Archive for October, 2008

It all started when I posted this article to a Google chat I was having with my friend Evan and the following conversation ensued:

Evan: That was interesting. Of course, everytime I read of that particular solution (which I think is part of Obama’s and McCain’s packages of healthcare reform ideas), I keep thinking “do I hear the voice of [my insurance company] asking for taxpayer subsidies?” But then, I’m paranoid.

eTrish: I think the most interesting part was the part about people being eligible for employer-provided healthcare, but not opting to take it. And people be eligible for Medicaid and state health programs, but not being enrolled

Evan: Yeah, that is interesting. No hard numbers of course. The opt-out idea has certain merit. As for folks not enrolling for Medicaid, it’s not an option most hospitals and medical offices favor…though of course, there are some who take advantage of it’s poor management and lack of accountability.

eTrish: No, no hard numbers, but maybe the numbers are out there….You and I probably work -for- the coverage as much as the money. But some people choose the money over the coverage. I know I always evaluate my need for glasses and dental coverage much more carefully than I question my need for health care. Of course, I end up getting the other coverage as well. But my point is that some people opting out of paying their own money for health care coverage does not entitle them to cry out for ME to cover their health care costs with my tax dollars

Evan: Very true.

eTrish: And then there are a certain percentage of people who are eligible for taxpayer-provided coverage, but for some reason, probably lack of awareness, aren’t enrolled. Perhaps the real picture of the need for healthcare reform could be better visualized by accounting for those two groups and removing them from the “uncovered” category. Kind of like reducing the error margin in a statistical study in order to increase the power of the analysis

Evan: But that wouldn’t suit the healthcare reformers!

eTrish: No, it wouldn’t. But you see my point?

Evan: I think I do, yes.

eTrish: Politicians and healthcare reformers always spout numbers of vast “uncovered” Americans. But how many are uncovered due to choice, and how many are uncovered due to unawareness? If the unaware are made aware, and those that opt out voluntarily are discounted, the numbers of “uncovered” Americans might be substantially lower.

Later that afternoon, after lunch and a hot shower, the conversation changed more than a little:

eTrish: I’ve changed my position on nationalized health care. I’ve decided I’m exactly the kind of person who should be in favor of having someone else cover my healthcare costs. Afterall, I’d much rather be gardening. All I have to do is work my job long enough to save some money for land, and then I can quit my job and let someone else worry about my insurance. And see, the beauty of this new system is that I will be collecting small cash payments for my produce, so I’ll have almost no reportable, taxable income!
Not only will my healthcare be covered, but -I- won’t have to pay the taxes to pay for it! So, I get it all. Healthcare and full-time gardening!

Evan: Yes, I suppose that could work. There are property taxes, of course. And of course, sales taxes… By the way, you’ll also qualify for farm subsidies. You will be paid NOT to plan 30% of your land.

eTrish: That’s right! See, this plan is getting better all the time.

There, see how easy it is for productive, contributing members of society to decide not to work? I’ll just take my ball and go play another game.

All in all it’s rather frightening what a short step it can be from working full-time and paying taxes to finding ways to not pay taxes and live off the support of the government taxpayers.
Would I?   Would you?

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I’m at home today, and feeling pretty cruddy. Nothing serious, just the usual monthly insult-to-injury. Emilie has the very best phrase for describing how I’m feeling today. “Craptastic!” Yes, gentle readers, I feel craptastic today!

So, I’m at home today. Well, alright, confession time: this semester I work from home on Thursdays on conference planning for the big IALLT conference I’m hosting next year. It’s frankly amazing how much I can get done simply by NOT being in the office attending to my usual job responsibilities and the attendant interruptions.

But today, I’ve also tried to do some laundry in-between working on the conference.

That’s a lot of independent variables in this equation! Let me spell it out for you.

Work from home day +

Conference planning +

Dirty laundry +

Craptasticness =


It is now 1pm. The sum total of my day has been answering email and putting a load in the laundry, while not actually shifting it to the dryer.

What’s my point?

Who, in their right mind, tries to plan a conference AND do laundry at the same time, and then feels guilty about not being able to accomplish either one effectively on what should legitimately be a sick-day? (And please don’t tell me that my monthly trials aren’t really cause for a sick-day. Many women with my diagnosis actually qualify for disability coverage.)

Tony’s going to come home this afternoon, and I just -know- I’ll apologize for the unfinished laundry, and the dishes in the kitchen, and the state of my personal appearance (polar fleece pajama pants and a grandpa shirt). [Note – He never actually complains or even comments.  It’s an internal need I have to apologize for anything less than perfection that I might have had some influence over.]

What makes me the living incarnation of a secret love-child between a Protestant work-ethic and Catholic-guilt, without the additional usefulness of a good Jewish-mother chicken soup recipe?

On another note (yes, craptasticness leads to unfortunate rambling) I sometimes think that days like this are proof that I’d be a really bad stay-at-home wife. I mean, just look at the state of my house! (Haha, you can’t, and that’s a good thing for me!) But then I have to remind myself that very few stay-at-home wives must also concentrate on studying statistics and planning an international conference at the same time they are trying to do the laundry and feeling guilty about not cleaning the kitchen! Add all this to the fact that they have more than one day a week to make the home beautiful.

Then I try to factor in the fact that on the -one- day I am at home to do all these things, I now feel craptastic.

That should make me feel less guilty. But instead, it just makes me cranky.

I think I’ll go find some chocolate. And a nap. Under an electric blanket.

After I shift the laundry to the dryer and put the next load in.

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My Sarah Palin Hair

Okay, here’s an update.  Today I tried again to achieve the Sarah Palin Hairdo. Here are the results, judge for yourself!

I know. It’s not there, yet.  I swear I must be hair-retarded!

Maybe it’s because I’m not really committed to the pouf.  I see the pouf.  I believe in the centrality of the pouf to the look.  But I just can’t bring myself to walk out of the house with the pouf. 

I am poufless.  I am not bold enough to pouf.  Sigh. 

Maybe I’ll start thinking about her up-do, instead!  ;- )

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It is now fall

Summer to fall in Georgia is a back-and-forth weather tug-of-war.  One day hot, the next day cooler, and the next day hot again.  But now it is fall. 

The signs are unmistakeable.

Yesterday, I wore courderoy and flannel to work, with suede boots. 

This weekend, we put the electric blanket on the bed.

Last night, there were so many pets in the bed we couldn’t move.

And the most telling sign of all….

Grandpa has started selling his greens.

Fall has come to Georgia, and Thanksgiving is just around the corner.

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This video was sent to me by my friend John.

Please don’t EVER show this video to Abby or any other dog I might own. Be careful that your dogs are not watching over your shoulder while you are viewing this video.

It’s only a matter of time before our pets start dialing the phone and ordering pizzas. Or worse….other pets.

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Some families go fishing.  Some go camping.  My family goes to airshows.

We can’t help it, it’s in our blood.  My grandfather was a pilot.  My father is a pilot.  We love airfields and all things aviation. 

So, to share the Airshow experience with you, I took a little video camera (Flip camera) with me.  I have not edited this film.  Nor did I use a tripod or anything else to stabilize the camera while I recorded.  In other words, you might run the risk of getting motion sickness while on this ride!

So then, my video camera ran out of batteries.  Sigh.  Fortunately, I also had a regular digital still camera with a video function, so I switched to it.  The video from that camera is far inferior, but it at least captured the exciting few moments when the four cobra helicopters took off right in front of us!  We had to hold onto the canopy!

If you’ve never gone to an airshow, I highly recommend it.  There’s nothing that approaches the visceral feeling of being that close to such incredible flying machines.  And airshows also preserve our history, through antique planes, warbirds, and the distant memories of barnstorming.  Children and elders alike find something to marvel at.

I love airshows.  I love the noise, and the smells, and all the airplanes.  I’m equally fond of screamingly fast modern jets as I am of older biplanes, and the aerobatic stunts amaze me. But what I really love about the airshows is the opportunity to learn a little bit more about my father, and to watch my nephew, Carter, grow in both his excitement for aviation and his admiration for his Grandfather.

Afterall, I’m a firm believer in the value of Grandpas.  :- )

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Howling at the moon

It’s a full moon here in Georgia.  Perhaps wherever you are, too.  :- )  [Yes, that’s a joke, people!]

Last night the moon was wonderful, a hunter’s moon, large and so bright we didn’t need a flash light when we walked Abby at 11pm.  It was the kind of moon that makes you believe that the moon alone can move tides.  It was the kind of moon that makes you believe that strange things are going to happen.  And it was the kind of makes me want to throw off my inhibitions and dance on the lawn.

However, being the intellectual that I am, I’m afraid that “throwing off my inhibitions” usually involves more baring of my more radical thoughts than baring of my…well, you get the picture.

So, to honor the primeval force of the Hunter’s Moon, I’m going to risk all to share some of my wildest, most radical philosophical thoughts today. 

The topic: How Trish would fix the country.

I have a plan that I believe would fix many of the ills that face our country right now. 

Mandatory Military Service

Please understand, I grew up in the military.  My father was an Army Aviator for 21 years, and for my first 16 years I lived almost exclusively in the military community, so I’m a bit partial to the military.  But more specifically, I can see how several key social issues would be addressed through manadatory military service.

1)  Universal medical care.  When you join the military, you and your dependents have access to complete medical, dental and vision coverage.  In a society with mandatory military service, everyone has basic coverage.

2) Racism.  In the military, a soldier is judged on their accomplishments, not on the color of their skin.  Racial and cultural barriers are broken down while people of all ethnicities and regionalities live and work side-by-side.  Military service is a true equalizer, in which many a white enlisted man gives an African-American or Hispanic officer the respect he has earned through service.  It should come as no surprise that one of the first integrated subsets of society was the military, and when integration of the public schools became an issue, it was often military dependent children who were moved out of post-schools and into the public school system as a force for integration.

3)  Education.  Speaking of Department of Defence schools, they are some of the finest schools in the world, with very high standards and a curriculum alligned so that, regardless of where the family is stationed, the children have access to the same quality education and will not lose ground through transfers.  Adults have access to extension campuses of some of the finest universities while in the service, and in fact, my father received two degrees while in the Army.  Once the soldier leaves the military, they have access to the VA educational benefits and can pursue higher education or vocational training once back in the civilian sector.  In a society with mandatory military service, every citizen has access to resources to further their educatin.

4) Vocational training.  While in the military, soldiers learn a useful skill, one that can often lead to success outside of the military.  Air traffic control, military police, electronics repair, medical personnel, even military veterinary technicians transition from military application of their training to civilian application.  In a society with mandatory military service, everyone would have a valuable work skill. 

5) Home ownership.  Through active military service, families have access to VA loans for first-time home owners, making home-ownership possible for families that might not otherwise have opportunities.  In addition, military families live on post or have their housing costs and utilities subsidized, allowing them to save for future home ownership.

6)  In addition to these stated benefits, the pool of civil engineers, safety operators, and emergency response personnel in the civilian sector would be greatly expanded.  With an expanded military, the services could be deployed domestically to deal with natural disasters, health concerns, and to direct and contribute widely to our civil infrastucture, such as roads, bridges, dams, levies, airports, radio and satellite services, and the list goes on and on.  Schools could be built in remote areas.  Hospitals and medical services deployed to those who need them the most.  A society with mandatory military service has an almost endless supply of skilled personnel to deal with pressing domestic problems, while still having the facility to protect our borders and international events.

7) With regard to protecting our borders, if you are concerned at all about illegal immigration, don’t you think a beefed up military presence on our nation’s borders might be not only effective for controlling the current situation, but also serve as timely training for our forces for engagement overseas?

8 ) Gun control.  Real gun control, as in how does one control a firearm.  Every person that serves in the armed forces learns safe gun handling practices.  In a society with mandatory service, every citizen knows how to respect a firearm, how to prevent firearm accidents, but not fear the firearms themselves.  Every gun owner would actually be trained and drilled in the proper handling of firearms. 

Finally, I think the greatest benefit of mandatory military service would come from having a population that truly understands what it is to serve their country, and not just themselves.  It would make us all Americans.  People who talk about freedom and duty would actually learn the cost of freedom, will have invested themselves in the preservation of freedom, and would understand how freedom and civic  responsibility really do go hand-in-hand.  A society with mandatory military service is a society that is mobilized to serve, and not just to “speak out”, because as history has proved in American politics, actions always speak louder than mere words.

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