Friday, February 26, 2010

Cherries in Winter

This was a wonderful book. If written in Utah you would call it a family history book, but since it was done in the East, it is a memoir with recipes. This is a book I would recommend to everyone. It was uplifting, funny and wonderfully written. It is the type of book that can give you a bit more backbone to get through your own problems, when you realize that people have been surviving their problems for many, many years. Go out and get yourself a copy!

Ok, now I have to give a quote from a book that is none of the above things. When I am pregnant, especially near the end, when I'm practically on bed rest, like now, I read light mysteries. I've been reading a series by Sarah Strohmeyer in which the protagonist is a hairdresser named Bubbles. They are funny, completely removed from my own life, and set in the same area my sister lives in, the Lehigh Valley PA. Normally I wouldn't even mention these books, mostly because I'm slightly embarrassed by them, but in this particular book I found something that made me laugh and I wanted to share.

"Says here that a Susan Pendergast graduated three years ago with an M.R.S."
I cleared my throat. "An M.R.S.? I thought that was a joke."
"Not at Two Guys College. Our Matronly Required Studies program is very rigorous. We teach both practical and theoretical, culminating in fieldwork for three months."
"What is it?"
Mrs. Cathobianco clicked down farther. "Essentially, it's expanded and intensified home economics. You know, in this day and age we don't have generations of domesticated women passing down the old skills, from bleaching shower grout and studying the miracles of Borax to catching a financially secure husband."
I walked around to examine her computer scree. "And that's what Susan studied? Shower grout?"
"With PA certification. Pennsylvania housekeeping is a specialty. Only the most qualified can meet its standards. You've really got to master your toothbrush as the ultimate cleaning tool." She hesitated. ""It says here Miss Pendergast excelled in the practical-- laundry whitening, husband catching and coupon clipping--and aced her thesis on "The Versatile Cassava: It's Not Just for Dessert." . . .
"Seems Miss Pendergast was a tad weak on the theoretical." She pointed to a word I didn't recognize. "Schadenfreude, for example, the German expression for taking joy in a neighbor's pain. It's required for Pennsylvania certification but Miss Pendergast nearly failed it. Fortunately she made up for the low grade by doing okay in the Art of Surreptitious Gossip."
My toe started involuntary tapping, bothered as I was by what I sensed might be home girl discrimination. "How come I never knew about this M.R.S. stuff? I would have loved to have caught a wealthy husband."
Mrs. Cathobianco spun away from her computer, her eyes full of guidance-counselor sympathy. "I'm sorry Bubbles, but you were in the Study A Broad program. You didn't qualify."
"Abroad? I've never gone past Perth Amboy. How could I have been abroad?"
"Oh, Bubbles, a girl doesn't have to go far to be a broad."
"What does that mean?"
She bit her lip, as I'd seen her do before when she was trying to couch bad news, such as that I was destined for expulsion or that Dan's tuition check had bounced. "Let me explain it more clearly. Miss Pendergast was in the Domestic Studies Program and you were in the A Broad because, well, because you are a . . . broad."
I Blinked.
"A chick. Babe. Broad. That's you." . . .
"I see." I sullenly returned to my side of the desk. "And how did you determine this?"
"Your entrance exams. Listing Diet Pepsi, Tastycakes and Basic cigarettes as three of the major food groups automatically sent you A Broad."

After going to BYU and hearing much joking about the M.R.S. degree, I couldn't help but laugh at that description of community college helpfulness.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Happy Links

After that rant a few days ago I would like to that those that gave me suggestions, especially my wonderful Brother-in-law and I have several strategies that need visits to the doctor and the hospital billing office to implement. But here are a few things to lighten your day.

A woman who knew what she wanted out of life.

A site dedicated to scholars and their testimonies.

A moment to make you glad you are a parent.

And how creative are you when you have a problem?

That's all for today. If it is the last week of February, it must be almost spring, right? Right?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Insurance help?

OK, I need to rant a little bit. Feel free to make any complaints on the same topic in the comments, because then I won't feel alone. I am covered by the state's (Utah) high risk pool coverage, because I can't get insurance any other way. We are self-employed and I have several past things that make me unappealing to the insurance companies. The state's coverage is only for individuals, the baby cannot be added, like you normally just add an infant to the parent's coverage when they are born.
So I've called around about adding the baby to our kids coverage, or getting another single one, or something like that, and they all say that I can't do that until the baby has had his first check-up at two weeks. Presumably because they don't want to add him if he any health problems. So the first two days in the hospital, all the tests, anything that might be needed to help him if he has problems, NONE OF IT WILL BE COVERED.
This on top of the $5000 deductible that I have, and the $5000 deductible my children have on their own policy, and the fact that David and Ryan can't get insurance either.
You know all those people who were complaining they might have to pay an extra few bucks on their nice insurance policies who helped railroad the health care bill. I want to throw things at them.
Though health care reform is painful, and expensive and all that, there is nothing they proposed or could do that would not in some way help my family. And the worst part of it is, we are well off, relatively speaking. We make way more than the median for our community, we make about $200 a month more than qualifying for the state children's insurance, so we are out of luck.
Just thinking about it makes me angry enough to send nasty letters to every Republican in the state, sitting there in their comfy chairs, never having to worry about how they are going to get the money to pay for their children's dentist visit or immunizations.
Some would say it is our own fault because we chose to have so many children. Yes, we did, and I am fully willing to pay for insurance for them. My main complaint is that IT IS NOT AVAILABLE. I cannot get insurance for my unborn child, I cannot get insurance for my child with Asperger's syndrome. I have done the equivalent of wander from place to place begging them to take my money, only to be turned away.
OK, I'm done now. I could type for a lot longer, but I would only be repeating myself. If you have any suggestions, I am open to them, I feel like I have run out of options. Thanks for reading this far.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Just a link that made me cry

I read this and started weeping, both from gratitude and sympathy. I double-dog dare you to keep a dry-eye.

That's all.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

January Events

I've noticed that it is easier to post photos on my blog than Facebook, so here are a few from the last month.
We had two birthdays, first J.'s 10th.

And then M.'s 5th, with pink all around.
We painted and installed shelves, with lots of help.
And R. got his Arrow of Light from Cub Scouts.
And that's me looking very pregnant.
More photos at the end of the month, E.'s baptism is on the 27th.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Blithe Tomato

This was a surprisingly uplifting book. It was written by a farmer and framed as a series of short chapters based on people and events from the local farmer's market. I've read similar books and while I enjoy the farmer/gardening aspect they can be very judgemental. I dislike reading a book and feeling like the author wouldn't want to associate with me because our politics and lifestyles are too different. I didn't feel like that at all with this author, though we might be very different people. You get the feeling that the differences wouldn't matter to him.
I think this is the first memoir type book that I came away thinking that this was a very kind person and that impressed me. You don't find kindness in the public sphere very often.
I liked the stories and ideas, the life of a small-time farmer who is content with his life. It was just the perfect thing for a winter's day, to remind you of the value of being outdoors and creating and growing things. I'm not going to put any quotes in because everything I want requires too much back story or I will end up putting in several pages worth. Just take my word for it, it is a lovely read.

Blithe Tomato. Mike Madison. Heyday Books. 2006