Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Political Ramblings

Please forgive me, and give me some credit.
I've gone an awfully long time without blogging about politics. There have been times when I wanted to blog about it so badly, I thought my whole head would explode, but I didn't give in. I deserve a pat on the back.

Eeeeeeesh, but I just can't do it anymore. I surrender. I have to blog about politics. For my inaugural post, let me start by saying that I have no idea what to think anymore. That seems like a good place to start.

I used to have very firm political views, but Republicans and Democrats murdered them. I got sick of people bossing me around. I got sick of Republicans hinting that they were the only ones with any morals, and I got sick of Democrats insinuating that anyone who wasn't a Dem was a backwoods moron with only 2 teeth. Right now, I think both sides are comprised of morons. Prove me wrong. (Good luck.) Give me a good argument. By argument, I mean an argument. I can cross my arms, roll my eyes, and make fun of people, too. I want AN ARGUMENT. A lot of people dismiss Christianity based on the behavior of Christians. It's not any different with political parties, you know, although everyone is a hypocrite to some extent.

I've got a jumbled mess of a belief system right now.
Ten years ago, I believed that abortion was murder but the death penalty was justified, and now I'm not so sure I buy that. What does "pro-life" really mean? I used to think it meant I was in favor of life for the innocent. Aren't babies innocent? But, wait. How does that work if you're a Christian? It's not that simple, because as a Christian, you supposedly believe:

-in turning the other cheek
-"vengeance is the Lord's"
-mankind is sinful by nature, we're the result of the fall of man, only Jesus can make us whole again
-"Those who live by the sword, die by the sword"

So am I really "pro-life," or just in favor in killing guilty people? And if I'm in favor of killing guilty people, how do I reconcile that with Jesus forgiving the thief on the cross? Is the death penalty justice, or revenge? Does the death penalty really reflect Christ's teachings? If it does, then why didn't Jesus have everyone associated with his crucifixion murdered?

But let's face it - that's not what Americans are really asking themselves right now. Americans are pissed off about high gas prices and how difficult, if not impossible, it is for many people to get decent health insurance. Until very recently, I was against the idea of universal healthcare.
That's right - against universal healthcare...the Obama-flavored kind.
No, genius, I'm not against providing quality healthcare to the poor. I don't shake my fist at the idea of everyone in this country having access to qualified physicians and life-saving prescription medications. Save it.

I don't see universal healthcare as socialism. I see it as a human right. Everyone should be able to obtain care regardless of their position or income. I challenge the Religious Right to justify withholding the most basic of needs from the rest of humanity, and then tout Jesus as Savior. How do we send people to foreign countries on missions trips but tell our fellow citizens they don't qualify for help because they don't earn enough? Tell me how that makes any sense.

But the kind of universal healthcare that Obama proposes is garbage (that's a separate post.) We're not really human beings if we prevent other human beings from receiving essential care. We're also not really human beings if we allow that essential care to become so chaotic and muddled that people wind up waiting years to have surgery, and doctor's offices turn into DMV's. We DON'T WANT conveyor belt healthcare. We don't want to compromise INDIVIDUAL care. And don't offer the poor free healthcare while taxing everyone else into poverty. It doesn't work that way, Obama. (One thing I am sure of - I'm not an Obama supporter.)

I also think, however, that it's ridiculous to be angry with wealthy people for being wealthy, and just plain stupid to think that wealthy people owe you something because you have less. Again - that's another post. 

My friend used to say, in reference to her children, "If something seems like it should be simple, that means it's not." It's not as simple as saying "Here you go! Here's your free heart transplant!" If only, dude.

It's going to take some fine-tuning...not unlike my political views.

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Health vs. Sanity

A few serious but not immediately life-threatening health issues have come down the pike for me as of late. I quit smoking a month ago and now I find myself having to make other major life changes to try and ensure that I live past 35 unless I'm hit by a truck, eaten by a bear, or some other unavoidable calamity stumbles into my path. (After all, I came down with the flu the day after my wedding, and came down with pneumonia the day after I quit smoking. I try to be a realist.)

One doctor told me last week that I needed to eat plenty of Omega 3 fish oils, take (or eat) cinnamon, and load up on fiber. It's all good for your heart, and supposedly your cholesterol. Well, because I'm a realist, I decided to buy all of these things in the form of supplements because I knew I'd never eat much cinnamon in a day's time, even if if I tried to be deliberate about it, and the same goes for fiber. I love seafood and would have no problem eating it on a regular basis but my husband hates it, and - once again, being a realist - I knew I would never make two separate meals in the evening. I also started taking a multivitamin. Nobody told me to do that, it just sounded right.

The cinnamon capsules... no biggie. According to the bottle, I can ever swallow them or open them up and sprinkle them on food. You're supposed to take 2 capsules a day, though, and that would be an awful lot of cinnamon to dump on anything. Spicy overkill with an aftertaste you'd never get rid of. So I swallow the capsules instead.

I'm happy to say the fish oils have no taste, aftertaste, or after-burp taste. They do, unfortunately, have quite a unique and nauseating aroma. Upon opening the bottle, I immediately turned to my husband and said, "These smell like fish-flavored brownies." Yes, fish-flavored brownies. As in... grind up some sardines and add them to your brownie batter, and that's what a bottle of Omega 3's smell like. They look like honey caplets. You'd never guess some machine squeezed the snot out of some cod and sardines and put the results into pill form.

There are a lot of options when it comes to fiber. There are flavored drink pouches you can add to a bottle of water, chocolate snack wafers, and tablets that look like Tums. I'm cheap frugal so I went with the enormous Equate brand bottle of "fiber therapy." The instructions say to use it 3 times a day. I can't help but think those instructions are for people who either can't go potty, or they are capable of reading 3 large magazines back-to-back while they go. I decided I would only use one dose. My bowels might just be the only 'regular' thing about my life!

Wal-Mart's "fiber therapy" smells really good, but it doesn't taste so good. It doesn't taste terrible, but I wouldn't purposely go to the kitchen to mix up a fiber therapy cocktail, if that makes sense. It takes like very watered-down Tang, actually. The problem isn't the taste, but the texture. When I was growing up, my grandfather had serious heart problems and there wasn't much that poor man could eat. His breakfast every day was shredded wheat. Back then, it didn't come in little squares. It came in huge bricks, which you poured milk over and waited for it to get soft enough to eat. No added sugar, no added salt. It looked like this:

But it always reminded me of this:

As the milk seeped into it, the Shredded Wheat eventually turned into this:

That, my friends, reminds me of the consistency of "fiber therapy." Watered-down Tang...with some of that stuff thrown in.

The good news is that it didn't send my bowels into turbo mode, but I can't say it didn't affect my, uh, digestion. Now, I'm a lady and I don't want to go into details or gross anyone out. All I'll say is... you could strap me to the back of a motorboat and I'd be able to power you all the way across the lake. And if you strapped a bubble wand to the back of my jeans... oh, nevermind.

It works.

When my diabetes nurse looked over my food journal last month, she commented, "You're not really salad people, are you?" (Subtle.) Not that we don't eat veggies... it's just that we're really mostly green bean/carrot people. So after that, I made a decision to start including salads into our diet several times a week.

Don't increase your salad intake while you're taking "fiber therapy" unless you want to go up a pants size. That's my best advice to you. Whenever I inject my insulin, it amazes me that I don't deflate like a balloon.

The other day I was sitting here working on a few of my freelance assignments. I had to report on this article. Talk about being deflated.

Popping vitamins may do more harm than good, according to a new study that adds to a growing body of evidence suggesting some supplements may have health risks.

Aw crap. You serious?!? The people in the study who took vitamin supplements actually had a higher death rate than those that didn't. Do you think Wal-Mart will give me a refund? "I need to return these. I have a more than two-percent increased chance of dying in the next 19 years if I take them." 

My friend, Reba, said it best: "I saw the news on it. Everything kills let's not worry about it and just live."

Good advice. 
I wonder how "fiber therapy" would taste in a 2-gallon bottle of Mountain Dew?

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