Thursday, October 11, 2018

Money, Health Care, and Freckles.

Guys! I don't write in here often enough. This is such a great outlet for me. Have I told you that I compose the beginnings of blog posts often in my head, but then never actually get to type them here? Well, I do.

This is not one of those pre-composed-in-my-head posts, though. This is straight off the cuff. As a result, it's bound to be rambling and off-topic. Forgive me, or just skip this one.

I have so many things I could write about, so many things I want to write about. Did you know that I spent four solid days in Ohio a few weeks ago and that it was splendid? I want to write about my visit there, but not tonight.

Tonight, I am going to write about my children. Shocking, I know. (I always write about my children because my children are my life, because I am a woman of privilege in America and we're all destined to be mothers who give up our everything for our children, and it is exhausting. But that is for another post.)

Something new came to us in the mail this week. It was a statement from our health insurance company telling us that Emma, my beautiful, small child, has REACHED HER OUT OF POCKET MAXIMUM for the year. That has never happened before. This year, since the insurance coverage changed to make her speciality medication copay $150 each month, and we had our usual number of rheumatology appointments, PLUS a special visit to the podiatrist and the multiple X-ray views he wanted of her ankles prior to her appointment, well... I guess that all adds up.

I never expected that my child's medical bills would be more than mine in the course of the year. *sigh*

The good news is that she is doing well. The pain she had in her heal and ankle for the past several months seems to be due to tight tendons as a result of growth spurts, and not due to her arthritis at all. Regular stretching, new shoe inserts, and more supportive shoes seems to have greatly improved that situation. She has had intermittent pain in her jaw that I can't explain. Is it arthritis in her jaw, or just some fun TMJ type of thing? Great question. Who knows?

She sure knows how to read, though, and I sure do love that.

My boy child, Liam, is a splendid little creature. His medical out of pocket total for the year has been $0 because his annual "well check" was covered by insurance and I don't recall him needing medical care at any other time in 2018. Yet. (Somebody, please knock on wood.)

Liam makes me crazy in the way that a small child is bound to make a mother crazy. He has a few "character" sweatshirts that he really likes. One is Yoda with a hood that pulls over his face, complete with eye-holes and Yoda ears on top. The newest is a bright yellow Pikachu sweatshirt with cute little ears on the hood. He wears his yellow Pikachu sweatshirt most days, ALL DAY, at school. I have to force him out of it at the end of the school day, when we are about to walk home in 80ºF weather. The thing is filthy after 2 days, but I'm only going to wash it once a week, so there.

It's a good thing the kid is adorable and fond of solving math problems.

I'm tired and I'm not exactly sure I'm making sense, so I'm going to go now... Almost...

Just remember that adorable children (and adorable adults) might have "invisible" illnesses that cause them to reach their out of pocket maximum for the year at the beginning of October, and you have no idea what their struggles in life might be, so please, be kind.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Truth Telling/Telling My Truth

I have something to tell you. I am an atheist, and I am an atheist because I am agnostic. I guess you could call me an agnostic atheist

a·the·ist  noun  a person who disbelieves or lacks belief in the existence of God or gods. (Google Dictionary)

ag·nos·tic noun  a person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of the existence or nature of God or of anything beyond material phenomena; a person who claims neither faith nor disbelief in God. (Google Dictionary)

Agnostic Atheism is a philosophical position that encompasses both atheism and agnosticism. Agnostic atheists are atheistic because they do not hold a belief in the existence of any deity and agnostic because they claim that the existence of a deity is either unknowable in principle or currently unknown in fact. (Wikipedia)

Now you know that you know an atheist and that she is a normal, kind, friendly person.

I have nothing against holding a belief in a god. I was a believer in God and Christ for a solid twelve years of my life. I know first-hand the great comfort, peace, and joy that comes with having faith in a higher being and worshipping in a community of fellow believers. I get it. Religions, faiths, and myths have been a central piece of human communities since human communities began. We are knowledge-seeking creatures and it only makes sense that humans, as a species, have been looking for and suggesting explanations for the world around us, the life inside us, and the beauty, magnitude, suffering, connection, and mystery of it all.

People have believed in fairies, gods of thunder, fertility goddesses, gods of the seas, spirits, shape-shifting animals, giants, gods of the sky, and many other deities to explain it all. I'm cool with that, I just wish we could realize that each person's god is no greater than the god of his neighbor, the gods of her ancestors, or the inexplicable mysteries of the mystic down the street. (Also, I'm cool with your beliefs as long as they don't turn you into terrible people who harm yourselves or others. Then I have a problem with your beliefs.)

If you don't know much about religions outside from the ones you were raised with or regularly exposed to in your community, I challenge you to learn about other people's beliefs. Read a lot of books about religions past and present. If you're the extroverted type, go to church with a neighbor, drop in at your local Hindu/Jewish/Sikh temple for a visit, ask that Wiccan coworker what she believes. There is something beautiful and terrifying about the ways that religions and beliefs both unite us and divide us. It paints a vivid portrait of what it means to be human.

So yeah, I don't believe in god because I'm seeking after truth and facts and right now, as far as I can tell, no one knows and no one can prove the existence of a god. At the same time, I know that my agnostic atheism is no greater than your belief in a higher being.

I see your humanity, and I think it is beautiful.

Happy Passover, Vernal Equinox, Full Moon, and Easter. May your Spring holiday of choice bring you happiness as you focus on the rebirth of the planet, the fresh chance to start each day anew, and the hope and joy that comes with this season.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Accomplishments (And many parenthetical statements.)

I've been in a bit of a rut lately. I'm tired all the time, super irritable, frustrated, angry, feel spread thin, and heavy with dislike. Pretty much, I'm human and life is hard. However, the past seven days have been pretty good and I'm feeling proud of myself, so I'm going to write about it to document the ups in contrast to the downs of life.

In one week I have:
Done a full 30 minutes of yoga on my own at home... four times! (My shoulders hurt now.)
Meditated or made a few minutes for me to be still and breathe... five times!
Gone on a family date to a movie and lunch. (Peter Rabbit!!!)
Washed, folded, and put away all of the sheets and towels!
Scheduled my first ever therapy session! (I haven't gone yet.)
Spent time at the park with my friend, TWICE!
Actually made time to read books.
Trimmed some of the ivy that is our front yard and extended our porch a bit.

The husband got these brick things (Apparently they are called "castle wall blocks," which sounds alright to me!) from our neighbor several years ago when the neighbor started his home remodel. My husband is Mr. Resourceful and hates to see any building material go in the garbage because "he could make something out of that!" So, for several years, these blocks have been sitting in my driveway waiting to be used.

Today, the kids didn't have to go to school and I didn't have to go to work (Thanks Terre!) so I had beautiful, glorious, extra time. The weather was gorgeous and we just couldn't stay inside! After a lazy breakfast, I got out the extension cords and hedge trimmers, the kids got out their bicycles and scooters, and we spent a big chunk of the morning in the front yard.

I feel accomplished. I feel healthy and alive when I use my body and strength (ha!) to create physical change in my environment. I also feel my emotional health improve when I spend a good part of the day outside.

So, hooray for the past week. Fingers crossed for more of the same.