Pick Up the Phone

Just when I thought my biggest worry today would be the aches and pains from yesterday’s cleaning, there’s more news from the Senate’s health care struggles. 

A majority of Americans support having a public plan available for folks who cannot get health care insurance through their employers and who cannot afford to buy it on the private market.  There’s a movement in the Senate to delay this, giving private insurance companies more time and options to deal with the problem, and only allowing a public plan at some fututre time if they should fail.  The private insurers have already shown us that profit is their whole motive.  They have done everything they can to deny insurance to people and to not pay for what their insured customers need.  Why should they have another chance at our expense? 

What can we do?  We can get on the phone and call our senators’ offices, telling them that we don’t want to delay a public plan, that we need it now.  It takes 5 minutes to pick up the phone and relay that message.  You can read about it here:  http://www.healthcareforamericanow.org/.  I’ve already called Senator Alexander and Senator Corker to register my request.  If we don’t have health care for everyone in 2011, I don’t want to be kicking myself for lack of action.   

Now I’ve gotta get back to cleaning.  Someone else is scheduled to see my house.  Sell, 7514 Tranquility, sell! 



Drive-By Blogging

A quick “Hurray” for the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor.  Sandra Day O’Conner was the graduation speaker at my medical school graduation (Jefferson Medical College, Thomas Jefferson University, 1982).  It was exciting even though I wasn’t a huge fan.  Every indication of our country dragging its tired political butt into the next century is to be celebrated.  Many so-called developing nations are so far ahead of us in the fair-minded, unbiased selection of diverse talent for political leadership. 

I shopped with my daughter today.  We did clothing, food and celebratory treats (a trip to the bakery for cookies).  I forget what we were celebrating, but we made it to Piece ‘a Cake and got thumbprints.  My mocha ones were delicious.  I enjoyed watching my daughter try on clothing, and hearing her comments about various items.  She has that fashion-conscious, highly critical viewpoint that comes from having half of a fashion merchandising major and a lifetime of love for clothing. 

We’re trying to ignore our umpteenth storm and watch some television.  The animal is huddled between us, the only safe place she can find after that first loud clap of thunder.  This is the perfect atmosphere for an old episode of Bones.  We just heard loud screams and saw a bloody corpse, then to the autopsy. 

I’ve decided to slow my frantic pace and follow the signs my body is giving me.  The day after selling at the Market is difficult – lots of aches and pains and fatigue.  I don’t think I can manage a two-day gig right now, and I’ve received the logistical info on ICE and it looks like a nightmare.  I just emailed my cancellation.  The hips, shoulder, neck, SI joints, and knees all breathed a sigh of relief. 

I’m gonna knit now.  And chill. 


Gettin’ On the Grid

My computer works again, I’m a fiend!  I opened it and played two rounds of Scrabble, and there will be lots more of that before the day is done. 

I’m getting ready for future craft market days.  I made two hats, one in a child’s size in lovely Auraucania Yarns Atacama.  It is hand-dyed, supersoft 100% alpaca, very loosely knit for breathing.  The second is a crochet adult hat, made from Ullteppegarn in bright turquoise.  On the needles – another hat, in a royal blue wool-alpaca mix.  I’m planning more fingerless mitts before Atlanta.

Dayna and I pulled the metal booth grid rectangles off the floor and swiped off the spiderwebs.  We put brackets on so they will stand, replacing missing screws and nuts.  We also purchased a rolling cart that doubles as a dolly (yippee, a grown-up transformer toy).  I’ve decided that we’re making enough to make this a bit more efficient and less joint-killing.  With a decent looking, more professional booth set-up, we can probably sell more.  I purchased the grid pieces two years ago, but my first attempt at using them I was late setting up and without the proper tools.  I put them in the corner after that, foolishly deciding they wouldn’t do what I needed.  Several market visits later, I can see that they are exactly what I need. 

Chattanooga Market this Sunday, Memorial Day weekend, will host the Beast Feast – a barbecue contest with five samples for $5.  That won’t attract a few people, hmmm?!  I’ve already checked our booth location-same aisle, closer to the front.  I’m excited.


Celebration: My First Market Day

I am happy today.  Not just my usual happy, but specifically happy over the outcome of my first foray into craft fair/market sales for this year.  Yesterday, after many days of prep, Dayna and I took our wares to the Chattanooga Market (http://chattanoogamarket.com), set up our displays, and sold stuff.  Despite a setup that was quite vulnerable in the wind, less than optimal display arrangement, and an unseasonably cool day, we had a constant stream of visitors and a respectable sales total for the day.  Dayna is becoming a very effective sales partner.  She greets every person who pauses at our booth, jumps up to help anyone who has a question or lingers over an item, encourages people to bargain for prices they can handle, and points out alternatives from her knowledge of our merchandise. 

Because I am just starting at the Market, and haven’t committed for a huge number of sales dates, we had a perimeter location next to a huge open area of the wall.  We were subject to every breeze and gust of wind, and it was colder than any May day should be.  When Market staff realized it, they tied a couple of tarps over the open area, giving a good bit of relief.  Service and organization are amazing under the owners that took control last year.  I’m pleased to see weekly reports of Market income, broken down by food and nonfood venders, and comparisons of current attendance and income with previous years.  I don’t need a report to know that attendance has increased phenomenally over the past two years.  The visitors we saw in the first hour out-numbered some full days that I had two years ago.  People were still browsing and making purchases in the final hour, something that was unheard of in 2007.  The whole day we had -WooHoo!- live music.  I couldn’t tell you the names of the performers because I didn’t have time to go to the stage and get info, but I would treasure CDs from any of them.  What a great atmosphere!

I always take my work to the Market.  I crocheted two hats while I talked with customers, rearranged displays, and bonded with my next-booth neighbors.  The neighbors were making it a family affair, and they were quite a family, with two sisters selling wonderful products, and their children, husbands, and father providing company and entertainment.  I especially enjoyed Gray, a 20 month-old boy who didn’t utter a word but managed to communicate just fine when he came over to pet my yarn and share his cookie.  He took his baby cousin’s hat and slapped it on the front of his head at a crazy angle, then walked around in an amazing comic performance, fully aware that he was the center of attention. 


During the course of the day I noticed Dayna writing on a small notepad.  She finally told me that she was noting ideas for improving our market days, and that she would share with me at the end of the day.  We discussed them last night, and I can’t wait to implement them.  Her insights were great, very well thought-out and practical.  I’ve got some work to do!  Guess that means ending this celebratory writing and getting with it!


Clearing it Out and Taking it Off

It’s another cloudy morning, and I don’t mind.  I have “stuff” to do, and the weather doesn’t matter.  I have bright stuff in my mind, and the overcast sky can’t dampen that.

Yesterday, an organization that handles all sorts of issues relating to homelessness in Chattanooga sent their crew to pick up furniture that I’m donating.  It cleared my rec room of clutter and some important memories.  The blue leather sectional couch that they hauled away, still with years of wear left, was a purchase for my first home as a single parent.  It has seen dozens of slumber parties, initially Dayna’s preschool and early childhood friends, more lately young adults crashing here for fun or myriad other reasons. 

Of course, moving lots of furniture means facing the accumulated junk that has slipped underneath in five years, including a pair of prescription glasses and (not enough)  pocket change.  We’ve got some carpet cleaning to do today.

My girl is home for the summer.  Amazing how much it eases your mind to have a sick child in front of you instead of three hours away.  She’s doing great now, if you don’t count the residual allergic snot that has her carrying around a roll of tp.  She is painting.  I have always loved seeing what comes off her brush.  Maybe we’ll have new masterpieces for the new house. 

I did my bit for a national health plan this morning.  MoveOn.org (http://moveon.org) emailed me and made it easy to call my state senators and ask if they’re going to be supportive.  I called Bob Corker’s office and spoke to an aide.  I briefly told her about my own situation (retired doc, now disabled) and interest in seeing a public health care option.  She told me that Bob hasn’t released his opinion yet, but she’ll pass along my message.  It took two minutes, and I feel good now that I’ve had a chance to speak and encourage a Senator.  Click this to find your senator and a way to contact her:  http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

I am gradually getting back in the swing of recording my intake and sticking within my points limit for Weight Watchers.  Important weigh-in tomorrow.  Every weigh-in is important.  I am tired of being obese, and I’ve gotta stay focused on translating that frustration into action.  Yesterday I got up on my sore feet and danced during some commercials.  I climbed the stairs to the second floor.  I walked in the grocery store instead of climbing into the cart.  Try, try, try…

My doctor visit confirmed that I can put osteoarthritis on my list of medical conditions.  We’re starting with orthotics in the shoes and an increase in basic meds, along with my commitment to decreasing the weight burden on those poor joints.  There’s a plan.  That always makes me feel better. 

Time for more coffee.


Monday Morning, da da, da da da-ta

A few morning thoughts:

It’s not raining.  Yayyyy.  That will change later in the day, but I am happy for a respite from the extremely wet weather we’ve endured lately.  I can hear birds singing outside my bedroom, probably the robin and her family.  She has been in residence, frequently bumping my windows, for a couple of months. 

People are making some very helpful statements that explain single payer health insurance.  I read one this morning on the PNHP (Physicians for National Health Plan) website:   http://pnhp.orghttp://www.google.com/ig?referrer=ign_n&refresh=1  Hard to understand how anyone could read this and still support our current system, unless they are caught up in keeping health care a big, profitable, expensive business.

I’m almost halfway through a wonderful, large baby blanket.  My heart lifts when I’m making things for babies.  I understand why my mom only made things for us when we were little.  She took special joy in sewing those baby and young kid clothes, then she turned it over to us to learn and sew for ourselves.

I enjoyed Mother’s Day immensely.  My children are wonderful, and they show me again and again that they are becoming independent, responsible, interesting human beings.  The theme for the day seemed to be flowers:  two fresh bouquets (one live in dirt) and a gorgeous designer tote in deep brown with purple and pink flowers. 

I have an appointment with my rheumatologist this morning.  My list is sort of a “head, shoulders, knees and toes” assessment of the things that need attention.  I’m thinking that orthopedics and physical therapy are due. 

I’m happy to have my schedule settle down enough to be back at Weight Watchers.  I’ll keep you up on the progress. 


Single Payer Not Allowed at the Senate Table

I’m having some peaceful moments, knitting a baby blanket, watching Friday night television.  I slowly read email while I do this.  There’s a conversation going on among Etsy fiber arts street team members, a very supportive group of women responding to one member’s plea for a shoulder to cry on.  I delete some advertising emails, then get to the heavy stuff. 

This evening I have a report from PNHP (Physicians for a National Health Plan) on the members who were arrested when they tried to speak out at a “public” Finance Committee meeting in Washington.  The single payer option has been refused a seat at the Senate table in the most powerful committee to investigate health care reform.  You can see more here, on msnbc.com:  http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/30629823#30629823.

I am angry.  There is no proposal on the table that will ensure health care for every American.  There is no proposal that has been proven to decrease the cost of health care in this country.  There is not one that is guaranteed to improve the effectiveness or quality of health care.  Our legislature is not being presented with the information on the one option that can actually make these changes, because Senator Baucus will not let single payer reps be heard. 

Single payer is a system that puts private health insurance out of the loop and bills a government agency for the health care people receive.  If we have a single payer option in this country, individuals can choose to either participate in the single payer system or continue with private health insurance.  Single payer would also insure all those who couldn’t qualify for private health insurance.  We already have single payer for those over 65:  Medicare is a single payer system.  No one over 65 has to be without health care.  The Canadian and European systems, in countries that consistently rank the highest in quality of health care and every measure of citizen health, are single payer systems. 

Some folk don’t like the sound of  “national health care”, for various reasons.  Many are profiting from having a middle man in health care – the private insurance company.  They don’t want to stop pocketing those profits, even when it means that health care is more expensive than it should be, business pros are making health care decisions, and millions are excluded from having care.  Others hate the idea of more government involvement in their lives, even though they’ve accepted government in the form of security,  transportation, education, and various other “intrusions” that improve the quality of our lives. 

Thinking this through, and preparing for the coming disputes-no, battles-makes me tired.  I like things to be decided through logic and data rather than profit motive and fear.  I am tired in advance because I know that I can’t sit and watch this from afar.  I have to decide how to participate and advocate for the right thing.  Clearly, this will not be the only discussion of this that you will see here.