Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Raising Arizona

This is so different--the Coen brothers know how to make movies. I love the music, the acting and the unpredictability. Holly Hunter plays a "non-compliant" but supportive wife, she pretty much is my hero.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Health is Wealth

My health care requires visits to an internist every three months for checking up and some blood work. This year I had no visits until yesterday. In February, Dennis and I finally paid off all my medical bills from 2008. And then I got a letter that my primary care doctor's office was closing in two weeks. Dennis started a new job, and wasn't eligible for benefits for awhile. And I lost mine because my weekly hours did not average 20 and I didn't make the quota for the quarter to stay eligible for benefits (too many people on the payroll at our store). So, as a diabetic, I was extremely stuck. And then my prescription for glucophage was running out.

I finally found a doctor, but it was three months before she could be available. I chose her because she specializes in diabetic care and she had been in practice for a long time. And then the appointment that I made fell through because she was sick and I had to wait another two weeks. So yesterday, was my long anticipated meeting with Dr. Eileen. And I was out of glucophage for only two weeks. I did the best I could with controlling carbs (limited flour, bread or white rice or potato) and walking to keep the numbers low on the glucose monitor. This last week was really hard, as though my system finally had it.

So, today, I checked my blood glucose and it was an odd relief to not see a high number in the mid-200's (needs to stay under 180) even though I didn't each much all day and a 20 minute walk would do the job of bringing it down, but that was getting harder to do as well. Today, I had a reading of 126 which was completely appropriate since I had not eaten for six hours at that point. And I took a walk with a friend an hour later because I wanted to, not because I had to.

I see why healthcare run by the government would be valuable, especially during an uncertain time such as this. If we can do it, great. But it has to be done well. I feel very blessed to have any coverage at all, but I've gotten a glimpse of what it feels like to be in need of care and not have it accessible. It is a desperate feeling.

The good news was that Dr. Eileen did a test for neuropathy on my feet and she told me that I don't have any loss of feeling. She had me close my eyes as she poked different places with a thin filament and told me to say if I felt something. I felt them all. For the last three years, this was one of my deepest concerns, and I changed what kind of shoes I wore completely. She said that I needed to keep my blood sugar lowered and I shouldn't be seeing any problems.

I walked out feeling like a free woman. On Tuesday, we discussed idioms in our beginning English as a Second Language class, and Sandra from Chile shared a favorite idiom from her country "Health is gold". It is indeed.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Some Family Pictures

I have several nieces and nephews--all adorable and amazing. My nieces in Oregon are Nicole, Amanda and Kelly. While Kelly is still in high school in Astoria, her older sisters are studying forestry at University of Oregon in Eugene and fight fires in their spare time. I have a nephew and niece who grew up in Southern California--Brett and Keela. Brett is a freshly minted Marine and Keela is going to college in San Diego. I have two nieces and a nephew who grew up in Colorado. Phoebe attends college in Florida, while her younger siblings, Logan and Daisy are in High School in Boulder. My youngest nieces and nephew, Kalea, Noah and Jonna, are in Central California near Fresno, south of Sacramento.

My nephew, Brett.

Brett with his mom and my sister; with his Grandpa; with his sister.

Brett and his lovely girlfriend, Jenna.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Blog Shorts

I've fallen off blogging this month and I am going to try to catch up with a long newsy post. This is not that post.

Reading: I'm reading a ton of books, but one of the most enjoyable is "My Life in France" by Julia Child. I've been meaning to get it once it came out in paperback, but forgot until I saw the movie "Julie and Julia", which I loved. I wished that it was mostly about Child's adventures in cooking instead of sharing the film time about an obsessive young blogger. But the film reminded me of the book I once wanted to read and even inspired me to visit the Julia Child exhibit at the Smithsonian Institute during our anniversary trip to D.C.

Home Life: We have roommates from Uganda and South Korea! And over the weekend we became "party central" for Eid and a Korean style birthday.

Spiritual: God is amazing, loving, good and soveriegn. And a lot more. I feel my need to trust Him with my whole heart.

Marriage: My husband told me that I'm "non-compliant" but a submissive wife at the same time. I don't know what to make of this, especially when he seemed proud of me when he said it. I decided this morning that he was giving me a compliment that I was an independent thinker (much like when we were dating 22 years ago and told me he liked "strong women"), but that I voluntarily supported him even when I thought differently sometimes (calm down, I let him know it) to save us both unnecessary headaches and prolonged arguements over really small issues. Usually with bigger issues, we generally agree. Hmmmm...I married a "servant leader" who sacrifices for me more than I dream of, and I appreciate him so our relationship is a mutually giving one. More about all this, later.

Travel: We went to Washington D.C. by way of Pennsylvania and are going to Montreal this week. We have pictures and will upload them as soon as we've got time.

Health: Some good. Some bad. Some in-between. I see a doctor on Wednesday. I'll keep you posted.

Coffee: Have you tried Via? Ask your local Starbucks barista about it today.
Hair: Blondes have more fun. Thanks Jessica!!

Friday, September 11, 2009


This was posted today on my pastor's blog. And I think that everything that needs to be said was said by Billy Graham about this day.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Every Step I Take

About a month ago, I found out that a 20 minute leisurely walk brought my blood glucose level down faster than an hour of vigorous swimming. It is counterintuitive but I began to walk more and swam a little less, which kept the glucose meter happy. The best walks of the summer were the evening ones right after dinner or the morning ones to the grocery store.

Until I experienced a condition in my foot of plantar fasciitis, or a heel spur, which made even my short shifts at work almost unbearable. When shoe inserts failed to remedy my problem, I took extra time off at work to rest the foot. Nothing seemed to work, so I decided that pain was just going to be a part of my life and that I was going to keep walking no matter what and keep working, too.

I had this before, 20 years ago after Dennis and I were married. I don't remember how it went away, because even though I quit the job that kept me on my feet all day, I still went on long walks by the ocean every day for my daily quiet times and Scripture memory review.

So I went back to a daily swim, until the pool closed for repairs. I will be back at the pool on Saturday when it re-opens. The heel pain is almost gone even though I still walk every day too. I found a really sturdy arch support made of hard plastic which makes me feel like I've got a big rock in my shoe, but it does the trick of keeping the pressure off of the heel spur. When I wake up in the morning I no longer feel like I'm going to collapse on the floor in agony when I make my first steps, even though I stretch before getting out of bed.

So, now I am thankful for every pain free step I now take.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Something Global to Think About

From a favorite blog, Radical Womanhood , an excerpt from an article about a book about to be released called "Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide" by the New York Times op-ed columnist Nicholas Kristoff and his wife, Sheryl WuDunn:

"If you’re reading this article, the phrase “gender discrimination” might conjure thoughts of unequal pay, underfinanced sports teams or unwanted touching from a boss. In the developing world, meanwhile, millions of women and girls are actually enslaved. While a precise number is hard to pin down, the International Labor Organization, a U.N. agency, estimates that at any one time there are 12.3 million people engaged in forced labor of all kinds, including sexual servitude. In Asia alone about one million children working in the sex trade are held in conditions indistinguishable from slavery, according to a U.N. report. Girls and women are locked in brothels and beaten if they resist, fed just enough to be kept alive and often sedated with drugs — to pacify them and often to cultivate addiction. India probably has more modern slaves than any other country.

Another huge burden for women in poor countries is maternal mortality, with one woman dying in childbirth around the world every minute. In the West African country Niger, a woman stands a one-in-seven chance of dying in childbirth at some point in her life. (These statistics are all somewhat dubious, because maternal mortality isn’t considered significant enough to require good data collection.) For all of India’s shiny new high-rises, a woman there still has a 1-in-70 lifetime chance of dying in childbirth. In contrast, the lifetime risk in the United States is 1 in 4,800; in Ireland, it is 1 in 47,600. The reason for the gap is not that we don’t know how to save lives of women in poor countries. It’s simply that poor, uneducated women in Africa and Asia have never been a priority either in their own countries or to donor nations. ...

Why do microfinance organizations usually focus their assistance on women? And why does everyone benefit when women enter the work force and bring home regular pay checks? One reason involves the dirty little secret of global poverty: some of the most wretched suffering is caused not just by low incomes but also by unwise spending by the poor — especially by men. Surprisingly frequently, we’ve come across a mother mourning a child who has just died of malaria for want of a $5 mosquito bed net; the mother says that the family couldn’t afford a bed net and she means it, but then we find the father at a nearby bar. He goes three evenings a week to the bar, spending $5 each week.

Our interviews and perusal of the data available suggest that the poorest families in the world spend approximately 10 times as much (20 percent of their incomes on average) on a combination of alcohol, prostitution, candy, sugary drinks and lavish feasts as they do on educating their children (2 percent). If poor families spent only as much on educating their children as they do on beer and prostitutes, there would be a breakthrough in the prospects of poor countries. Girls, since they are the ones kept home from school now, would be the biggest beneficiaries. Moreover, one way to reallocate family expenditures in this way is to put more money in the hands of women. A series of studies has found that when women hold assets or gain incomes, family money is more likely to be spent on nutrition, medicine and housing, and consequently children are healthier. "