group I'm a member of, and it serves as a reality check for me sometimes to hear about other kids who haven't been so lucky. It scares me sometimes, but although I am optimistic, I do need to keep my feet on the ground. Am I assured that she will live a long and full life? No. The oldest people who have had her surgeries are only a little bit older than me (so early 30's). No one really knows how long a heart can function with only half of it working. We know that she will live to adulthood, but beyond that who knows? And who knows what new treatments and surgical procedures will be invented between now and then? (Provided enough research funding is provided). Some of the things are pretty scary though - stories of kids collapsing and dying when they seemed to be doing so well, they only had to see their cardiologist once a year. Kids who don't make it through surgery - I'm very very lucky that I have my girl and I try to not let a day go by that I don't appreciate that fact.