Monday, October 31, 2005

Carved Pumpkin Contest WINNER! Yeah!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!! Isn't this a strange holiday? Wherein grown-ups feel compelled to go against centuries of ingrained reactions towards sweets, and lavish them upon children with glee ~ wherein mothers spend countless hours putting together costumes that will only last a few hours and end up stained and nasty within a single days' time ~ wherein grown men ignore all safety precautions and use power tools to shape ungainly mountains of squash & then proceed to light it on fire in a triumphant show of pyromania~

This was my husbands contribution this year ~
AND he won the carving contest ~ again :-D

He looked even better when the flames were shooting out of his eyes , and out of the little pumpkin's mouth, ~ both of them had these huge scented wax candles in them, which were green and red, and once it got really hot and started melting the wax, it looked great , wax dripping out of the mouths and eyes of both pumpkins, hehehehehe. We used a fire starter & a few pieces of kindling, which gave us about 1 1/2 hours of steady flames, melting wax, and burning pumpkins. :-D

Monday, October 17, 2005

Health Care Issues Today ~ We are headed for NO Insurance coverage by yr 2010 perhaps 2012

I posted a large amount of this blog at , as a commentary on another blogged comment.

My rant today ~ Health Care & Insurance Coverage ~ TAKE A STAND FOLKS! ~ I guess my main isssue is people who go running to the doc for every little thing ~ from a cold to a scrape, & that takes up the time of the doc, so that other more emergent care issues have to wait as well. Also, the doc then ends up prescribing those lovely antibiotics to a whole host of issues that probably could have done without, and in fact cause more problems than it solves. All because the patient wants ATTENTION, and a CURE, INSTANTLY. America is into INSTANT IMMEDIATE GRATIFICATION ~If the doc was not ~wheedled~ ( co-erced, begged, demanded, etc) into providing INSTANT REMDEDIES, the current state of anti-biotic issues would not be where it is at today.
Now , there are some major medical emergencies that can & do occur despite our best efforts at maintaining health, however, think of this ~ if people would put away ( into a flex fund, cafeteria plan, even just a separate savings account) the amount they would pay for health insurance every month, and be an ACTIVE partner in their own health care, I truly believe that that amount of money would be enough to take care of any medical needs OUTSIDE of major medical emergencies. (Approx. $2000 - $3000 per yr., much less on a per-person basis, more along the lines of $600 per yr for an adult. The $2000 amount is for my family of 7.) People should SHOP their health care ~ the name of the game is consumerism.
Take Lasik surgery ~ it's an elective surgery, so it isn't covered, so people will SHOP their doc to find the best deal. People KNOW what that is gonna cost, but you get the ~ copay or deductable~ covered expense going, and they almost ALWAYS can't even tell you what the total was, all they know is that their part was covered. Often, they don't even SEE the BILL.
So, Who really pays for insurance?? The real question should be ~ Who pays the Doc's bills? Insurance is a collective pot, usually heavily subsidized by employers. So, that means the EMPLOYERS are the ones paying the doc's bills. When its all invisible ( as in, you choose the doc, and let them bill whatever they ask, without being informed, or concerned) that's like your employer giving you carte-blanche, a credit card with no limit, a checkbook with no oversight. Is it any wonder that the system gets abused? It gets abused by employees who are ignorant of what their costs are, and health care providers who take advantage of insurance pools.

Historically health care was a service oriented profession. Our habits and our ways of thinking about docs in general are driven by decades of this kind of thinking. HOWEVER, health care today, is a BUSINESS. And businesses are about maximizing profits. Today we have a business climate for health care that lacks consumerism, and more importanntly, often lacks competition. Again, is there any wonder that the system is being abused?
People don't want to have to think about what their health care costs are, or about their own actions or lack of actions in their own self care. Ther is no question about IF insurance will continue to be provided by employers, the only question is WHEN it will no longer be available through employer-paid premiums. Some say yr 2010, others project 2012. People MUST be in charge of their own health care!!
Some people argue that "now, if we all ate our veggies and took nice relaxing walks on a daily basis, the world would undoubtedly be a better place, but somehow i think having low or middle income people hold even greater responsibility for their healthcare costs would be seriously detrimental. "
Why does being a a low or middle-income person automatically QUALIFY you for getting all the health care procedures that science can dream up? Why should that be subsidized? Why should ANYONE AUTOMATICALLY DESERVE to have these things available to them? Since when does being created EQUAL mean that if I don't make as much money as you, I DESERVE to have YOU pay for the things I can't afford? I am sorry, but there is NO SUCH THING as free lunch folks!
It's like the Whole Katrina Disaster relief thing ~ While I am perfectly WILLING to donate time, money, items, etc. to those folks, I am not REQUIRED to. And no-one should be required to, either. Yes, we should want to help our neighbors in times of need, and yes, if we don't, we may be called to task for that in the here-after, HOWEVER, and this is a BIG HOWEVER ~ it is not their RIGHT to EXPECT others to pay for them.
And insurance pools are just precisely that. You take a pool of individuals, put all their money into a pot, and dole it out as each person needs it, right? But what about Johnny over there, who keeps on dipping into the pot, never even asks what he can do to STOP dipping into the pot, never even bothers to find out HOW MUCH he is getting out when he starts dipping, and really, DOESN'T CARE, as evidenced by his continual dipping. In fact, Johnny is CAUSING HIMSELF to dip, because he refuses to take care of himself properly. And as a result of that, everyone else in the pool pays for Johnny. And you know what? Johnny thinks it's OWED to him. He thinks he DESERVES to be able to dip, without consequence. Maybe Johnny thinks that his employer OWES it to him. Why should an employer be required to add to the pot, just for Johnny's sake? What if the pot were for vehicle maintaince? Is Johnny's employer responsible for Johnny's vehicle? Or is Johnny? Is Johnny's poor driving habits and reckless use & abuse of the vehicle something that Johnny's employer should have to help pay for through maintainance of Johnny's vehicle?
Of course not! And health care is EXACTLY the same! WAKE UP AMERICA! START TAKING RESPONSIBILITY for your OWN HEALTH! It is VITAL that we do so!

Ah Yes, Medical School

Ah Yes, Medical School

A little Appreciation ~ Hurricane Katrina

I feel for the Hurricane Katrina situation, but I just have to say something ~ why should the government be the only responsible parties here? Why is it the government that should suck up all this loss? Because you know what? When you say ~government help~ what you are really saying is ~taxpayers dollars~.
Now, I would FAR prefer my taxes and such to go to a good cause like this sad state of affairs in New Orleans and else where that has been hit by such devastation. BUT ~ I just think people should realize that when they are out there demanding ~The Government~ to get into action, they are really demanding the rest of the nation. Again, let me stress this, I would FAR rather have my taxes and such go to devastating events like this , but, let's not forget who it is that funds ~the Government~.
I think it's more up to each state to be somewhat self-reliant in helping their own out, and when that is exhausted, other states lending a helping hand. When does the responsibility of the state of Louisiana come into play? Why aren't all these folks from New Orleans calling for help from their own state? Hate me if you will, but demographically speaking, seems to me like more than just ~The Government~ is responsible here.
Also, I was willing to open my home to a family that had to relocate, and now has a job in this state, and now will live here, and raise their family here. So please don't think me a callous cad ~ I am helping out in all the ways I can, BUT, I also know this to be true ~ if you're too good for someone, you make them good for nothing.
And in so many ways, it just defies reason that folks are already back to partying it up in the French Quarter, instead of getting down to business and helping out those around them. When the twin towers went down in New York, all of New York came to eachother's aid, and because of their ~rebuild, renew, redo ~ attitude, so many many others joined in to help them out.

It hurt my heart to see so many sad images of what Hurricane Katrina did , and it hurt my heart even worse to see so many sad images of how so many of those folks reacted~ looting, shooting, etc. I saw a picture of a whole parking lot filled with boxes upon boxes of clothing, donated for the victims, and you know what, it was all torn through, laying all over the place, scattered, stepped on, looked as though it just wasn't appreciated! It blows my mind that NO-ONE had the initiative to organize sizes and at LEAST put stuff BACK into the boxes so that others could use it! I actually read a commentary on someone saying what a shabby lot of clothing had been donated~ you know what?? economy isn't all that great right now ~ MAYBE, just MAYBE, the folks that donated clothes gave whatever they HAD ~ oh, yah mean they didn't go out and buy yah all DESIGNER stuff? ~ you know, i am sorry, but dang it, it seems like when folks are in a tough situation, they oughta at least be appreciative of what help is given.
And yah, I know, I am probably going to get slammed for my harsh unfeeling words, cuz I am not the one living through this hell, & you know what, you are right. I DON'T know what it's like, BUT, I DO know that there are a lot of folks out there doing all they can to help, and I DO know that Katrina will be paid for by the rest of us, and I DO know that work is not a bad word, it's a good thing.
I don't normally go off on things like this, because my goal is not to be an inflamatory blogger ~ but I just really feel that people's efforts to help should be recognized as such, and appreciated, instead of decried. I understand that in times of stress, people often act different than they would normally , but you know what? If you can't have a good attitude under stress, then when CAN you have a good attitude, and WHY BOTHER if it doesn't do you any good when you need it the MOST?
I know I have my own issues, and I know that I am not the one dealing with my whole life being devastated, but you know what? You aren't the only ones either!! There are lots of people that have gone through total devastation through no fault of their own, that had NO HELP, and still managed to make it back to a more comfortable way of life. If you think you have it bad, look up information on pioneers, the dustbowl, immigrants, and the pilgrims, just to name a very very few. Crap happens, if you are alive, you are doing well. If even ONE other member of your family is there with you, GUESS WHAT? You are BLESSED! All the rest is just trappings, trappings that make life easier. All that can be had again. Quit moaning, get up off your duffs, and start MAKING things happen again! I SO RESPECT those folks out there that are ACTIVELY WORKING to make their life better! They have taken the initiative to be responsible for themselves, and maybe even for others. That's just part of life, folks.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Jib Jab, Walmart, & the Grand Scheme of Things

This version is great for adults,
Be sure to watch the one called ~This land ~ as well, it will crack you up~~

If you want a kid-friendly version, I suggest Madame Blueberry, put out by VeggieTales.

Madame Blueberry goes to ~Stuff Mart~ and fills her house up so full it BURSTS & topples over ~

And as Americans, we really need to reign in that ever-looming desire to ACQUIRE & OWN.
How many people do you know that actually ENJOY all the crap they accumulate? I find that I have so much crap, it would take MONTHS of endless WORK to actually USE everything I own. When does it stop being something we NEED and start being something we WANT? I'm not saying I don't like to get a bargain, and I fully admit to shopping at the Great Wally-World myself, but where is the line? How much is truly NECESSARY, and how much is FILLER? Do we all have it so easy, and is time so inconsequential to us that we have to fill it up doing INANE half-projects that produce nothing but dust-collecting CRAP?

more macro shots... Roses by any other name

This is a day lily I caught on its way out ~ I love the hot fiery colors and the perfection of layout ~ Who but God could create something so lovely?

Here is a tiny green spider, living in the petals of a rose ~ sort of romantic, isn't it? And yet, I bet he's dead now, since the frost came, and the roses are gone ~ the cycle of life must include death, even for little creatures like him.

I love the way the light refracts off of these natural lavender pearls ~ so many oysters worked so hard to make these~Here's a quicky little note of interest ~ a great way to tell if a pearl is real or not ~ rub it on your teeth, if it slides, its a fake-a-roony, if it's sorta gritty feeling, it's REAL. That gritty feeling comes from a whole bunch of little micro-crystalline structures, which is what makes up the nacre of the pearl, and that's what makes it so pretty, and full of luster. And of course, real pearls are cool, cuz they came from a living animal, and in fact, only oysters can make that nacre, man still hasn't figured it out. ( Well, hey, what do we need to figure it out for if we can get oysters to do it for us, double time?) Did you know that some oysters can produce up to 60 pearls at a time? Course, it takes a while, but when they are done, there's a load of them! Pretty cool huh? That's why I have a nasty little pearl addiction too! ;-D

Thursday, October 13, 2005

macroshots ~ A rose by any other name......

I liked the colors in this one, and my kids said it tasted good too. I can't remember the flavors, but they were funky, like the pink pastel one was actually licorice, and that green & yellow one was cherry. I think the dark red one was rootbeer. LoL, dollar store candy ~

This rose is called a ~Bonica ~, it opens up quite pink, then fades to a lovely blush in the sun. I have several Bonica's, they are a floribunda, and hardy to zone 4, which makes them perfect no-hassle roses!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

ugh~ reduced resolution makes a a bad pic look worse! Posted by Picasa