Sunday, June 14, 2009

"...I can only tell you what I know, that I need you in my life..."

I've been completely neglecting my blog and my blog reading list this week. And I've missed my blog and my blog friends! Hi everyone!

I'm leaving for vacation tomorrow morning. Helllooooo 5 days off from work! Helllooooo 5 days in Hilton Head! The only thing that would make it better is if Jason were coming with me. I'm going to miss him. (Sidenote: Can I just say how nice it's going to be to have him drop me off at and scoop me up from the airport? I've never had that before. Any time I've gone on vacation in the past few years, my family has already been at the destination and I fly down to meet them if I can get the time off which means I get myself to and from the airport via public transportation. No help with bags. No kiss goodbye. But not this time around!)

Anywho. A stressful work week and some fun social things have kept me busy.

Friday night, Fashionista0921 and I went to the Urban Garden Party at the Mattress Factory. The theme was "backstage rocker chic." Since I am not of the mini-skirt wearing variety, I figured I could punk things up by wearing ridiculous makeup.

Behold my eyelashes. (And the horrible blue tile of my bathroom.)



Add in lots of eyeliner, teased hair pulled back in a mess ponytail, slutty red lipstick and voila! Instant street cred.

It was a fun party full of hot people, potato vodka and delicious food from places around the 'Burgh. If any of you non-Pittsburgh-dwelling readers ever visit our fine city of champions, a trip to the Mattress Factory is a must. I love installation art and this place does it really, really well.

Last night Jason and I went to a picnic at the house of friends of ours for dinner and dessert. It was nice to catch up with them and chat and laugh into the wee hours.

That pretty much sums things up. It was nice to have time with friends this week. It has been seriously lacking in my life lately.

And this time tomorrow, I will be cooling my piggies in the sand with my family and the dogs.

Have a good week everyone! Catch you later!


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

"...What do you say to taking chances..."

Dear Fashionista0921 and I had a conversation this morning about something I'm on the fence about (something, hopefully soon, I'll be able to tell you all about.)

Fashionista told me, "I would take the chance. If I've learned anything, I've learned I should take more chances. Take the chance."

She's so right. Honestly, taking a chance... diving in.... just DOING something.... it never turns out as horribly as we imagine it might, you know? It's the chance-taking itself that is the scary part. The thing we took the chance on to do generally turns out ok.

And if it doesn't turn out ok, well, fix it. I always tell friends that it's rare that something you do in life cannot be undone if you're unhappy about the outcome.

Took a chance on a relationship and it turned out badly? Get out of it.

Working towards a degree you now hate? Change your career path.

Life is much more forgiving than we think.

So if given the opportunity... I'm gonna take the chance.

Thank you for the perspective, dear Fashionista0921!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

"...you make me sick..."

How fucked up is this?

An article from CNN by Theresa Tamkins:

This year, an estimated 1.5 million Americans will declare bankruptcy. Many people may chalk up that misfortune to overspending or a lavish lifestyle, but a new study suggests that more than 60 percent of people who go bankrupt are actually capsized by medical bills.

Expert: "Medical bills ... are an issue that can very easily and in pretty short order overwhelm a lot families."

Bankruptcies due to medical bills increased by nearly 50 percent in a six-year period, from 46 percent in 2001 to 62 percent in 2007, and most of those who filed for bankruptcy were middle-class, well-educated homeowners, according to a report that will be published in the August issue of The American Journal of Medicine.

"Unless you're a Warren Buffett or Bill Gates, you're one illness away from financial ruin in this country," says lead author Steffie Woolhandler, M.D., of the Harvard Medical School, in Cambridge, Mass.

"If an illness is long enough and expensive enough, private insurance offers very little protection against medical bankruptcy, and that's the major finding in our study."

Woolhandler and her colleagues surveyed a random sample of 2,314 people who filed for bankruptcy in early 2007, looked at their court records, and then interviewed more than 1,000 of them.

They concluded that 62.1 percent of the bankruptcies were medically related because the individuals either had more than $5,000 (or 10 percent of their pretax income) in medical bills, mortgaged their home to pay for medical bills, or lost significant income due to an illness. On average, medically bankrupt families had $17,943 in out-of-pocket expenses, including $26,971 for those who lacked insurance and $17,749 who had insurance at some point.

Overall, three-quarters of the people with a medically-related bankruptcy had health insurance, they say.

"That was actually the predominant problem in patients in our study -- 78 percent of them had health insurance, but many of them were bankrupted anyway because there were gaps in their coverage like co-payments and deductibles and uncovered services," says Woolhandler. "Other people had private insurance but got so sick that they lost their job and lost their insurance."

However, Peter Cunningham, Ph.D., a senior fellow at the Center for Studying Health System Change, a nonpartisan policy research organization in Washington, D.C., isn't completely convinced. He says it's often hard to tell in which cases medical bills add to the bleak financial picture without being directly responsible for the bankruptcies.

"I'm not sure that it is correct to say that medical problems were the direct cause of all of these bankruptcies," he says. "In most of these cases, it's going to be medical expenses and other things, other debt that is accumulating."

Either way, he agrees that medical bills are an increasing problem for many people.

"I think medical bills are something that a lot of families are having a lot of difficulty with and whether it's the direct cause of bankruptcy or whether it helps to push them over the edge because they already were in a precarious financial situation, it's a big concern and hopefully that's what medical reform will try to address," he says.

The study may overestimate the number of bankruptcies caused by medical bills yet underestimate the financial burden of health care on American families, because most people struggle along but don't end up declaring bankruptcy, according to Cunningham.

"Bankruptcy is the most extreme or final step for people who are having problems paying medical bills," he says. "Medical bills and medical costs are an issue that can very easily and in pretty short order overwhelm a lot families who are on otherwise solid financial ground, including those with private insurance."

His group's research found that medical bills unduly stress 1 in 5 families.

Either way, the high cost of health care is a problem that's probably getting worse for people in the United States, particularly since the economic picture became grimmer after the study was conducted.

"The recession didn't happen until a year after our study," says Woolhandler. "We're quite sure that the problem of bankruptcy overall is worse, the numbers have been soaring, and the number this year is expected to be higher than it was before Congress tightened bankruptcy eligibility in 2005."

In 2005, bankruptcies peaked at two million filings.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

"...when the stars make you drool just like pasta fagioli..."

Not fun: Mean consumers who force my hand and turn me into a bitch. We'll leave it at that.


Fun: An email from the Jason telling me he's making me baked fish and risotto for dinner. Awww.



Proof that you gotta take the bad with the good.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

"...all will be well even though sometimes this is hard to tell..."

It is a poopy, rainy day here in Pittsburgh. It really has been raining since the time I opened my eyes this morning.

Three positive things today:

1. It's a slow day here in the store, so I cleaned. A clean store = things looking sparkly and me actually getting exercise during the work day from all the up and down action on the step stool.

2. Jason came by to bring me lunch (grilled cheese on wheat) and then he came back to bring me a snack (fruit on the bottum yogurt.) He's such a good apple.

3. This third thing is a positive, but it's irritating me more than anything. I'm by myself from 10-8 everyday in the store, which means when I have to pee, I have to put a sign on the door that says "back in a moment" and lock the door. And since I've upped my water intake as of late to stay hydrated since I'm running more, I pee like, 5 times during the work day. Doing the "I gotta pee" prance to the front of the store to put up the sign and lock the door and do the prance to the back of the store to go pee is like a 5k when I have to tinkle!

Ugh.

Anyway.

Happy Hump Day!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

"...where soul meets body..."

This is it - the summer push to lose the ten pounds that plague me these days.

I'll never be teeny tiny. I don't want to be teeny tiny. And to be honest, I love food too much to be a person who's skinny because she doesn't eat.

But the picture of my soul doesn't match the picture of my body anymore.

I just want to get rid of the chub. So that soul meets body. That's all.

Now if I can just get through the first couple days of bad-food-detox (you know what I'm talking about.)

::PT wanders off to get another bottle of water out of the work fridge in an effort to drown her snack cravings...::

Monday, June 1, 2009

"...you may say I'm a dreamer... but I'm not the only one..."

On Sunday morning, a doctor who preforms abortions at his clinic was killed in church by an anti-abortion activist.

His clinic is in Wichita, Kansas - one of the few places left in the US where late-term abortions are preformed.

This post is not meant to debate abortions - late-term or otherwise.

It is meant to make the point that this man lived his life to serve the medical needs of women. During his career, his clinic was bombed, he was shot in both of his arms and his neighborhood was papered with anti-abortion literature.

As a student of feminist theory and a hardcore feminist myself, it's rare to find a man who so completely understands the medical rights of women the way this man did.

I am sad and scared. And I can only hope that this doctor's murder does not reignite the same anti-abortion violence that flared up in the 1990's.