The TrumpCare Shit Sandwich

A warning–I am cranky this morning. If you are allergic to strong language or opinions, move on.  There are lots of pictures of kittens on Facebook.

With the latest Trump Care bill, The Republicans just fed us all a shit sandwich that they won’t eat themselves. They made sure to exempt themselves from the Amendment that they just passed–without even acknowledging the utter hypocracy of that stance.

In March, the original TrumpCare bill was pronounced Dead on Arrival and was rejected by Doctors, Hospitals, AARP, and anyone with a knowledge of how our health care system works. It lacked support to be put up for vote because (as it turns out) Republicans determined that it was not cruel enough.

The Republicans fixed that problem: the revised Bill / Amendment is cruel enough to bring a smile to the lips of even the most malicious tea party dude. The ‘old’ bill only cut coverage to 24 million Americans, early predictions are that 129 Million Americans will be uninsurable under the new bill — primarily those who are ill and/or elderly.  Some people with a history or heart disease or cancer, or even acne, heartburn, back pain, asthma, hay fever or hives could be rendered uninsurable for life. (A factoid is from the LA Times).

Why are they doing this???  It clearly isn’t because this plan provides such great health care for the American people (some Republicans admit they didn’t even read the damn thing).   There appears to be two motivations, the first is to repeal and replace ObamaCare (ACA) at ANY cost, because they despise anything and everything associated with Obama; and secondly because the bill results in a significant tax break — for the wealthiest Americans of course.

In other words: The Republicans are providing a tax cut for the wealthy by gutting health coverage for millions of Americans.  If that isn’t a shit sandwich, I don’t know what is.

The silver lining (although I realize shit sandwiches do not have linings and that I have mixed my metaphors)… will be a harsh backlash against Republican House Members in the 2018 elections.  When the healthcare bill passed in the House, Democrats sang “na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, hey, hey, goodbye” to GOP members facing reelection in 2018.   It is upon all of US to ensure that this prediction holds true.

This is the time for engagement and action.  Use your time, your talents, your energy, your dollars and your votes to assure that this bill does not pass the Senate and that sanity will be restored in 2018.

 

 

Eating Right

I entered a 14 day challenge where I work out, to adopt 10 healthy habits for 14 days.  This includes drinking water (LOTS of water), no alcohol, no soda, enough sleep, eating 6 servings of veggies a day, exercising, stretching, keeping a gratitude journal, and NO sugar.

Somewhat surprisingly, the toughest item for me has been ‘no sugar’ .  I already exercise and journal regularly;  I’ve gotten used to the water (and peeing all the dang time); and so far, have eliminated soda and alcohol from my diet, while adding more veggies.  I am regularly scoring 8 or 9 out of the 10 point scale.

However, my sweet tooth is a well-deserved legend in our household. There have been a couple days I’ve especially gone overboard with the twisted logic of “You’ve already blown it for today, so go ahead and splurge!”   A more healthy response would be:  That was a yummy muffin; instead of:  “Dang, I blew it already today, so I might as well go ahead and have the jumbo bag of M&Ms too”.

I have concluded that for me the threshold of zero added sugar is counter-productive and unrealistic, and I am done beating myself up over it.

Looking through another lens: as an eating disorder advocate, I am  skeptical of dietary restrictions; even when given with the best of intentions.  The very act of restricting can be triggering for anyone with a history or tendancy towards excessive restricting or binge eating.   My own response is on the ‘binge’ side of the spectrum.

Studies show that dieting for weight loss is unsustainable and unhealthy; leading to yo-yo results and counter-productive metabolic changes.  The truth is, what is a healthy weight for one person, is not necessarily healthy (or sustainable) for the next person.

There have been a several occasions where I’ve encountered so-called experts giving advice on how to reduce calories; with the assumption that ‘everyone’ is interested in losing weight. I try to diplomatically challenge their views — with mixed results.  Many people are completely entrenched in the believe system that ‘everyone’ should be skinny and that skinny = good health.

I recall a conversation with a young woman who was hospitalized several times for being severely underweight.  Even when she was close to dying, she continued to received a barrage of compliments on her figure and attention from men.

It is a very disturbing reflection on our society that a woman who is severely underweight and near death is considered the epitomy of attractiveness.

As an eating disorder advocate, I have heard versions of this story many times.  The pervasive attitude that skinny = healthy is also a barrier to recovery, as sufferers are reluctant to lose that identity.

The notion that we should all be skinny is not realistic or desirable. We should not all aspire to be size twos.  I will never look like Gwyneth Paltrow, no matter how many 14 Day challenges I do.  My short, curvy body is strong and healthy and is just right for ME.  We should focus on our own health and wellness, without comparison to or judgement of others.

It can be good to challenge ourselves to improve our habits; with a goal of being a better version of ourselves.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to walk the dog and then have a yummy spinach salad:  right after I take a pee.

 

An unusual morning

As usual, the alarm clock woke me up this morning before I was really ready to wake up.

As usual, I stumbled into some shoes and took the dog out for a walk:  it was darker than usual, which I  attributed to the cloudy weather.

As usual, I donned my work-out clothes and loaded my work clothes, laptop and other items that I would need today into the car.

As usual, I headed to the Transformation Center, where I work out three mornings a week before work.  The traffic seemed lighter than usual. Lucky me!

As usual, the parking lot was fairly full and music pumped loudly out the open window of the early morning Bootcamp class.

As usual, I grabbed my stuff and headed up the stairs, into the locker room to stash my items and change my shoes.

As usual, I filled up my water bottle and headed back to the room where my 6:45 Fit Over Fifty class is held.  At the doorway I stopped short, as there was another class underway with an instructor I did not recognize with a group of sweaty participants that I also did not recognize.

The truth came on me in a flash:  It was 5:45 … not 6:45 in the morning. After a few moments of chastising myself and retroactively fitting in the puzzle pieces from other clues in the morning, I concluded that there had been a serious user error when I set my alarm clock the evening before (an error I have since confirmed), resulting in setting the clock ahead by an hour.   In the IT Biz we have an acronym for this type of event:  PICNIC (Problem in Chair not in Computer/Clock).

I spent my bonus hour sitting in Starbucks sipping a plain coffee, writing this blog, choosing to savor my own personal doubling-down on daylight savings time… if only for a day.

We will see whether I am still smiling over my error when I play tennis at 7:15 pm tonight…  perhaps I will need another infusion of coffee at 5:45 pm as well.

Small Things Matter

Today, I am particularly nostalgic for the Obama’s grace and class.  Barack and Michelle always treated each other with respect and love.  In contrast, The D rarely misses an opportunity to display his  boorishness and lack of common decency.

The D consistently ignores Melania and leaves her to her own devices when going from Point A to Point B, as recently depicted in their exit from AirForce One, which is in sharp contrast to the more congenial descents of other first couples.

Monday, the D flung some poor kid’s hat into the crowd after signing it at the hastily organized White House Easter egg roll–He essentially stole some kids hat to fling into the crowd.  He also failed to put his hand over his heart during the National Anthem, until Melanie gave him a poke.

The D recently took to Twitter to defend former Fox-News pundit, Bill O’Reilly –days before O’Reilly was fired due to a egregious pattern of sexual harassment towards female colleagues.  O’Reilly and The D personify the despicable old-boy mindset that any women is fair game to be ogled and groped; or insulted if they are deemed too unattractive to ‘deserve’ their revolting advances.

To me, his outright refusal to shake hands with Angela Merkel remains as a low point in a very deep well of boorish behavior.  Although–perhaps being ignored when offering a handshake is preferred over enduring the bizarre hurky-jerky, wood -sawing motion of the D’s handshake.

In addition to his astonishing misogeny, the list of character flaws is long. The D is absurdly vain and self-centered; frequently going off-script to congratulate himself and/or nonsensically describe how awesome he is;  with  forehead-smacking results.

During an appearance with the Italian prime Minister, the D referred to the great opera tenor, Pavarotti, as his great friend:  despite the fact that Pavarotti has been dead for 10 years:  Perhaps they used to party with Fredrick Douglass, another great (and deceased) friend of The D’s.

The D is too thin-skinned to attend the up-coming White House Correspondence Dinner.  (On a side note:  Women were not allowed to attend the dinner until 1962, when a persistent (and probably nasty) woman by the name of Helen Thomas raised a ruckus about it.)

Individually, some of these events are merely fodder for a national eye-roll.  As a whole, a picture emerges of a leader who lacks basic emotional intelligence and is unable to feel empathy or respect for others.

I have a personal litmus test I use when gauging how responsible or trustworthy someone is.  My conclusion for The D is:  No, I would not trust him to feed my cat.

 

 

Orange is the new Crack

 

Addiction can come in many forms. I am addicted to Sudoku– it started as a harmless hobby, but has become an addiction that interferes with important life activities, such as blogging and sleeping.  So far, the only people harmed are myself, my husband and my doggie—who looks at me beseechingly, wanting to play, while I embark on ‘just one more game’ on my I-Pad.

The D’s regime administration feeds upon the addict-like zealous support among his passionate faithful. (For new readers, I refer to #45 as ‘the D’, since I got tired of typing “he who shall not be named”).    Like addicts everywhere, his true believers are adept at rationalizing bizarre, cruel, unlawful and unprecedented presidential behavior; without regard for consequences or impacts to others—anything to feed the insatiable power-lust of their leader.

His supporters regularly rally against their own best interests in support of policies that will strip away health care, transfer even more wealth to the 1%, destroy our environment, erode human rights, and ensure the proliferation of ignorance by compromising the education of our children.  Like addicts (and following their leader’s example) they will find others to blame—specifically Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Addicts can only be cured once they admit they have a problem; which is unlikely to happen with the dial set to Fox News 24/7.

Yet—who am I to judge?   My own ‘dial’ is set permanently to the Huffington Post and similar news feeds.  Am I equally blind to rational points of view that differ from my own knee-jerk reaction to oppose all things Trump?   Am I capable of objectivity, or am I so completely outraged that I will be unable to recognize it if and when The D does something decent?

This is a marathon.  It is important to take breaks periodically to regroup, re-center, and assure that we maintain the will, the energy and the humanity to continue without burning out; without losing sight of what we are fighting FOR, and without becoming the flip side of the orange demagogue that we rail against.

Orange is the new crack – Don’t lose yourself in the fight.

 

 

 

 

 

Celebrating Life

Last night we celebrated my dad’s 90th birthday.  The extended family of 24 souls ranged from 18 months ‘old’ to 90 years ‘young’.

It was an inter-generational gathering of people with a great deal of shared history.  The grand-children (Most are now in their 20s and 30s) shared memories of childhood fishing trips up north with Grandma and grandpa–simple times ‘away from it all’ that they clearly still treasure.  My son, Ben, shared that grandpa knew the secret to beating him at chess… all he had to do was turn on the TV to distract his grandson.

My siblings and I shared memories of dad teaching us many things: to drive, hunt, play checkers, deal with adversity and more. Incidents from our youth and adolescence were  told from multiple perspectives.   MY memories as a then 10 year-old the morning ‘after’ one of big brother Doug’s escapades was something like this:

  • Why does Doug have a big bandage on his head?
  • Where is the Maverick (its was a car – in our case, a very bright yellow car)?
  • Why is dad so mad?

Doug’s memories of that incident were reminiscent of a time when the local police force was more tolerant of underage drinking.

The young and energetic great-grands were wound up with excitement and sugar, careening around the private party room with abandon–contributing greatly to the general merriment. At one point, we were grateful to have a couple nurses in our midst… let’s just say that blood is thicker than water.

We all felt mom’s presence as we looked at old photos and reminisced over our childhoods; prompted by many pre-digital, dog-eared photos, many of which look absolutely ancient to the grandkids–primarily due to the styles of the day (some of us REALLY got into the big hair and glasses of the 70s and 80s)!

We hope dad has many years with us– after a rough couple years, he is doing well physically, and remains mentally sharp.  Last night was a reminder to all of us of how lucky all are to have him, and each other, in our lives.

 

Tennis Blues

I am on an over-40 USTA tennis league.  As someone who is considerably over 40, I am tempted to check the IDs of many of the women that we’ve been playing against, because they are suspiciously agile and speedy. I’m getting a little tired of those peppy 41 year olds dashing around the courts smacking the balls into unreachable corners at unreasonable rates of speed.

I would like to propose a league where there is both a minimum age, and a maximum foot speed.  This would be a more mindful, enjoy-the-moment, kinder brand of tennis; that permits the time to stop and appreciate a good shot, without having to hustle back into position for the return shot.

This year I volunteered to play singles on the over-40 league, since most prefer to play doubles.  I proceeded to lose three straight singles matches in third-set tie-breaks.  For those of you who are not familiar with tennis scoring –these are close matches that have gone into the tennis equivalent of overtime.  It’s really pissing me off.

It almost felt good to lose a fourth match without playing a tie-break.  The (allegedly) 40 year old opponent won because she is a stronger player;  not because I had a mental lapse and blew yet another match that I coulda/shoulda won.

I am sure it’s just coincidence, but I haven’t won a USTA match since Trump has taken office.

Ding Dong, The Bill is Dead!

(Sung to the tune of Ding, Dong! The witch is dead–from the Wizard of Oz)

Ding, Dong! The Bill is dead. Which old bill? The Trump Care Bill!
Ding, dong! The wicked bill is dead.

Wake up – sleepy head, rub your eyes, get out of bed.
Wake up, the Wicked Bill is dead. It’s gone where the Crap bills go,
Below – below – below. Yo-ho, let’s open up and sing and ring the bells out.
Ding Dong’ the merry-oh, sing it high, sing it low.
Let them know
The Wicked Bill is dead!

As a legally registered voter, in the country that we all love
I welcome this failure most regally.
But we’ve got to verify it legally, to see
To see?
If the GOP; Is morally, ethic’lly,
Spiritually, politically,
Positively, absolutely
Undeniably and dangerously Inept.

As a pundit, I must opine, I thoroughly examined them;
And the GOP’s not just inept, they are really most sincerely inept.

Then this is a day of celebration for all who Care.
Yes, let the joyous news be spread ; The wicked bad BILL for now is dead!

 

Cracks in the Orange Veneer

It has been a rough week for The D.  Despite having slept or tweeted through basic civics lessons and intelligence briefings he is learning the hard way that there really are three branches of government, and that his words and actions have consequences.

How disconcerting for The D to have his latest travel ban struck down, using his own words to interpret intent.   The D has been remarkably successful in avoiding any consequences associated with his outrageous statements and/or tweets.  However, this week, a ‘so-called’ judge from Hawaii referenced The D’s  own words to determine the intent of the travel ban as a way to prevent Muslims from entering the country.  (Yet another excellent reason to move to Hawaii.)

How troubling for The D to be criticized for his lack of evidence to support his tweets accusing Obama of wiretapping. The D does not feel it is necessary to validate any information he infers or gleans from cable news shows before tweeting misinformation to the world.  Prudence is not in The D’s vocabulary. He is the master of setting a ‘perception’ based on his own wishful thinking–perceptions which take hold in the minds of his faithful.  He never lets so-called ‘facts’ get in the way of his beliefs.  However, these tweets are being challenged on numerous fronts.

How upsetting for The D to have his name associated with the Alternative health care proposal put forth by Paul Ryan (a.k.a the Fourth Stooge).  This plan has been widely panned as Dead on Arrival and is opposed by hospitals, the AMA, Republicans and Democrats, AARP, and anyone who has in-depth knowledge of health care–including my  friend Jean.  (Who KNEW it could be so complicated??)

The Congressional Budget office (using a technique foreign to the current administration called ‘math’) determined that 14 million people would lose coverage in 2018 and 24 million people would lose coverage by 2020.

Certainly The D himself hasn’t demonstrated  enthusiasm for the plan; although on the campaign trail he promised a plan that would ‘cover everybody and be a fraction of the cost’.  Where is this magic pixie dust Donald?  I really want some!

How distressing for The D to be critized for his proposed budget and his outlandishly lavish spending at tax payer expense.  It is dismaying, but no real surprise that the proposed budget slashes popular programs such as Meals on Wheels, NPR, and the EPA.  Apparently, we cannot afford  meals for shut-ins, but we are shelling out millions for endless golf weekends at Mar-A-Lago (tax money that ends up going to The D himself, cause he owns the place), and $183 Million for Melania and Barron to continue to live in NYC.

Finally, The D closed the week by demonstrating a remarkable lack of class and grace by refusing to shake Angela Merkle’s hand.  What an ass.   It’s really embarrassing to be an American lately.

The good news is that some checks and balances are finally, belatedly, coming into focus.  Concerned Americans continue to speak up in vast numbers, Hard questions are being asked by the media, and investigations continue. Let’s hope the march towards some degree of sanity and accountability is just beginning–with more challenging weeks in the near  future for The D.

 

Insomnia and Blind Faith

It is the wee hours of the night.  My monkey-mind is keeping me awake, and I foolishly went to my FaceBook feed in an attempt to bore myself to sleep.  Bad move. I got sucked into a couple vicious political exchanges; which led to more pondering.

The D continues to have his faithful supporters.  They accuse his detractors of being overly critical.  One poster recently queried – what has he done that is so wrong?  Many replies articulately and calmly laid out an extensive inventory of  mis-steps, ridiculous tweets,  unconstitutional executive orders, lies, and more.  I will spare you the full run-down.

The defense provided by his supporters, including his appointed representatives as well as those on FB, are consistently a variation of this theme:  “Whatever… but the important thing is that The D is WAY better than    Obama — that guy was horrible! “. 

Somehow, this argument is used to justify anything and everything.  However, it is no argument at all–it is a transparent gas-lighting technique to avoid accountability by shifting the focus to another target or topic.  Any High School debator, worth their salt (or evidence cards) could see through that tactic.  And I speak from much nerdy debate experience.

The D is a master of this technique-never accepting any blame or acknowledging his mistakes by aggressively attacking and shifting blame to others. Obama is one of his favorite targets, along with most of the media, Nordstroms, immigrants, and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Americans tend to be an emotional bunch–we make decisions and align our loyalties based on emotion. And, once we have made up our minds on something, no amount of factual information or ‘real news’ will sway us from our views.  Social media tailors our feeds to show us what we want to see–what we already agree with; while also giving us a false sense that we are keeping up with the ‘news’ .

We seem to turning into a post-fact society, where information is readily available, but facts are hard to discern. This is what keeps me up at night (as well as Stephen Colbert wicked monologues).   A charismatic candidate with a sound bite that resonates and lots of media exposure, can be elected without benefit of experience, credentials or actionable policies.  It does not bode well for our future.

And that is why an inexperienced, immature, vengeful and impulsive man has the nuclear codes.

It’s a wonder I sleep at all.