Thursday, December 30, 2010


I had been writing a reflection for the year 2010, but this sums up nicely, without me having to type anything!  I got hooked on these folks in the Spring, they say it for me.

Also thanks to my kids, husband, franks, helmuths, music, pratts, siblings, outlaws, czechs and friends for making it  rich & worth it.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Bad Mom

During most of December my family has had the flu.  I have not had the flu, and I could say that it was my superior immune system, but I got a flu shot, and it worked.  The flu takes ages to recover from, it is hard to breathe, you can't sleep, you have low energy, and food tastes funny.  I wondered why the very cute packages of chocolate from the advent calendar were piling up on the counter in the kitchen.  I finally put them in a dish, one for each child.  They weren't too sick to open the little doors, but they weren't in the mood to eat the candy!  Could a kid ever be too sick for one piece of chocolate a day?  Could two children be that sick at the same time?
As the mother of these people who are not eating their sweets, what am I supposed to do?  I was thinking I would tell them that they had to eat them, as if they were lima beans.  As soon as they are done with the Halloween candy, I'll make them eat the Christmas candy, in time for Easter.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Bear Prints for Jim

The world is full of mysteries, some are more mysterious than others.  Animal prints aren't very mysterious or miraculous, and yet, they are a sign that something was there and now it isn't.    I was reminded of this, looking at these photos, and wondered why I would even be moved in the moment to take them:  They catch my eye, like a magic trick.  The animal is gone (in the case of the bear, not far ahead of me) and while I'm looking down, the creature is pulling away from me.

Camel print in Sinai Desert, Egypt

Black bear print, Malakoff Diggins SP,  California
Yesterday a man traveled ahead who has left as many tracks as a man can.  Tracks of Peace, and Love, Compassion and Grace.  As I look down to marvel at what he left, he is pulling ahead of me, just over the horizon.  I know he is there, I just can't see him yet.  I hope to follow.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I'm not the Only One

It seems I'm not the only one who has been thinking about the quality of Christmas music.
Here is an article from NPR:

Annoying Songs for Christmas

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Smoochin' Santa

Christmas provides people who love music, hours of festive listening and music making.  It also provides us agonizing listening experiences in long grocery lines.  For every inspiring, sensational Christmas song that echos through concert halls across the world this season, there are also those unfortunate tunes that litter the easy-listening radio tracks.

It is one of the latter tunes that was confusing to me as a young person, and by young, I mean until I was 33, which was last year.  

There is something virtuous and enchanting about Christmas (besides the commercialism, and pregnant-virgin-teen), so I was righteously upset by "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus". Did someone in the 1950's think that it was okay to spin the story of Santa: twinkly eyed, bowl full of jelly, tarnished with soot?  

How could it be that Santa would be cheating on Mrs. Claus with the singer's mother?  The thought frightened and shocked me!  Would Santa really come to a kid's house, with toys and Christmas cheer, while the reindeer waited on the roof-top, prancing and pawning their hoofs, and kiss someone else's wife?  Besides the song just being bad, to me, it was unethical, and messes up Christmas.

I've come to my senses, the song is still terrible, but in a moment of clarity last year, I figured out why this song is even allowed to be a Christmas song.   Mommy is kissing Santa, because Santa is really the dad, dressed up as Santa!  AH-HA!!!  I have been known for thinking outside the box, but I missed the point of this song for three decades.

There is still so many things wrong with it, the main one being, that if you are a smart kid, or smarter than me, you could tell there is no such thing as Santa just from this song, but I've come to realize that it is not unethical.  I still think it should be banned for the sake of believing, smart, children everywhere.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Baby Sitter

Addi, Emma, & Baby 
This is my sister, and my dog.  The dog loves my sister more than anyone in the whole world.  The dog is small, noisy, and weird, but for some reason she has the personality of a real dog, which I like! I guess she wanted to be right in the middle of the action, or wanted to sit on the baby's lap?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Magazine Aspirations

Thursday I found a book in the mystery section at the library which was recommended to me.  Usually if a book is recommendable, it is also checked out and I have to wait in line for it.   It was sitting on the shelf waiting for me to pick it up, and check it out.

I recently read the top 100 books the BBC thinks are the best loved books.  I have read 65 of them, which to me, seem a lot!  I have read hundreds of books in my life, simply for the joy of a good story.  The book I picked up, however, I am not sure if I can read.  The book is An Instance of the Fingerpost.

As I was checking the book out, I told the librarian, that lately I've had magazine aspirations in regards to reading.  This book might be 80 magazines long!  With the hustle of life, kids to raise, parties to go to, cards to send out, gifts to buy, trips to plan, cookies to bring, socks to match, and detail upon detail to tend to, a 685 page book might not be in my near future.  If I renew the book, I can only have it 6 weeks!  That is NEXT year.

There was a time when I could read without interruption, for years.  Now I can not.  I am having to let my love of reading sit up on the shelf for a while.  Someday my kids will move away, and I won't have so much to do,  and I'll read all the long books I didn't get to read in my 30's, and miss my skinny, soft-faced, school aged children.

I'm going to try to read the book anyway, it has got to be better than a magazine, or even 80 of them.  All I have to do it stop blogging and heft the book into my lap, easy, right?

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Sponge Bob Boy Pants

I took my 10 year old son to a Christmas party at a hotel in town.  I took him instead of my husband because we had nightly choir performances for a week, and I hadn't seen my kids all week.  Before dinner we visited the toy store and the book store, and I just enjoyed watching the boy who is leaving childhood faster than he knows, look at wind up toys, science kits, plushies,  bouncy-balls, and books.

He stood in the buffet line and talked to all the grown-ups, answering their questions without fear at the party.  He ate two heaping platefuls of lasagna, and washed it town with a cup of tea (or two).  He engaged all the folks at our table with fun commentary on the books he is reading, and the projects he is working on.

As we left, in the hotel bar, was a Celtic band.  He stopped and one man gave him a drum lesson, and let him sit in on two songs.  Their table was strewn with bar food and empty beer glasses, and they slapped him on the back and told him 'good job'.  He even got a penny whistle in exchange for a tune next time!  Overall it was a dream date to go on with my son.

I left the hotel with a smile, thinking of the time, knowing it was meaningful for both of us.  I was also smiling with a laugh in my belly remembering the quiet thing he told me while we were eating, in between his very grown-up conversations.  He leaned in, and told me quietly (which is a feat for any boy of ten: quiet):
Mom, there was this Spongebob where Patrick the starfish ate his pants, then he burped up the pocket and wiped his mouth with it, then ate the pocket.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

The Earth is Not Made out of Trees

What is insurance?  Insurance is a service provided, wherein you pay  monthly, to insure that if some calamity befalls you, that your life won't be destroyed by the high cost and devastating effects of of illness/floods/car accidents/fire.  If everyone pays a bit, the statistics are that some will need more, and others will need less, averaging the cost overall.

The concept of insurance seems to have been lost in the EXTREME cost of healthcare in our country.  Health care is so expensive, in large part due to the corrupt insurance companies, that insurance insures our family against very little.  Let me explain:

Our family has health insurance through my husband's job.  We also pay premiums, high co-pays for doctor visits, and have a high deductible.  We do this so that we can keep the direct cost to our family and to my husband's company as low as possible, and yet it is still very very expensive.  We also do other things to keep our health care costs down.  We eat healthy food, get plenty of exercise, sleep 8 hours a night, eat broccoli, and drink clean water.

In September, our daughter injured herself riding her bike.  She required a trip to the local ER, morphine, an ambulance ride, another big city ER,  pediatric surgery, a hospital stay, a catheter, pain meds and 3 weeks of recovery.  This excursion cost $20,000.

The whole time it was happening, yes, I was worried about my daughter, but also, I was consumed with the cost and our insurance.  It has been my experience as the mother of active and accident prone children, as well as being victims of accidents/fate, we are also victims of our insurance company and billing departments.

When we arrived home, I was waiting for the papers from the insurance company telling us that we owe them a detrimental amount of money.  Three months passed, and I thought I was wrong, but this week we got the bill for $3,000.

We called the insurance company, and because our girl was sitting in the ER past midnight, they have a loophole to be able to charge us for inpatient services overnight, which apparently are our responsibility to pay for.

I guess I was wrong to hope that insurance might insure our financial safety in the face of an accident.  Now we have to fight the institution, and the loophole, which is kinda making me feel sick.  We will not be paying $3,000.  We paid our deductible, our premiums, and our co-pay.  I'm grateful that my daughter was able to be sewn back together, and disappointed that the healthcare industry is so terribly broken.  I have no choice but to submit to it.

Yesterday, I received a mailer from Blue Shield of California, my insurance provider.  It said, "The Earth is Not Made out of Trees".  It was their attempt to go paperless, prompting me to use their website instead of sending me a bill in the mail (which is great for this tree lover).  I am assuming they are going paperless to cut costs.

Isn't it funny?  Sending me an exorbitant bill, though they are the ones who are insuring my safety?  Sending me paper to tell me not to use paper?