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There are so many things I wish I could talk about. We’ve had some big changes in our life, and I’m still waiting for some time to pass before I can talk about them. (Before anyone leaps to conclusions, no, I’m not pregnant)

However, in the rest of my life I am struggling to find words. I sit down to write blog posts about mundane things, and suddenly the words disappear as though one of my kids is stealthily hitting the delete button.

Don’t even get me started on my creative writing. I haven’t been able to get much of anything written, though I’ve tried.

Everywhere I’ve turned in the last week, there’s been Jerad. Or at least enough reminders of him that it’s jarred me from my routine. Between the Discovery launch and even Charlie Sheen’s bizarre string of interviews- there have been so many things that I would have wanted to talk to him about or things that I knew he would have been geeking out along with me. For some reason I thought that the dead were supposed to be the ones with unresolved business, not the people they left behind.

It’s almost laughable. I’m crippled by his memory, and he was my biggest champion when it came to my creative work.

Originally published at American Whitney. You can comment here or there.

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I was going to post at length about the Affordable Care Act, but I’ll just sum it up with this:

Don’t repeal it. Republicans say it’s because it isn’t Constitutional, but really- they’re trying to protect insurance company and pharmaceutical profits, because insurance companies and pharmaceuticals make huge donations to campaigns. Largely so that their interests are protected.

If someone says that it’s anti-American to say that a company shouldn’t be able to turn a profit, nobody’s saying that they can’t make a profit. The US is the only country in the first world tier of countries that doesn’t limit the profits that a private insurance company can make. Not all Europeans countries have nationalized health care, and those that don’t treat health care the way that we treat homeowner’s insurance and car insurance- as something that you’re required to carry for your own financial protection.

What isn’t very nice is that every day, average Americans are forced to make decisions about their health based on whether or not they can afford it. Treatable illnesses go unchecked and become something more serious.

Two anecdotes. My father found himself without insurance and COBRA premiums were just too high. So he looked into private insurance for our family. We filled out the paperwork, and they told us that three of us had preexisting conditions and our rates would go up for coverage. These preexisting conditions? My mom and I get migraines. I had a back injury but had completed rehab for it. My sister had ADD. To solve this problem, my dad put me on my school’s bare bones insurance (which essentially just covered visits at their school clinic). To this day, I am grateful that while I was on this insurance that the later back injuries I had occurred at my job, which had an in-house rehab center. If they hadn’t provided that to me free of charge, I know I would have been in big trouble.

Then, Jerad. He had been unemployed and without insurance for years. He was going to school full time and started to get sick regularly. A cold here and there, and a stomach bug with side pains that would keep him down for a weekend. He didn’t have the money to go to a doctor. There were many times that I offered to take him to my doctor and pay for his appointment, but he turned me down. I actually heard him says (many times) that “if I’m still in pain” or “vomiting blood” in X days, then he’d go. Of course, he felt better by then.

He suffered from pancreatitis on and off for the last year- at least that’s what I’m certain of now. He went to a doctor who wanted to run a panel of tests just to confirm it was a stomach bug. Jerad said no (since he couldn’t afford it) and felt better shortly after the trip. That panel probably would have shown he had pancreatitis. Basic medical coverage would have saved his life.

Can’t we send the message that individuals are more important than corporations? That our legislature values the words of the people, not just the companies that will contribute to their campaigns?

Update: On a similar note to Jerad’s story, here’s the story about the death of writer Melissa Hall. Don’t tell me that it’s just the poor who are without insurance. There are self-employed individuals who otherwise make a good living, but can’t get insurance because of the cost to insure someone with a “pre-existing condition.”


I promise, a less ranty post tomorrow. On what? My birthday weekend, of course!

Originally published at American Whitney. You can comment here or there.

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Today has been a mixed bag for me. I’ve been sick, and last night as I drifted off, I realized that today would have been the day that Jerad and I were supposed to go to Glen Ivy to celebrate my birthday and his half birthday. Usually we would go closer to the actual date, but because of school, he wanted to move it up a little.

In some ways I wish I’d kept my appointments- because I could sure use a massage.

I admit, I’m doing much better than most people expect of me. Which makes me feel guilty. As though I should still be wracked with sadness. All I know is that isn’t what Jerad would want for me. Granted, he’d feel bad that I’m not writing much in the way of fiction- but I think he’d be proud of the writing that I’ve done here on my blog.

Also today, the Oldest Kidlet is sick. He climbed into my bed today and said he was going to throw up. I told him he wasn’t, since he didn’t seem like he was ill. But we came down, and he threw up on the carpet. And has thrown up twice since then. I guess I was wrong.

I had just written a paragraph about how the hardest part was telling my son he couldn’t go to school- he really really loves school. No, the hardest part of the day thus far has been cleaning up vanilla flavored vomit (thank you flavored milk alternative) while the Little Kidlet pretended that he needed his shirt off (because the Oldest one threw up on his, and now the Little Guy wasn’t getting any attention).

Thank goodness my brother-in-law is here, so that he could run out to the store for some Gatorade.

At least the vomit is keeping me from dwelling on what today might have been.*

*A sentence I never thought I’d type.

Originally published at American Whitney. You can comment here or there.

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Yes, I know that grammatically it should be “Return to Glen Ivy,” but as my previous post about Glen Ivy was titled “The Spa Day Strikes Back,” I couldn’t resist continuing the Star Wars theme.

As I mentioned six months ago, I go to Glen Ivy twice a year with my best friend. This was our third trip to Glen Ivy together, and our third trip using the cabanas. For us, the cabanas are a must. Not only do you have your cabana to keep your things, and the concierge service, but they keep an eye on your appointment times. No need to track down watches or clocks. You simply get to unwind.

Since our last trip, they replaced the cabana furniture, and I must say I really enjoy the new decor. In the Date Palm cabana, the lounge’s cushion is now a deep rust – very close to the color of their famous clay! The new rug is a great touch, too. I didn’t get to look at all the changes in the other cabanas, but I very much like the new look. (Also, the cushioned lounge was so comfortable that Jerad and I often wondered if we were simply going to fall asleep!)

The cabana staff were Marcus (who we’d met on our first trip) and Ryan. Both possessed the remarkable skill of appearing just when they were needed, without seeming to hover. And both were quite adept at problem solving- but more on that later.

This trip, the only service I had was a 50 minute Swedish massage “Under the Oaks” – which is their outdoor massage area, shaded underneath oak trees and palms. The massage was excellent, and it never fails to amaze me how mentioning that I’m a writer and a stay at home mother of two little kids immediately tells the massage therapists exactly where I need attention. I’m very glad that the weather complied- if it’s too hot, they move the appointments indoor.

I enjoyed my previous massage indoors (as well as other massages I’ve had indoors), but there’s something thoroughly relaxing about the fresh air combined with the actual sounds of nature. The wind through the trees, the sounds of leaves falling. Just wonderful.

We made use of the cabana deck’s salt pool early, which turned out to be good since one of the other groups in the cabanas was a baby shower in the cabana closest to the pool.

I cannot recommend their restaurant, Cafe Sol, enough. The food is light and fresh- and even heavier fare like pizzas or pasta are so fresh that they hardly feel heavy at all. I had the Shrimp Calzone, Jerad had a Lasagna Bread Bowl. Both were delicious. The only downside to our meal was that it was so delicious, that some local bees decided they wanted to eat them as well.

Yes, bees. Carnivorous bees. While it sounds like a bad horror movie, they did have some sweat bees nearby- which liked to eat chicken and apparently my shrimp. They’re not an aggressive bee at all, but when they proved to be extremely interested in my calzone, Ryan made sure that we got a table downstairs at the restaurant where we could enjoy our meal in peace. Many thanks to Ryan for his quick thinking! Also, I can now say that I survived carnivorous bees.

When Jerad had another treatment, I got to use the time for writing. And got a fair amount of work done!

It was a great time. Carnivorous bees aside, the only downside of our trip is that how quiet the cabanas can be depends on the other guests. Next to us, we had the baby shower- who seemed intent on their day at the cabanas be like a day at a Las Vegas Cabana. With music, food and fun. Loud music. Ryan did his best to keep the baby shower quiet, but the women were intent on having their music and ignored him. So please, if you plan on renting the cabana- remember that this is a spa. Not poolside at the Palms. People come for peace and quiet. (Again, I in no way fault Glen Ivy. Ryan did all that he could to reign in the women- but they were simply rude and clearly misunderstood what a spa is about)

At the end of the night, Marcus asked us which we preferred, the summer or winter at Glen Ivy. I admit, I don’t have a preference- each time of year has its charms. It’s warm during the summer, which allows one to take in Club Mud or enjoy a massage “Under the Oaks” – both experiences I enjoy. However, it’s blissfully quiet during the winter, which allows for true relaxation and reflection.

I’m already counting the days until January, when we’ll be back enjoying some R&R at Glen Ivy!

Originally published at American Whitney. You can comment here or there.


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July 2011

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