Wednesday, December 3, 2014

the Cartilage Bandits?

Dear Body,
We need to have a heart to heart, or is that head to heart
…maybe mind to heart?
Ah! I have it! We need to have a mind to body. That’s it!

Let's start again.

Dear Body,
We need to have a mind to body chat. I would suggest we do it over coffee, but for reasons of which you are undoubtedly aware, we will have to settle for the keyboard. I have commandeered my hands for the next little while, so keep your mitts off.

I know, that is a hand-related puns…tough.

I have had quite enough of your skeletal mismanagement! Who do you think you are roughing up my cartilage so much? It has already fled one kneecap, and the other isn’t far behind. Then there are the several vertebrae that are feeling the pinch. While joints in my hands are hanging on, you are not making that easy.

I have to ask, what do you have against my cartilage? Did it offend you somehow? Has it been out late carousing with some licentious ligament?

You do realize that having no cartilage means nothing is cushioning our bones? There are 206 of them in here (not counting the ones in our ears) and they do not suffer in silence.

My left femoral neck was so stressed that the cartilage around my hip joint tore! You are really putting the thumbscrews to our skeletal system.

Yes, there are indeed multitudes of hand–related puns and the fingers are really enjoying typing every, single, one.

Was it something I did? I know I’ve not always been the most considerate of hosts, but that’s no reason take it out on the cartilage and bones is it? You are cutting off our nose to spite our face, and I quite like our nose.

Honestly, what purpose does this “Just Say No to Cartilage” campaign serve?  

I have more complaints to lodge, but I will not over tax my fingers.  

Sincerely,

Me

Sunday, September 7, 2014

...my senses

There are rules I have in order to deal with my ADD once my medicine wears off. They are simple:

After 8:00 pm, among the things I'm not allowed to do are:
  • watch newsmagazines
  • check the news online
  • start new recipes
  • look at Facebook
Why you ask? Well, I see things that set off what my Ever Patient Husband calls my Paladin Mode. Not in the religious sense, but in the "I see injustice and I must right it!" sense.

This may sound like a good reaction, but it can lead to unfortunate things, like downloading the Federal Budget...I'll tell that story some other time,

Well, today I blew the "Don't Look at Facebook" rule. What can I say, I thought it was earlier than it was.

Big, big mistake.

One of my Facebook friends ranted about AARP. As I turn 50 tomorrow, you could see how this caught my attention.

Bad, bad news.

In my opinion the rant misrepresented several things. Now you might say,  "So? Just ignore it?"

So, not an option.

Here is my reply.

---------------------


"First, there is AARP for which there are membership dues, and the AARP Foundation. I am guessing you are referring to the non-charitable operation. 

Your rant is…well a rant, but it also is misleading. So let me try to clear a few things up for those reading your post.

1. AARP and Social Security

My husband said it well; “AARP is a somewhat conservative political group, which provides information to its membership based on its political agenda. They believe that Social Security reform is necessary and their website gives an analyses of the different reform suggestions currently on the table in Washington. However none of these involve ‘dismantling’ Social Security, and the correct term is defunding not dismantling”

I am far more liberal than my husband and even I know that there have to be some changes or even cuts made to Social Security so we all can draw on it when we retire. If your want to attack those who are trying to defund Social Security, then rant about the people who actually do want to defund it or, worse, want it privatized.

My late Father-in-Law’s was a career CPA/ Federal auditor. He understood the complexities of Social Security better anyone I’ve known. He believed then, and he would now if her were here, that there are adjustments and cuts that can be made to keep Social Security alive (which is something us liberals want). Your rant about them not being liberal enough is unproductive and gives the rest of us liberals a bad name.

Bottom Line: if you don’t agree, then don’t join.

2. Regarding the Affordable Care Act.

As much as I hate it, the compromises were necessary to get the folks on the other side of the aisle on boar,  it is far, far better than what we had before! I know this because of my daughter's illnesses and mine, I  have had an in-depth course of the Act. Is it perfect? No, we all know that. President Obama didn’t like the compromises either. AARP s website, however,  has done a damn good job at explaining and clarifying what the act does and does not do, for example “AARP’s health care guide for more information about how the Affordable Care Act provides tangible benefits to seniors” http://www.aarp.org/health 

3. You wrote: “Their number one source of income is the crap they sell to their membership, from cheap glasses to bland magazines to crap insurance policies (reverse mortgage anyone?).”

A. The depth of the resources both online and in their bulletins (not the same as the magazine) are quite useful. They also have radio and TV programs. Their topics may seem bland to you, but you are your own N of 1. Many others do not see it that way, me included.

B. Insurance Policies. I looked at the insurance policies they offer. They seem reasonable. The Healthcare ones are not designed to be stand-alone policies. They are to augment Medicare and primary insurance like Blue Cross. Dental is Delta Dental, which I have through my employer. Personally, I think their Small Business Insurance is great.

C. Reverse Mortgage: This quote should settle the issue—
“One slick TV spot after another, reverse mortgages are touted as an easy means to a carefree lifestyle. Actor Robert Wagner, Henry 'the Fonz' Winkler and even former U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson assure older homeowners that they can 'live a better retirement' with a reverse mortgage. But what the ads don't show is the heartbreak that these complex loans — which allow homeowners to convert part of the equity in their homes into cash — have brought to a number of homeowners.” —AARP Bulletin April 2013.

--------------------
So, gentle reader you can now see why Angie shouldn't read Facebook after her med wears off.




Monday, August 11, 2014

...the sane

Somehow the tragic death of Robin Williams was just one drop of water too much for me.  

I don't usually rant. At least not out loud.

But sometimes I get so pissed off that I don't have a choice. Well, I really do have a choice but at this point I don't want to choose the other option. 

I refuse to be silent.
  • We live in a world where people are becoming increasingly intolerant of everyone else.
  • We live in a world that believes women should be seen and not heard.
  • We live in a world where it's okay to divorce your cancer-ridden wife and marry your mistress, and still believe that same-sex marriage is a threat to the "sanctity of marriage"
  • We live in a world where people care more about the treatment of animals than they do about the treatment of people.
We live in a world that is, quite frankly, going insane.

And I'm sorry if it seems that I am ragging on religions. I am actually ragging on the zealots,  fanatics which can be found in every religion or in any system of beliefs.


  • To the zealots in the religious right: Try reading the first four books of your New Testament. Read what your Lord and Savior said, especially Luke 6:37, then tell me how you justify the way you conduct yourselves.

  • To the Congress people who thought giving a Bible to every member of Congress was somehow a good idea: The Bible, the Quran, the Torah, the writings of Confucius, and the like do not belong in our legislative chambers.  

  • To the pastor who canceled a funeral, with less than 24 hours notice, because the deceased was gay: Where is your mercy? Where is your compassion? How can you be a pastor and have neither?

  • To those who criticize Israel: Hamas is not a government to negotiate with. Hamas does not care about the Palestinian people. Hamas is a terrorist group, bent on destroying Israel. Hamas uses people as shields because they know you will criticize Israel for harming civilians.  How does it feel to be a tool of terrorists? 

  • To everyone else: To remain silent is to be complicit. Let your voice be heard, whether it is at the ballot box or the coffee house; whether it's deciding where to spend your money or where to spend your time. 

Do something!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

...the voices of reason

Ever since I was old enough to willingly watch the news, or read a newspaper (those paper things that leave ink dust on your fingers) I have thought about how reality can become distorted.

Yes, it's arguable that we all perceive reality differently, but it doesn't help to have it intentionally toyed with.

Now, I’ll be the first to say that my relationship with reality has been adversarial at times, but I know how to reason things out.

But what about others? There seems to be an overabundance of extreme viewpoints: “if it isn’t my view of reality, then it’s wrong.” Or evil, or whatever negative adjective is currently in fashion.

Those extreme views dominate our news media, and our social media.  

If you think you are unaffected, ask yourself this:  When you just read “Those extreme views dominate…” did you only think about the extreme that you disagree with?

What is missing is reason.  

Reason—there's that word again—here is why it's important:


  • Reason is “[t]he power of comprehending, inferring, or thinking especially in orderly rational ways.[emphasis added]”

  • Reason is "[a] sufficient ground of explanation or of logical defense [emphasis added]*

  • Reason is why we should realize that we need to demand explanations that go beyond: "Because I said so."

Face it, we hated it when our parents said that to us.  As adults why do we accept it from anyone else?





*http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/reason

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

My Lessons on Reality Thinking!

Inner Dialogue 1
Reality Thinking 0

It was going really well over the last nine months of graduate school. Whenever my Inner Dialogue (ID) tried to become the pied piper and lure me off the path of Reality-Thinking, I valiantly inundated it with data:

Such as last month.

*Pipe music.* You tanked that essay.

Reality Angie crosses her arms and raises an eyebrow, "Really? Where's the data for that?" 

*Louder pipe music.*  Data schmaeta.  You feel it in the pit of your stomach.  Your gut is telling the truth. Listen to it.

"We both know that my gut is just your puppet. Let's get back to data: One, I did everything the assignment required...and more."

*Pipe music is quieter*

"Two, it read well."

*Pipe toots.* ID is unable to produce a tune.

"Three, it was a very cogent argument." 

*Silence*

"So there! " *Reality Angie sticks out her tongue* 

...Hey, it's my reality I'm allowed to be juvenile when I want to...

The piper clothing faded away. My now sweatshirt and jeans-clad ID sighed, flipped me off and vanished.

For those who know my Inner Dialogue (ID for short) that was a major defeat, and it has already suffered similar defeats over the last nine months. After this one, my ID decided to hide in one of the folds in my brain and lick its wounds.

...although thinking about something hiding in my grey matter and licking its wounds is kind of gross, but I remain committed to the metaphor.... 

Things were going well, then came the end of this semester. The end of my first year in graduate school...

My ID's energy had been restored—probably from feeding off of my brain. 

...That's it!  This is not a zombie movie!  My ID is many things, but a brain-eating zombie is not one of them... 

...Oh crap, I'm defending my ID....

Back to the story.

By some kind of non-brain-eating miracle, my ID is standing tall. Again in the guise of a piper, clad in a brightly colored waistcoat and tights, it began to pipe a rousing march. Complex and captivating. 

*Pauses music.* You know you tanked your classes this semester...admit it."

Reality Angie is slightly distracted by the music. "Ah...yes...no! Where's the data?"  

...This isn't starting out well... 

*More rousing pipe music.* My ID steps off and back from the path.

"Where's the da...Wow, that waistcoat is period. How did you....No!  I am not falling for that. My papers were fine!" 

*Pipe trill.* Fine?  Just fine?  What is fine?  *resumes music.*

"Fine, as in acceptable, adequate, satisfac...tor...Where did you get the cloth for that jacket?"

My ID grins. "It's a very interesting story,  but first, you wanted data?  Is this data to support your case for 'fine'?"

"Ah...yes...yes of course. I did fine, my grades will be just fine...."

My ID steps even further off the path and is now cloaked in shadow, "Ah, but fine isn't a 4.0, is it?  Logically, 'fine' is less than that, isn't it?  *Pipe music starts again.*

Reality Angie tries to buck up, but realizes ID isn't wrong. "You're right, 'fine' isn't  a 4.0. But it doesn't have to be a 4.0.  A 3.5 is fine....who tailored the waistcoat?"

My ID knows that it has won. "Come with me and I will tell you all you want to know about my garb, perhaps find a pipe and teach you how to play...after all...if you did get a 3.5, what's the worst that can happen? You will just be a less strong candidate for the doctoral program."  

Reality Angie is no longer standing on the path of logic, reality, and strength. Bereft of logic and data, Reality Angie follows the piper, who continues to lead her away from the light, from sanity. Within moments she's gone. In her place stands my ID, a triumphant smirk taunts me. 

"You know you tanked the semester."

Having been abandoned by Reality and left to the depredations of my ID, I go into full retreat and off to bed. In the morning I can find out how dismally...I mean fine....I did this semester.

Addendum: I did get a 4.0!

Monday, April 28, 2014

...the brackets?

March Madness and Contingency Planning (a.k.a. when life busts your bracket)
For me, March Madness 2014 was more about living and breathing than it was about living and breathing basketball...
...Upon reflection, however, living and breathing 20 sweaty people, two nets, a wooden court, and a leather ball doesn't sound healthy either...

Anyway.
Life busted my bracket.
After finishing my needs assessment draft and while drafting the format and methods section, for a class project, I lost my stepfather, a cousin, and a friend.
What does this have to do with program planning?
Well, in my previous life as a university administrator, when planning events I made sure that if I was run over by a bus then he show could still go on.
Yes, I know that’s depressing, but you don’t make contingency plans for good news.
To me, contingency planning is more than what to do if the AV goes down, or running short on funding, or a presenter dropping out. It is also about what happens if the planner is unexpectedly out of commission.
This kind of contingency plan isn’t necessarily written down, at least not in the sense of “If I am not here do X, Y, and Z.”  It is more about not being an island, not being the sole keeper of knowledge. It is why planning should be done as a team, where everyone is up to speed on the time line, and everyone knows what’s going on, well enough, to pull it together if you aren’t there.
No, it’s not something anyone likes to think about, but there is always a chance the you could get sick, or have to go out of town on a family emergency, or have your appendix removed on the week of an event.
A responsible planner must make contingency plans for their own absence.
For the possibility that something will bust their personal bracket
This is from my personal blog for one of my classes. I thought it worked here as well....
a blog of exploration, discovery, and recovery