Category Archives: politics

A Nation?

I wrote a certain Congresswoman to say thanks for what she’s doing and what her bravado and courage meant to me 25 years ago.

She will not accept any mail from outside her district. This is not our country, our US of A, it is mini-fiefdoms. That is what our elected officials have become. Entrenched, enriched, with way better health care and ready to retire comfortably.

Can we say that about us? No job security, sometimes no job. No health insurance that means anything. No retirement and even with a bit in savings I believe our interest is about $6 per year.

Now it’ll get worse. The middle and lower tax brackets will be raised so rich people can get richer. When a representative of Congress refuses to take a thank-you that’s a sign that we have fiefdoms, not a country, I vote for the country in which I was born, the United States of America. Not every state or each congressional district. I was born here, I live here and should be allowed to send a thank-you note. Cheers! Dee

It’s Over

Luckily there is no more to be said by candidates Clinton and Trump, listed alphabetically.

In 1971, there was an infamous ad made that is still at the top of my list. It was Coca-Cola’s “I’d like to buy the world a Coke.” Inspirational.

Another favorite is Mean Joe Greene’s tossing a Coke Classic to a kid in the players’ tunnel, saying “hey kid, catch.” I’ve nothing to do with the company or their ad agency but these ads stick in my mind as positive reinforcements and I must disclose that I did love Tab and now have an occasional Diet Coke. When I was in politics we had early morning committee meetings and I didn’t drink coffee. I learned to put my DC in a mug I brought from home. They thought it was coffee….

In about an hour I’m about to walk to our local polling place and cast my vote. No, I will not tell you how I am going to vote. I can tell you that our nation needs a leader.

This election season, being in government (retired) for years, I’ve learned a few things. I hate negative ads, as they demean the candidate who makes them, not the one they accuse. Calling an opponent fat or dumpy does not instill confidence in a voter who wants leadership.

It also calls into question whether either candidate, if elected, can unite us, the people, in a civil manner after such vitriol and tell us again, what was their plan for us, the voters and people who depend on them to defend our interests in health care and social security and world peace. In my mind when they started attacking each other they forgot about us.

I’m so glad it’s over and I just need to place the “I’ve Voted” sticker on my jacket to remind other folks walking, jogging, taking care of their dogs, shopping at the grocery store, to do so as well. I don’t care for whom they vote, just that they do. Young people, get out there! This is your future and you’re the most apathetic generation to date. Vote!

This election season has been particularly harmful for me. I had a tumor that was benign and have been fighting our health insurance company. My father and his companion both have cancer and I’m flying out there this week to help take care of them.

I do not need nor wish to see negative campaign ads. The nation wants to know your ideas, not schoolyard slams. These ads demean the Office of the President of the United States of America.

For the past 18 months, not only do I not watch the ads, I don’t watch the news. I scan through newspapers on paper and online but I will not be bombarded by television that is so negative it turns my stomach.

Here’s one solution. Netflix is only about $10 per month. Amazon Prime is under $100 per year and you get free two-day shipping. When you settle in for the evening before what I call the “last chance” dog walk, choose a documentary, any film genre and watch without ads.

Let’s let them fight each other and judge on merit. That is what I will do this morning. Then I’ll take the dog for an interview to see if she can stay in town this weekend while I deal with cancer on the upbeat. To leadership and unity. As President Truman said, the buck stops here. Dee

“Marginals”

That is what they were called. I considered myself a policy person, so had nothing to do with un-electing folks on the other side of the aisle, only helping those on our side with legislation.

Here are a few stories, simplest first. Our committee was huge, pre-computer, and a grab-bag. Veterans, Native Americans, cable TV, privacy, ethics (!), reapportionment, civil and human rights, discrimination due to actual or perceived sexual orientation, crime victim rights (Son of Sam), displaying the flag, fire and building codes and you name it, I got it.

I’ve always come up with my best solutions around 3:00 a.m. Here are a few.

One “marginal” legislator had a constituent who wanted to sell a plot of land. At the end of Session both parties agreed on land sales, but that didn’t stop the opposition from bogging it down in Committee. I had three rules on this. Call the top lawyer from the department and ask is this land for sale? Do you wish to sell it? And is the surveyor’s report correct. Yea all around, it goes on my agenda.

Come meeting day there was a fight. Don’t worry, I had my Diet Coke in my coffee cup. My chairman was not winning so I asked to step in and said to the opposition that I could explain the surveyor’s report. The chair yielded and I spent about fifteen seconds looking at the bill. Then I declared that it was “four pages.” Everyone laughed, we won on a party line vote. I broke the tiredness (especially mine) and tensions.

Another “marginal” came to me because a 12 year-old wanted to participate in Revolutionary War re-enactments with his father. The legislator was very upset that I could not do this immediately. I researched it thoroughly and the problem is that if the constituent’s son was allowed to spend weekends with dad on the “battlefield” he would be eligible to be conscripted into the National Guard and sent overseas, at war.

There was no way I was going to let this kiddo go to war. It took three weeks to pass this piece of legislation. I was stymied, the legislator was hounding me and complaining to my superiors. At 3:00 in the morning I had an idea. I got up and dressed and walked to the office. I re-wrote an entire section of the Uniform Code for Military Justice, for this boy.

I sat next to the legislator for floor debate. It passed. My office mate and I had gone to the toy store at lunch to get gifts for his kids. I bought a tin soldier and gave it to the legislator after passage of “his” bill.

Now, politics. I helped a “marginal” get elected and he stayed in his post for 30 years. Election night was crazy. Everyone was in the other room socializing and wondering about results. I was in back with the phone and chalk board (yes, the old days) alone.

A call came in for the candidate. His potential boss, and after I kindly asked who was calling I knew his name and title. I sent someone for the candidate and said to come immediately. I asked the caller if he wanted numbers from specific districts while he waited a moment. Instead he asked how I knew him. I said, sir, you don’t know me.

He asked my name and said “Of course, I’d recognize you anywhere, you have your Daddy’s eyes.” That’s a politician. When the newly-elected legislator got on the phone with his boss I shooed out the volunteer, left and shut the door. Five minutes later he addressed the crowd. He won! Dee

 

 

Fear

What did I fear most as a kid? I was afraid to be smart. Of course I was set aside as smart with another kid and we got to read real books, in the back of the classroom, years earlier than other students older than me.

I do not know what happened to my reading companion after that but we enjoyed studying different books together at the back of the classroom. We were made May Queen and May King for Mayfest in 2nd grade. That was a degree of notoriety I never intended. Reading and understanding and crying at home reading Death Be Not Proud was not something my fellow students wanted to know or learn. They were learning phonics, and S and I had already known how to read for years. We learned to read early and I taught my sister when she was four. Our parents fought ITA, phonics, for smart kids who were already reading 2+ years ahead.

Sitting in the back of the classroom, the new teacher, first day, would butcher my name.  I’d raise my hand and give them my nickname as they were not smart enough to master my given name. They didn’t care, nor did my parents for giving me the name. I did. I was a little kid with a big name. It was scary to raise my hand from the back of the room and say “call me Dee.” I love it now but still everyone calls me Dee.

They always put me in the front of the class, front of the grades until later when… that comes later.

I was always so shy. I did not raise my hand so was called on and always knew the answer. Now the Olympics are on the television and I got to see bits of W0mens’ gymnastic vaults and uneven bars. This was a passion I’ve had since before you were born. Olga Korbut, Nadia the perfect 10.

When my family moved to a new city it was summer and I was 15. I tried out for the gymnastics team before the season/school and made it. Then I was immediately made captain. I had been at an elite public school (ever seen the movie about the trouncing of my alma mater in football by TC Williams? Ask Denzel Washington about it as we were G.C .Marshall.)

I was a much better captain than gymnast. That’s why I like to think young girls like me made a new sport better by caring about it and trying to do better tricks than Olga Korbut could do in the seventies, and even the first ten Nadia who brought down everything in her brilliance.

Now I don’t even understand the scoring mechanisms and new rules but have loved seeing womens’ vault and uneven bars competitions. They are so beautiful, I could cry.

As a captain there are duties, leadership responsibilities, education. Foremost are inspiration, aspiration (life goals) and I believe there is kindness to others. These are high school kids. I’m captain of a ship my younger sister is on who wants me to fail every moment and this is high school.

It was difficult. I led some elite gymnasts and taught others. I taught one team-mate humility after she wanted to leave the State Finals after her own performance. I said her team was there for her, the best gymnast in our school, all along and we deserved her support until the end of the meet.

In the locker room I said unless she did this for her team, as the captain, she’s off the team as of now and I’ll tell our coach and she’ll tell the judges her captain says she’s off the team immediately and she will not win anything.

Guess who was in the stands cheering her team-mates? She won her award. I finally spoke out. These mates have been cheering you on all season. You have to cheer us on as well. She did it.

I know she did not do it for her team as she didn’t have a team except herself. She wanted the award but her team-mates needed to know she was there for them. I made sure that happened for them, not for her.  No-one knew except me and Coach, as I had to ask if I could strip her of her medal, and I hope this helps our old team and coach, and haunts her even now.

After 11 I need to go to bed because I’ll know what I missed and and have been up for nearly 17 hours because of family duties, tomorrow, friends, cheers from Dee

 

 

 

 

 

Test Results: Negative

That’s always a good thing to hear when you’re ruling things out. Yesterday our dog Zoe went through a number of tests and shots and is still sleeping it off. She was negative for heartworm, intestinal worms, fleas, ticks, you name it. She got her annual panel of shots and after we got the results, heartworm medication/treat. Ivermectin is so tasty. As we both age, it takes longer to bounce back so she’s been sleeping. Yesterday, for an annual exam and all these procedures it cost us $219.00. We can’t have doggie health insurance because Zoe has no hips (she walks fine, just can’t jump up to the bed) but we consider this part of the cost of having a dog, that and food, love and treats.

I  was denied one cent of coverage by our new health insurance company while my eye was bleeding profusely. The hospital completely misdiagnosed my condition, I went to an eye specialist after I stopped bleeding over the weekend and I had a large growth, surgery, multiple eye exams, biopsy, pathology lab and finally two weeks later the words “benign and healed” happened. Test results: negative. Phew! But we’re not out of the woods yet.

None of this happened in the ER. They didn’t care about my eye and what was wrong with it. They are going to charge me $9,000.00 and insurance will not pick up a cent of it. Apparently an eye gushing blood is not a danger to “life and limb” so because I couldn’t see to find  documentation or drive because of all the paper towels on my face to stem the blood, a kind neighbor drove me to the ER. My health insurance refused to allow a bleeding patient one cent on the insurance as it was not “life and limb.”

Oh,  am going to fight this denial with everything in my being. $219 for the dog is nothing. $9K for an unnecessary CT scan, a few bandages and a cursory vision test by a nurse are not worth that in my book. The insurance company won’t deal with them, or me. I haven’t gotten a bill yet but today called several phones and finally got the whopping number.

Now I’m waiting for them to deny me the medical visits, surgery, biopsy and follow-up for what the ER failed to even look for. This is medical malpractice and insurance fraud. The postal carrier, a good guy my dog loves, knows me and will be sure I get the next denial promptly. I think it’s time to sue and change health care companies.

They messed with the wrong person, yes the former state insurance representative. Everybody knows me. More know and love my old dog. It’s been a trip living here but I think it’s time to go. Dee

 

 

Politics

After college I took a job in politics. I was hired as a policy wonk but realized I was becoming a politician. Having my little brother and sister do “lit drops” which is a folder on your door, or conducting phone ops evenings and weekends I elected my guy.

I didn’t think I was in politics because I was hip-deep into all kinds of law and policy. I got the call from the Majority Leader (he asked my name and said I had my Dad’s eyes) that said Mr. P won without saying it. I cupped the land line (years ago) and yelled for them to get the newest Assemblyman so his boss, the Majority Leader, could tell him he won. Actually they didn’t know, I didn’t know and just said get him ASAP. I remember afterward looking at a harvest moon and cider,not the hard kind.

This man, P, was the most selfless, studious, runner, committed family man I ever met until I met my husband. Mr. P and his wife and family were the reason I became committed to policy and not politics and had to quit. Early on he had me take him to a “hot” place to dance and drink because we were both from the country. There were few places, this was the lobby of a Hilton. We ordered a club soda and a glass of wine.

They mixed it up. I had the wine. He said, my colleagues drink, gamble and cheat on their wives. I told him of the “pact” where colleagues could even have second families and all talk of it stopped at a certain point on the road.

He did none of those things, ran 12 miles a day, read every bill he was going to vote on (that’s why I was there, to analyze and provide synopses so no Member would ever have to read a bill.)

He stayed many years and retired elsewhere. I’d like to think I did as well. He thinks I helped him get elected. I think his grace and dignity saved me. He gave me my husband, though he couldn’t even run after our old dog! Thank You Mr. P. You and your family saved my life. Dee

ps Now I’m getting crosswalks, no after-hours biker bars and now as an old lady I get to choose my vote, can even walk to the Montessori school that is my polling place. Who could ask for anything more? Not me, D

Pack Leader

I am the pack leader at home. Not when the “fun guy” my husband comes home for a day or two. I am the dog walker and food wench, and disciplinarian. She’s 12. 84 in “people years.” So, she’s older than me.

Zoe the dog is going in this weekend for blood tests and shots and a general exam from her vet who now does acupuncture. Cool, that’s why I chose this practice. Oh, Zoe had her hips excised as a pup, severe hip dysplasia in a 24 lb. pup.

I’m wondering how difficult it is for people, adults with enough money to afford it, to get health insurance through ACA, non-subsidised. Insurers we’ve had will not answer the phone unless one wants a marketplace plan with subsidies. After one company screwed us, accepting a check after several phone conversations, not cashing said check then never returning a phone call means there are holes in ACA. After we did much research we found a broker who is setting us up. Why is my dog’s lifetime, tattered health care folder larger than mine?

I cancelled that check and it’s back in our HSA account. As to the dog question, we pay cash and will do so this weekend for her senior blood panel and shots. No-one will offer insurance for our hip-less wonder dog. I think pet insurance is a crap shoot anyway. I chose her vet for a reason, acupuncture, acupressure as Zoe ages. Yes, research.

Do research for everything. I do it for a few things and my husband is the ultimate consumer. I find places to live and he vets things to buy. We’ve been married over a decade and he told his parents to get us a Kitchenaid food processor for an elopement gift because his detailed research said it was better than competitors. I agree and have been using it for years.

I have my pack. Keeping it together is stressful with my husband gone to work elsewhere all the time. I never know what to cook when he comes home. If he’s eating beef all the time I want to change it up and make it homey as he only eats in restaurants.

Zoe and I are home. We want him here. We miss him. Dee