As part of the poetry class I’m taking, I was looking at various books of poetry I have on my bookshelves and stumbled across this piece by Marge Piercy, which seems to fit the times, although it was published in 1991.


Can I just say that with all the brouhaha about the completely insane anti-health-insurance reform crowd that I am starting to panic that we really will have a replay of 1994 and that we will end up with nothing?  Or that whatever limps through in the fall will not do much?

Particularly now that I have joined the ranks of those with a ‘pre-existing condition’ i.e., hypoglycemia.  Which can be a precursor to other things that insurers don’t like.

Good health insurance – thank you Massachusetts! – gave my mother-in-law additional years of life.  Thanks to health insurance in Massachusetts that was affordable, my MIL got the best cancer care available (which in Boston is pretty damn good).  It couldn’t save her because the form of cancer she had was treatable, but not curable.   But that treatment afforded her at least two more summer cabin-camping trips with her grandsons (my kids) -the last cabin camping she did with a walker, a recently broken hip & a colostomy bag — talk about going the extra mile for the grandkids.   That treatment afforded her at least two more Thanksgivings.  That treatment allowed her to live long enough to sell her patent that she had worked on developing and trying to sell for over 15 years and meant that the money from the sale wasn’t completely eaten up by medical bills.  It meant that a woman who had minimal income after she got laid off in 2003 wasn’t stuck with the poor healthcare given to the uninsured.

All of which was due to the fact that she had good insurance, which was due to her having moved back to Massachusetts in 2004 before Massachusetts did its big health insurance reform.  Because otherwise she wouldn’t have been able to afford it and/or would have gotten dumped by her insurance company, as so many individually insured are.  Because after she got laid off in 2003, she couldn’t find a steady job.  Because she was only 58 when she died and not yet eligible for medicare.

Thank you Massachusetts.  If only the rest of the country could get its head out of its ass and follow some form of your example.

*Edited to fix stupid errors

About a month ago, I was complaining to a friend about how my dishwasher just died.  My friend mtm (not her real initials) is into all sorts of things, including astrology, and she explained my broken dishwasher as being the impact of mercury (I think she said mercury) being in retrograde and how it always messed up various technology & communications. 

Ten seconds after she relayed this explanation to me, my cell phone went off.  It was our sitter explaining that after arriving at the park, BB had opened her car door into the car next to them, which resulted in a nasty dent, that had (we later learned from its semi-reasonable owner) had been bought the week before.  New car, bad dent, my kid.  Agh!.   Sitter explained that she did not think her basic car insurance would cover it; seeing as how it was the act of my kid, I told her we’d work it out.

Hanging up, I paused in horror and while not a believer in astrology, nonetheless asked anxiously, “Wait, this won’t impact the election, will it?  When does Mercury leave retrograde?”  I was assured that the retrograde ended in late October. Phew!

Despite multiple appointments with the dishwasher repairman, it was almost two weeks before the dishwasher was fixed, although without the cost of the part that had been part of the wait – great!  In the meantime the first estimate for the car door repair came in at OVER 900 DOLLARS.  Needless to say, we were having conniptions, but mr. jolt, having been tipped by a colleague – and with further advice from the helpful dishwasher repairman, suggested to the car’s owner another place to get an estimate that would be more reasonable.

Less than two weeks later, we got another estimate, this time $500.  There’s nothing like seeing an estimate for over $900 to make a $500 estimate seem reasonable.  We drafted a release & sent it to the lady, she went off to get her car fixed.  In the meantime, our dishwasher broke AGAIN.  Apparently, it was not just a clog and really did need that part that they had waited to arrive and then thought they didn’t need the first time.  But of course, the part had been sent back to the warehouse so we had to wait another week for the part to come in.  

The first failed appointment for the second attempt to fix, which mr. jolt went home for b/c I have no vacation to spare if we want to travel at Christmas, failed.  The part hadn’t come in, but they didn’t find out in time to cancel.  This was the Monday before the election.  That same day the sitter’s car broke down while she was three hours away so she was not going to be available that afternoon.  She asked me on the phone, “Aren’t we supposed to be out of retrograde by now?” (I had shared mtm’s views with her).  I too was dismayed,  what if we were still in retrograde or whatever on election day!?!

The repair dude wanted to come Tuesday night.  I said, no friggin’ way am I dealing with this on election day!  So it was set up for Wednesday.  By  Wednesday, I was so happy about President Elect Obama that I didn’t even blink when the repair dude called early that afternoon to say that he was a single dad and his babysitter got sick so he would not be able to meet me at five.  I was magnanimous & said, “no worries!”  Thursday he came, the dishwasher is fixed; the car door dent has been settled, and clearly a BIG ‘OLE chunk of retrograde had been kicked to the curb because we have P.E.Obama.

However, California must be under a different star because, really WTF.  Of all states that should have been paying attention to astrology it was California and they should not have been passing retrograde constitutional stuff after mercury was no longer in its retrograde screwing everything up (What kind of fucked up system is it when you can change the constitution by majority vote?  No super-majority or 2/3 requirement?  No special procedures?)  Well, the ACLU is on the case & I hope they beat back this asinine retrograde fuckneckery.

Obama’s first press conference (transcript here).  Seemed pretty good to me.  But the most refreshing thing is that, unlike the current occupant of the White House, President elect Obama can effectively communicate ideas and comes across as reasonable even when he’s obviously hedging.

It seems, somehow, absurd to point out that Obama is an effective communicator, but geez, its a huge reminder of how awful Bush is at saying simple sentences or conducting press conferences.  Perhaps some of this is due to the honeymoon stage Obama is in, but his clarity, and also, his addressing the press without sneers, is so refreshing.

I wish I were a more effective speaker and writer in part because I firmly believe that the ability to speak and write clearly is inevitably linked to the ability to think clearly.  Perhaps there are many exceptions to that view,  but the contrast between Bush and Obama reinforces that notion for me.

We’re having a couple of friends over tomorrow night to watch the returns.   We’re doing this because (a) it will be fun (b) it will, I hope, keep me from going blitzo with anxiety; and (c) the last time we had friends over to watch the returns was 1992 (no really, I have no idea what happened on the other election nights) and I’m thinking it might bring good luck.

To be served: arugula salad, of course, amongst other nibblies.

I’ll be arriving at my polling station at 6:30 (it opens at 7) in hopes of getting out in time to drive my mom to the airport (don’t worry, she already voted absentee b/c she knew she’d be traveling).  Otherwise, I’ll have to try the polls after work with the kids in tow.  Wish me luck!


October 29th is Write to Marry Day.*

I grew up in California, well, mostly.  I left California for college and never really went back aside from a couple of summers.  I met and fell in love with a wonderful person who was tied to the East Coast, and was blessed enough that law and society not only permitted me to love and live with this person, but actively encouraged me to signify my commitment to him, and him to me, by marriage, upheld by the state, and granted benefits in accordance thereto.

If we are going to grant benefits to couples, be it health insurance or pension beneficiaries, tax cuts, etc., then those benefits should be available to any couple willing to sign a marriage certificate.  The idea that the state would uphold one type of relationship over another is inherently unfair and the idea of ‘civil unions’ is another way to say that people who fall in love with the same sex should be treated differently, which any person familiar with the evils of separate but equal should understand is NOT equal.  

My favorite uncle lives in California has been in a loving partnership for over 20 years.  He and my uncle-by-love have thought about getting married, but are waiting to see what happens with Prop 8 for fear that the marriages that have been performed since earlier this year for same sex couples might be invalidated.  If you saw these two, you would see the funniest, sweetest couple, with all the same ‘i’ve known you forever’ inside jokes and affection as any other couple you’ve known and loved.  Through my uncle-by-love I have gotten to know a whole other side of my favorite uncle, one he never shared with the family when my grandparents were alive. 

While I haven’t been eligible to vote in California since 1991, I hope that anyone eligible will vote NO on Proposition 8 and allow same sex couples in California to marry and, I hope, spark further marriage equality throughout the states.

When I was pregnant with my second son, my California uncles came to visit and took me out to dinner.  My uncle-by-love, who knew we were expecting a second boy, teased me, “you know it [gayness] is genetic . . .”  My reply, “well, at least then I have a shot at being mother of the bride.”  We all dissolved in laughter, but I was not wholly joking.  I fervently hope that my sons, should they want to get married, can marry whomever they choose, regardless of sex or gender.

Vote No on 8.


*ok, I’m a little early, but better that then late.

On the main road in our subdivision, there is a yard with a McCain sign and right next to it, an Obama sign.

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