Friday, August 31, 2012

Dear Diary

I can't find my journal anywhere?! I like to write in a journal sometimes, just to process the day, reflect on the good and the bad. Plus, I think if I ever get amnesia or just old and forgetful I'll be able to go back and make sure I've really lived.   I've searched the house up and down to no avail so I'll just have to write about the day with a blog post.  Welcome to a peek inside my scattered mind...

Brandon's employer has a " healthy incentives" program. As a spouse I also get to participate,  so I went in for "testing" the other day. They took my vital signs, checked my blood, had me stand on a scale that apparently measures more than your weight. Based on the magic scale they told me I was dehydrated and needed to gain more muscle. I don't know how the machine knows that stuff. They didn't either.

I don't like weight lifting but I believe the magic scale. Luckily my next door neighbor hosts a neighborhood weight lifting session in her basement gym twice/week.   It's a good chance for us moms to get together and sweat. Obviously I haven't taken advantage of that but I probably will be now. And along the lines of getting healthier...

I made what I thought was a fantastic dinner--at least for 'well developed' tastebuds.  I tried my first batch of couscous--anything is more fun to eat if it comes in size miniscule, don't you think? A trip to the farmer's produce stand inspired the rest of the menu. I bought some peaches, squash, peppers.  I already felt really cool for buying "farm to table" but I upped the ante by placing a beautiful purple eggplant in my basket.   Back at home I sliced it up, dipped the slices in italian dressing, coated them with parmesan and breadcrumbs and broiled for 4 minutes each side at 450 degrees.  Cut up and sauteed the veggies, mixed all the sides together and served it with corn on the cob and juicy ripe melon.

I have such weird kids. They didn't think it was as awesome at all.  Brandon wondered "where's the beef?"  I caught him eating a sloppy joe out of the fridge RIGHT after dinner?

I printed out a list of dinnertime questions earlier this month to add some pizazz  to our dining experience (as if eggplant wasn't enough) Tonight's question was "When was the last time you cried and why?"  You can answer it too if you like. It turns out that all the kids had cried recently because of practicing piano with ME!!  Uggg. Good thing I had book club tonight.

I Looooove my bookclub. I seriously can't wait to go (especially after dinner conversations like the above) and talk to other women.   These aren't just any women-- they are a flash mob of creative prowess.  They would have liked my dinner.  I hardly fit in but I like to feed off their zest for learning and we have some great  discussions.

 Tonight we discussed "How to Think Like Leonardo Da Vinci; Seven Steps to Genius Every Day."    Very inspiring! These ladies make me read and love stuff like that. We've tackled Pilgrim's Progress and Shakespeare. Next up on the dockett is "Great Expectations" which I hope I will like more than I did in High School.

Looking forward to a long weekend in sunny St. George where I can read by the pool, do some (yippee) shopping, explore some canyons, and just chillax.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

school, School, SCHOOL

It had been awhile, so we hit the road this weekend to spend some time with family.
Back at the campus where this guy and I met 15 years ago, Dad and the kids were given a VIP tour from retired professor, Grandpa.  I didn't get to go on the tour (I was shopping for a birthday outfit with Grandma--what fun!) but here's what it looked like from Kate's point of view...

Is this one of those famous mint brownies or a cougar tail?
Kaaaate, pick on someone your own size.

 Success in every way-- I got a new outfit and the kids got to see the ins and outs of BYU world.

 If our big fat Y logo wall sticker at home isn't enough to point them in the right academic direction, then hopefully the tour will.

 We made a few phone calls and had a great turnout of family join us for a Saturday afternoon hike.
 And well, we can't end without discussing the elephant in the room: It was the FIRST WEEK BACK TO SCHOOL.   Kate the great is a newbie at middle school this year--yay for lockers, lots of classes, and awkward times.   Brynn is in 4th and is happy with her teacher despite him seeming tired--well yeah, who wouldn't be tired after teaching for 36 years!   Adrie loves loves loves her new school class and like Matilda can't wait to discuss literature over a box of chocolates with her teacher, Miss Honey.

The little guy has one more year at home. He is a little weirded out by his sister friends suddenly leaving him all day. Until he's drafted into the Kindergarten playoffs next year, we'll enjoy many books and play-dough dates.
Phew! It was one happenin' week.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Dusty Bottoms

 This week we continued the tradition of going to the County Fair. Wahooo.   Kate entered the chocolate baking contest. She didn't win the $50 grand prize she was hoping for but I thought her triple layered mint chocolate bars were mmmazing!  

We saw giant zucchinis, beautiful handmade quilts, canned goods of every variety. The girls entered their own exhibits. Adrie was delighted to find that her poem about dinosaurs won a blue ribbon. Kate and Brynn entered art work and photography and got 2nd place ribbons.  Kate also entered a sugar cube sculpture which also got a blue ribbon.  

 Adventure seeker though I am, I was secretly hoping to get out of the Little Cowboy Rodeo this year. (so dang hot and muggy) but here we are!!!   This year Brynn was too big to do mutton bustin' and instead graduated to "steer riding. "  What is a steer?   I asked one of the many knowledgeable patrons in cowboy duds and I'm sure you're dying to know.  It's a young male cow that is fixed so it won't become a bull. They grow up to be pot roasts and hamburgers.  After Brynn saw a couple of kids get bucked off within 2 seconds and nearly trampled, she thought she'd pass on that adventure.
Only in a small town.
 She and Adrie joined hoards of little cowboys and girls for a chance at nabbing a blue ribbon of the money bull.  Brynn got herself a dollar and a dusty bottom. They also participated in a "boot" race.

For a new adventure, this weekend,  we headed out East for the Castle Valley pageant. 
 The locals here put on a good re-enactment of the settlement of the valley and the hardships and joys of pioneer life.  I think the early settlers of this place would have had to have even a greater sense of adventure than I to leave their homes and try to make a new life on what looks like the planet Mars.

 Before the sun set, we enjoyed some pioneer life activities like making rag rugs and riding in a horse drawn wagon.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Wacky World of HealthCare

Today I am writing a claims appeal to my health insurance for the emergency room expenses I incurred while visiting my mom for the last time.  Today my mom would have celebrated her 76th birthday.

I have to explain to my insurance why not being able to breathe or move my legs and having my blood pressure soar then plummet then soar  again, was "life-threatening."   If they believe, like the bystanders who called 9-1-1, that it was, then the $6000+ medical bills, I incurred will be applied to a $4000 in-area deductible instead of a $6000 out-of-area deductible. Brother. That's the crazy world of healthcare we live in.

Do you know how much it costs for a nurse to hand you oral medications?   $87.00
My 10 minute ambulance ride? $1242
Once you enter an emergency room/ hospital there is no end to the outrageous overcharging!

It makes me wonder what happened to the real world?   For any other service( except funeral) I think you can get a pretty fair competitive trade for your dollar. Need an oil change? $20.  A haircut? $20.   Not in the medical world. It's like playing a game with monopoly money. Insurance companies HAVE monopoly money (deducted out of our paychecks each month) so they can join in on the game.   But for those of us  with no insurance or very high deductibles, (doesn't pay to work for the state, afterall)  there should be a  real people price tag.

Take Germany , for example. While traveling there, my friend's little girl got a "tick."  Nasty little buggar, they took her to the emergency room, where it was safely removed. They were presented a bill of $50 U.S. dollars.  $50 for an ER visit?? What American wouldn't be thrilled to see a 2 digit medical bill?!   That's so simple, so fair. It's enough to make you think twice about rushing to the ER but not so much that they would rather have risked "Black Forest fever" They paid it right then and there. Done deal. No insurance. No problem. That is the real world I'm talking about!  That is what prices should be.

If price gauging is because of the soaring costs of malpractice insurance then let's make laws against frivolous law suits.  If you go to a doctor, if you have a surgery, you assume the risks.   By all means, use Angie's List to make sure that particular doctor didn't have a history of removing the wrong kidney and then get on that gurney.

But here's something to consider... why can't we get rid of health insurance altogether?!!   If everything was reasonably priced, we wouldn't NEED health insurance, right?  We could unlock skyscrapers full of insurance agents and free them up for more rewarding careers like,  music educators in the schools? I'm just getting so excited here.

Competitively priced services would mean most people could pay their own bill!

Call me idealistic, but I think eliminating malpractice suits and doing away with health insurance would make  America a swell place to break a leg.