A weblog about all the inconveniences we encounter in everyday life. Diapers, junk food, cruelty to animals, hostile people, rude cell phone behavior, cancer, terrible customer service (also known as "why the hell am I giving this company my money?"), ignorance, parking, bad spelling, family disturbances, office politics, death (the biggest inconvenience of all) and more. Thanks for saving me thousands of dollars in therapy by reading my blog. It might even make you laugh.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

HIPAA has gotten out of control

HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) has gotten out of control, or at least the way many people and most institutions carry it out has.

I am disgusted that privacy practices prevent people (ooh nice alliteration, Lor) from getting the proper care and from families and friends finding out important information about loved ones -- more importantly from giving information to health care providers.

I can't go into too many details but we are trying to help a friend who's in the hospital and the people there are SO rude to not only us but the family members trying to get (and give) information. You'd think they would be happy that the person in the hospital has people who care, are concerned, want to help. I understand there is a line in protecting someone's privacy, but when someone is at a point where they can't reasonably care for themselves or communicate with doctors about their medical history, medications, where they even were the day before or what happened to bring them to the hospital, I think that privacy should drop down a bit on the scale.

Monday, September 29, 2008

organized hate

I don't think anyone reads this anymore, which is fine -- gives me more freedom to post what I really think anyway.

I watched a video tonight on the web about churches in California actively organizing to support a proposition (Proposition 8) that would outlaw gay marriage. And I have to wonder: When did Jesus's message of love turn into one of hate?

It makes me sad to think that with all the unloved children the world, the disease, famine, wars, pollution of the earth, that so-called religious people care so much about this issue that they are actually campaigning against people marrying each other. It's not even a religious issue to begin with, because in our country (not in all countries, btw) the state determines who is allowed to marry. Why does a church care so much about this issue?

There are lots of mean-spirited things I could say about the Catholic church in particular, and also about people who would be considered right wing or fundamentalist. But really what it comes down to is I just don't understand how Jesus's message got so lost in all of this. What I remember most from the bible is "LOVE one another." Secondarily I also remember turn the other cheek and Jesus saying that God is the one who judges us, but we should not judge each other or throw the first stone unless we are free from sin ourselves (which, of course, none of us are).

My love for others in particular is tested when I am trying to love those who espouse so much hate, greed and lack of compassion for others. So I will meditate on that and try to find love in my heart, because sometimes I feel very angry. Mostly, though, I feel sad, when I think of my gay friends who love each other so much, who are committed to each other, who are loving people in general, and who are subject to hate and discrimination by religious zealots and by society at large. This makes me really sad, and try as I may, I can't understand it, because the God I learned aboutgrowing up and the God I know is a God of love. I guess I was lucky that in my church we learned about love and acceptance and not about hating others and judging them.

I am going to spend some time reading "Affirmations of a Dissenter" by Bishop Joseph Sprague this week, as my sister has recommended, because I need some spiritual guidance. I am going to try to remember the stories told to me years ago by members of my church about the Methodists who protested at the national conference, protested the church's treatment of gay people, and cried aloud as the leaders of our institution denied the acceptance of gay people again and again. I am going to try to remember that I am not alone in my grief that Jesus's message has become so exploited, so damaged, so diluted and twisted that we persecute our brothers and sisters in the name of God.

Monday, August 04, 2008

why it doesn't matter whether there is global warming or not

I am so sick of hearing people argue about whether global really exists and whether we are causing it or not.

I haven't written on this blog in two years -- didn't realize so much time had passed but time flies when you're having chemo.

But back to the global warming dilemma. I keep hearing from scientific types that scientists have proven that global warming either doesn't exist or we, the humans, are not causing it. I am not a scientist, but I read a lot, and most of what I read says we are contributing to the acceleration of global warming, and that we can help to slow it down by reducing our carbon emissions.

But the truth is, people, it just doesn't matter! There are so many other reasons for us to reduce our reliance upon fossil fuels. We don't need global warming as a reason. If it's the kick in the ass that gets people moving, so be it. But what is the point of arguing over it? There is another problem caused by fossil fuels, and I can guarantee it is affecting you and your children with every breath you take. POLLUTION.

Even though we've made a lot of our air in this country LOOK cleaner, it's still very dirty. And so are our rivers, lakes, oceans. (Whoa, are the oceans dirty, and getting dirtier by the minute). Pollution killing the oceans and wildlife of the oceans, the very oceans we rely upon for LIFE.

Here are two very simple things you can do TODAY: 1) Stop using plastic bags! This is such an easy one. Why don't more people do it? Just stop using them. All together. It might take a week or a couple of months to get into the habit, but get a few cloth bags from your local supermarket for a few bucks, and start using them. After you unload them each time, put them by the front door or in the garage or on the front ca seat, somewhere you won't forget them.

In case you've been living under a rock, plastic is made from petroleum. Petroleum-based plastics are not biodegradable, they create a mess when recycled, they're just plain harmful to all life, AND they're not even necessary!

If you need more information to spur you to action, go to www.earthresource.org They've got a lot of information there about just how bad plastic bags are and scary statistics about how big of a problem this is.

2) Stop buying junky little items that are made in China and other countries that have even worse environmental manufacturing standards than the US does. Better yet, think about your buying practices, and consider every single item that you buy. Where was it made? What is it made from? How much waste will be created from this item? We need to change our buying practices to support environmentally friendly companies. Don't eat at restaurants that use styrofoam carry-out containers (and ask the ones that do to stop using this extremely harmful substance -- there are alternatives! Tell them why you are not eating there until they do).

I've got a lot more, and all of them are things I am trying to do in my daily life. (If they aren't, I'll say so, and tell you why).

A friend of mine has a swap once or twice a year where everyone brings a whole bunch of items they don't want, including never-worn clothing and household goods, and swaps them. Everyone leaves happy! Use Freecycle, use Neighborrow, reuse whenever possible. Does your baby really need all new clothes? Is it worth the impact on the environment? Think of the concept of the Seventh Generation and how every item you buy will have an impact on the world for seven generations to come!

I get discouraged at times -- just yesterday I was horrified when we were leaving a state park to see trash strewn EVERYWHERE, hundreds of plastics and papers and junk all over the lawns and parking lot. It was pretty unbelievable. I don't understand what is in people's minds when they throw their trash on the ground and leave it there.

But I also have faith that there are so many people working to better the environment and we CAN do it. So please join me, join we. Let's do it.


Monday, August 21, 2006

Our Goat

We walked up the mountain one day with friends for dinner. Fredi says we didn't really walk up the mountain, but believe me, my fellow Americans, we walked up a mountain for dinner. It took about an hour, so we didn't go the whole way up. But it is the way back down that I want to tell you about, because on the way back down we got a goat.

We didn't mean to get a goat. I suppose the goat really got us. (I wonder where that expression comes from, "I got your goat.") Suddenly when we were almost down to the main street a goat joined us and told us, "Meh, meh, meh." I think she was trying to say, "I'm lost," or "I'm hungry." Or maybe she was trying to say to us, "You're stupid." I don't know.

In any case, we could not, I repeat, could not get rid of her. But we needed to get rid of her, because we were going down to the main road in and out of the valley where, in all likelihood, if left to her own devices, she would be killed by a passing car. Or if she followed us the whole way home we'd have to explain to Fredi's parents that we brought them a goat. And as much as they love us, I don't think they would like the gift of a goat.

So for 45 minutes we tried all we could think of. At first we just shooed her away and said, in various languages and with varying degrees of distaste, "Go away, Ms. Goat." She didn't listen. I suspect she understood, but didn't care. Then Fredi tried to trick her by going in a fence and jumping over. But the gaps were too large and she just came right back through with him. She came up to us and rubbed her horns against us and said, "Meh meh," and then when we really ran at her and tried to chase her away she reeled up in the air on her hind legs and seemed ready to attack. Or play. Hard to tell with a goat.

Then I went up the hill and she followed me. I brought her into a field where she nibbled at the grass. I hid behind a big concrete slab. And it worked. It almost worked. She was content, nibbling away at the grass. I remained very still. I looked for a getaway. But it was too late. She raised her snout up in the air and sniffed for me and, sure as sugar, found me before I could escape.

So we did what any responsible citizen would do. We called the cops. First our friend Marcel called and told them, "We have a goat. Help!" And they basically said, "Screw you. It's your problem. So you've got a goat. We have better things to do," in their polite, cute, Swiss way. But truly, they did not have better things to do. This is the tiny capital of a tiny canton in a tiny country. What could they possibly have to do?

Apparently a woman's touch was needed, so Marcel's girlfriend, Nina, called back and suddenly the police arrived. Of course Fredi knew one of the officers. Fredi knows someone everywhere we go in Switzerland. Even Marcel, who lives in Switzerland, agrees with me and says, "Fredi knows everyone."

Fredi and his friend the police officer shook hands and laughed about our goat. Somehow it had been discovered where this particular goat belonged, and we were free to go. We continued on down the hill back home. Meanwhile the police put on their flashing lights and chased our goat back home to where she belonged. What they did with her once they got there, unfortunately, we will never know. But we will never forget our goat.

Sunday, August 13, 2006


I'm gonna take a rope and put it over her shoulders and head for the river and practice on boulders. And when she's real good I'm gonna build a big ramp and me and that bovine gonna vacate this camp. Fly now across the hills. Everyone's watching, gonna give them a thrill.

So pound up that ramp, your hooves sound like thunder. I'm Zeus, you're Pegasus. We're a six-legged wonder. It's our key to success; we'll be famous world over. I'll make lots of money and you'll have sweet clover. Fly now across the sky, fetlocks-a-flappin'. It's just you and I.

Bessie part 2

And I won't tell the airforce about my schemes. I know they'd abuse you for their flying machines. And the farmers will curse me when their cows take off from the fields. No meat for their markets, no milk for thir meals. Fly now across the hills. Everyone's watching, gonna give them a thrill.

So don't let me down, oh, bovine, be risen. Come on, sweet Bessie, be just like my vision. Don't back away Bessie, if you pull I'll push. And we'll weave a nice sine wave up over the bush.

Bessie part 3

Fly now across the hills fetlocks a-flappin' but you're standing still.
Fly now up in the sky Bessie sweet Bessie it's just you and I
(Lyrics by Issa, better known as Jane Siberry)

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Saturday, July 15, 2006

We didn't need the National Weather Service to tell us this was a tornado!

On Wednesday afternoon I was having a little lie down. Suddenly I heard a howling and banging noise and some other strange sounds coming from the window that I could not identify. I instinctively moved away from the bedroom window, and then against good sense, but compelled by curiosity, I moved towards the front window of our apartment.

When I looked out to the street through the rattling window, I saw pieces of aluminum siding and tree branches flying through the air, level with our third-floor window and higher, in spiral patterns. I stared for a few seconds, fascinated, and then suddenly it was over. I remember at some point during it all I heard sirens, but not warning sirens as far as I know. I don't even think we have those here.

I got dressed and went downstairs and saw people in our courtyard picking up tree branches. What a wind storm, I thought. Then I walked to the front of the building, where I was able to take in the full picture. The man who works at the pharmacy downstairs was standing outside, along with just about the rest of the town's population, as far as I could tell, and I asked him, foolishly, "Was it a tornado?" "Yeah," he replied, as we all looked around us in disbelief.

The street was filled with people, trees and debris, but the silence was palatable at first. People conversed quietly and soon the sirens started in earnest. The National Weather Service took a day or two to offically decide what we already knew, that this was, indeed, a tornado, and a class F2 tornado with winds up to 125 MPH at that! Fortunately, no one was seriously hurt or killed. We sustained no damage at all to our apartment (thanks, Rockefellers, for ensuring our building was so well constructed with masonry and good workmanship). Here are a couple of the many photos I took.

Tornado in Sleepy Hollow!

another tornado pic

The sidewalk in front of our building.

another tornado pic

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Thoughts on Lucy and the Natural World

As promised, here are some pictures of Lucy. I think she is gone now, as I haven't seen her in a few weeks. I love the photo of her flapping her wings. She is sitting in one of her favorite places, an old tire that would be completely exposed during low tide.

It's so beautiful down by the river, and it makes me think about the natural world around us. I have been thinking a lot about the environment lately and reading about it. I am worried. The current presidential administration is quietly putting into place policies that are going to endanger our environment for generations to come. This is not a partisan issue, so please don't take it that way. And it shouldn't be a partisan issue. It affects everyone in the world.

To me the environment and nuclear proliferation at the two biggest issues affecting us right now. World health and nutrition and terrorism are certainly right up there, but they won't matter one whit if we blow ourselves up or destroy the planet through other means.

But it is not hopeless. There are so many things we can do, if only we would bring this issue more to the forefront of American politics. It would be better if we made this happen sooner rather than the later, because by the time it becomes the only issue it will be too late. I really encourage you to join organizations like the Sierra Club and others that are lobbying for environmental protections. I encourage you to look at your daily life and see what you can do differently to use less and create less waste. Educate yourself.

I do not claim to be anywhere NEAR perfect or even very good in this area, but I am not going to shut my ears to it either. Because for every negative effect we have on the environment, if we put the effort into it, we can make a positive effect to offset the damage we are doing. Better yet, don't make the negative impact to begin with.

For example, I did not know until recently that air travel is a major cause of air pollution, contributing to global warming by creating more greenhouse gases. So people are pledging to reduce less air travel. This feels very difficult to me, because my family is spread out all over. Apparently one round trip international flight can create as much greenhouse gas as a year of driving your car!

I will try to limit my trips if possible. But if I don't, it is not hopeless. I can pledge to offset the carbon emissions caused during my trip by making a donation to organizations that are helping to remove CO2 from the air in many ways, such as planting trees, getting rid of environmentally destructive power sources and more. For more information about this, visit here: