Friday, July 30, 2010

Scrutator: It's back!

October of 2008 was the last time I put together a scruator post. My life got really busy and I just didn't have time to keep it up. Today, I pull out the old Scrutator publisher and breath a little life back into something I once had a lot of fun with and was kind of proud of.  For those of you who don't know what this is, it is a compilation of news articles that I have read during the week that caught my attention and drew my commentary.  I have no idea if I am really going to be able to do this weekly, but I do hope to bring this back into my life.

California is getting serious about legalizing marijuana.  Apparently, they are pulling out all of the stops.  A company wants to grow and sell marijuana on a very large scale basis.  The cities want to tax the sales to replace some of the revenues they have lost under poor leadership.  Replacing tax revenue isn't their only argument for legalizing the substance.  Other arguments include breaking the Mexican drug cartel and reducing the number of illegal immigrants that come here with pot.  They also argue the ending this prohibition will give society the ability to address addiction problems that people face because the problem with legal punishment will no longer be relevant, which also means that the prisons won't be filled up with people who were busted for possession.  One group doesn't plan to stop at marijuana, however.  They intend to push until all prohibitions are eliminated!

One can see how legalizing marijuana would carry a lot of positives.  I wonder how the feds would deal with this.  I doubt it will go quite like they plan, but it might be interesting.  I keep telling people who smoke pot because they don't think it should be illegal that their philosophical outlook will not save them from punishment, and that if they are serious about it, they should do something to legalize it.  If you don't like the law change it - don't break it!  Here are some people blazing a trail for you.  Will you help them?

Scientists have developed the technology that can help to diagnose autism at an earlier age.  This is great news because the one thing we know for sure is that the earlier you start treating the symptoms, the better chance the child will have at an independent life.  Of course, good news must be tempered by a bad comment.  Joyce Schulte is sad to learn that there is another autistic boy in the world and that autism should be prevented.  A lot of things should be prevented, like flotsam spewing forth from the mouths of hateful, obtuse people.  She doesn't say she is the parent of an autistic child, and I hope she isn't, I certainly wouldn't want to be that poor hated child. is a new web site that explains how health care will change and what you can expect when (if) the changes are made in 2014.

When health care reform was being created, I was really hoping for a public option. I really think health care needs to change, because too many people, including myself, can't afford insurance premiums. It never fails that I have no money to see a doctor when I get sick, however, I never have health care bills that even compare to what insurance premiums are. The last time I had insurance was when I worked at the school district and they paid the premiums. My premiums were more than $300 per month, and the last year I had the insurance, my health care bill for the entire year was only about $30 or $40 more than a one month premium. That bill, by the way, was for routine preventative care, not illness. The last time I got sick, the doctor visit was $70 and lab costs were about that. It was for a stupid UTI!

The media likes to remind us as often as possible that polls show Americans are not happy with health care reform. I would like to point out that those numbers are high not because of what the republicans say - that it will be too expensive for our country - but instead isn't popular because it didn't include the public option. Now I will be forced to give money to insurance companies who will charge far more than what my health care bill will ever be. A public option would have been the only way to ensure that staying healthy is a great way to not have high health care bills. I would actually much rather see all health care run by the government.

I think the argument that doctors and services would be worse if we had socialized medicine. I have worked at jobs where there were lots of people riding the coat-tails of those who work, and I really don't think things would be that different if someone was making sure that everyone got a fair shake. I also have worked in places where pay wasn't based on job performance. There were still people who rode the coat-tails of those who worked. Even more amazingly, there were people who worked hard to get things done because they were dedicated to what they were doing. Most of the jobs I've had don't pay a living wage, and yet, when I went to work I worked hard to make a difference. That's what people need more of. Capitalism doesn't give people that drive any more than socialism takes it away. It either exists in a person or it doesn't. My guess is that if everyone made enough to live on no matter the job, more jobs would be filled by people who actually want to be there - but that's just me. A person who goes to work because of a paycheck is not the person I want taking care of my health, or my education, or my city streets, or anything else! I also do believe that ALL people have a right to health care. Aren't Americans supposed to have the right to LIFE, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? It is hard to have LIFE if you get sick and die, isn't it? I really hope this reform works. I hope it changes the way health insurers operate. I won't hold my breath - and not just because I don't have the health insurance that would be necessary to cover the disability care I would have to have because of the brain damaged caused by oxygen deprivation.

Jennifer Keeton
Picture taken fromFox News at link
 provided in text
Two separate cases regarding students in counseling programs have hit the news.  Jennifer Keeton is suing Augusta State University because they have demanded she complete a remediation plan because she has expressed her beliefs regarding sexual orientation.  She believes, as do many religious people, that homosexuality is a lifestyle that should be stopped.  She wants to be a school counselor.  I wonder how many young people who are confused about their sexuality would end up being terribly hurt by her proselityzations? 

Julea Ward
Picture taken from Fox New at
link provided in text
The other case is extremely similar, but here Julea Ward was expelled because she refused to counsel homosexuals.  Once again, she feels that homosexuality is morally wrong. 

Fox news, of course, is upset because they see these cases as dangerous presidents being set that will allow christian students all over America to be expelled because of their beliefs.  I think it's easy.  If you want to be a religious counselor, go to a bible college.  If you want to get real counseling credentials from Universities, learn about the diversity in humanity and accept that you will have a significant number of clients who have beliefs that are not congruent with your own.  If you can't do that, you really shouldn't be a counselor, which I believe is what these universities were trying to say, and what the courts agreed with.

The Arizona immigration law has been stopped for now. U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton decided that there were portions of the law that trump state law. She feels that the government has a very strong case in many parts of the law, including requiring people to show papers, which will very likely create problems for American citizens of Mexican ancestry. Fox News of course, has a slightly different slant on the issue.  Sen. John McCain complains that it is disappointing that the power to control the border is given to the federal government, but the federal government won't do anything to address the problem.  They just aren't doing what they need to do to protect us.  Wait a minute!  Isn't John McCain a senator?  Doesn't that make him part of the federal government?  Doesn't that make him one of them?

Now that we are embroiled in a recession people are pointing their nasty little fingers of blame. Remember, the recession was caused by rich American white men. i can't figure out why they are getting a free pass. The American president is trying to pass legislation that would regulate these companies so that they can't cause such devastation to us poor people, but can't because us poor people apparently would rather blame the hard working Mexican farm workers. If we want to get rid of the drug smugglers, it can happen. Just refer above to the end of all prohibition.  An maybe, for once, someone should please figure out that WE are the government.  We NEED a strong government that can protect US against the greedy business practices of our big corporate bosses that refuse to pay their laborers enough to live on.  When that happens, we'll be glad once again to have so many kind Mexicans willing to come here and do our grunt work again - for a pittance.

And there it is! My soapbox interpretation of some of the news that caught my attention this week. I don't know if you agree, if not, I hope we can agree to disagree! And I will start to work on next weeks edition of Scrutator.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Jay's art

My brother gave me something to hang on my wall.  I think it is absolutely beautiful!  It changes all day long - depending on how the light hits it.  He says he sells them for about $20.  They are definitely worth it!

Auger Falls burned this week. I almost missed it completely.  I was watching tv, and it was not interesting enough to keep me awake.  Thanks Dr. Phil.  So I drove along both sides of the canyon to see if it was possible to get close enough to the edge of the canyon to take good photos.  It wasn't.  Sad thing was, the best vantage point was the easiest to get to - the Perrine Bridge.

 I can't help but feel it is a direct result of our city leaders needing to turn everything into a tamed back-yard type park.  It was started by a cigarette butt.  That figures, doesn't it?  Smokers will all say that they don't exhibit the kind of behaviors that lead to such things as thousand-acre wildfires, so who is responsible for all the cigarette butts littered everywhere?  Some still smoldering.  Some homes were threatened, but you know, if you have to build your house right next to the canyon rim there are risks you just have to assume.  I  know I sound snotty about this.  I'm glad Auger Falls was set aside for a park and not sold off to housing contractors to build at will and sell to the elite.

It is a mess isn't it?

So after figuring out that the best vantage point for photographing the fire was actually from the bridge, I decided to walk along the trail on the rim to follow the trail next to the river. I ended up at a lookout where vultures were flying. I think these birds get a bad rap. They might not look tough like an eagle, but they are interesting and valuable none-the-less. When they are riding the thermals they are just as graceful and look just as free. And it only takes them seconds the span the width of the canyon, which is more than a quarter of a mile. While they were close, I decided to take pictures - practice for when I make it to the old jump site to photograph the red tailed hawk that lives there. I definitely need more practice ;).

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sonatina Deja Vu

The youtube videos below are the sonatina I learned to play by the end of the summer last year. Sadly, I was forced by circumstance to leave the piano at my old house during the winter, with no heat. When it got cold, the keys stopped working and I was no longer able to practice my newly learned skill. I was terrified that the piano was forever ruined, but when the weather got nice, the piano started working again. I stood at the piano and tried to remember how to play - with no success for quite some time. I was devastated.

Not being one to give up easily, I continued to try. I found a chair to sit in and took out the music with the intent of learning from scratch. I fumbled through for about an hour, trying hard to play it once again. Then something strange happened. I was tripping through the melody when all of a sudden my fingers played a measure - without me! It felt a lot like deja vu, except that I was re-experience something I knew I had played before.

In physio II we spent a significant time on spinal learning. This is an example of that at work. In the second movement at the end, I had read the notes incorrectly in the re-learn, but as I was playing it, my body moved into it and played the correct notes - correctly. This happened several times over this past week while I relearned the songs. It is the most amazing thing. I encourage everyone to learn some kind of move, or song on an instrument, then put it away for 9 months before going back to it. See if you experience the same thing I did? Spinal memory - in conjunction with auditory memory - is fun.

So, I wanted to post these youtube videos because when I first started learning the song I used these videos to help me figure out the melodies and some of the fingering. It really helped. I, of course, add a little bit of me into the songs when I play them so they don't sound exactly like this (and I have never had formal piano lessons - so I undoubtedly don't play as well), but I can play them again, and that makes me happy.

Now I just have to get the piano to my new house. I can play some songs so I shouldn't drive my roommate too crazy, and I now have a way to get it to my house (fingers crossed) due to some new reconnections that have taken place this summer.

I don't know why it makes me so happy to play the piano - especially given how awkward I am at it - but it does.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Dear universe: You forgot to let me win the lottery!

20  21  23  38  42       6
30  49  51  54  58      33

As  you can see, none of these numbers match.  What I am taking from this experience is that I am good at bbquing chicken, but not so good at buying lottery tickets, and that the universe probably doesn't care whether my chicken is cooked or whether I go on my vacations. 

So, I'll continue to bbq chicken, and I'll continue to buy lottery tickets.  Because, hey, that's just how I am!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Dear Universe, please let my bbq'd chicken be cooked...

the coals are dying and I don't want to start anymore

Guess who came to stay with me over the 4th?  Only the cutest mom in the whole world and her precious little baby!  I tried to have a really big "come see the baby" party, and I did get some people to stop by.  My brother Jay and our dad Lyle came.  My sister didn't come.  She said she was coming and then at the very last minute texted me that the engine light came on in her car and the engine was about to blow!  My brother Robert was supposed to come, I still don't know why he didn't.
Megan, Ellie and I stopped by to see aunt Bitsy.  I watched her while she  held Ellie.  I learned something too.  Babies like to have their bellies rubbed!  I didn't know that - not after two kids of my own!  When I was little my mother wouldn't let me hold babies or handle them in any way.  I was clueless when I had Megan - I really had no idea what I was doing!  I couldn't help but think that if my aunts had been around back then I would have been a much better mom.  Megan my not have had that month of colic!  I would have been calmer and more stable, I'll bet.  But, that's the past.
Ellie has the most amazing smile.  Megan has the prettiest smile in the world, but Ellie might give her some competition.  Today I went to Fred Meyer to buy some food, and I saw a smile that reminded me of Megan.  When I looked closer, the girl didn't look anything like Megan, but I still got on the "I miss my baby" track.  I'll be ok though.  maybe.
On Saturday (July 3) Zach and I met Megan and Steve and his sister Emily in Buhl for the annual sagebrush fun run and walk.  This is our second year as a family competing in this. (competing lol).  Last year Megan and I started out slow, then at about 1 mile we picked up the pace and passed boatloads of people.  This year, we were 3 minutes late for the start!  We still ended up passing a lot of people, and that was with Megan still not being in shape for the race (hey - she just had a baby).  But at the end of the race, they give out door prizes, and Megan got the best one ($5 worth of coupons at arctic circle) and I got the worst (an ugly shirt).  I really wanted the beans!  or the compost!  but I got a dumb ugly shirt. 
Zach and Steve were competing against ISU cross country runners this year, so neither got first place in their age group! Maybe next year.

I took a couple of pictures of Ellie.

Blogger is not a happy place for me. I tried to down load pictures all weekend and I have only finally got enough here to post. So, if you want to see the rest, you have to look at my facebook album. I know! what a chore, huh?


A while back - before the family reunion, I worried that something might not go quite right.  Then I went and re-united with so many wonderful people and decided that it was all just fuss.  My dad Lyle has been calling and getting together with me and my kids and things have been really good!  Except for that nagging something. 

People have been telling me that they feel so bad about not being able to protect my sister and I from our mother.  My dad actually stayed married to her for a long time to protect us, but there wasn't much anyone could do.  I have come to terms with that.  I understand exactly why no one could separate us from her.  Those were different times and the law looked unfavorably on separating children from their mothers.  Abuse was also defined differently in those days (sad things is that things haven't come as far as one would hope).  I am at peace with that.

What I didn't realize, is that even though I have come to terms with it, I spent a great many years venting to anyone that would listen, over and over, and I felt plenty sorry for myself.  I really thought I was all past that too!  However, I found myself falling back into bad relationship patterns.  The only reason I realized what was happening is because I am working with a new client and we went over the red flags that warn us we are betraying ourselves.  I was falling back into the blaming and victim mindset.  Hearing all those people say they felt sorry for me re-activated those bad neural pathways!  It is a never ending fight - isn't it?  It's sad when one realizes things about oneself that are frightening!  I caught it - and before it cause any damage!! 

My sister isn't me.  She lives in victim hood - blaming everyone else for her problems (especially, but not exclusively our mother).  She did break up with Dale - but has now decided to marry someone else.  She knew him when she was in junior high.  I don't remember him at all - and I really have to doubt that they were really that close then.  But she insists that this marriage is 30 years too late.  My question is that if they were really so good together and "fated" to be together, why haven't they been?  She looks really bad.  The alcohol (and many suspect meth) are taking their toll on her.  I can't help but wonder why a man would marry a woman who is so lost?  Does he believe he can save her?  Does she?  Her reason for not coming to meet Ellie and see Megan after all these years was strange.  So many red flags, so little growth.  I wonder what her triggers are.  What keeps her down.  I wonder if she will ever be ok.

Well, I guess that's all for her to figure out.  I just better keep a close watch on me.

I painted a little yesterday!  I bought some grapes today, and now I can figure out how to make my grapes painting better.

I have been getting an awful lot of traffic my my Did You Know Kimberly Ann Payton post.  Problem is, it wasn't good traffic. I had dedicated that post to her family as a kind of memorial where people all over could write about a fond memory, post pictures and links, etc.  Last week, a visitor - who uses a computer from landview fertilizer under the name of Brian Davis - has been using the comments section to question the validity of the police investigation against Nathan Jacobson.  He even got a little rude about it and hurt someone who loved Kim.  I put a stop to it.  Now I have enabled comment moderation for any posts older than 14 days.  So if you comment on an older post you will get the message that the post will be read by the blog administrator before being posted.  I think it's sad I had to do that.

Well, the chicken was perfectly cooked!  You don't think....I mean, really....I couldn't....
Well, why not?

Dear universe, please let me with the powerball jackpot tomorrow!  I'm old, and tired, and running out of time to vacation in all of those great places I've always wanted to see.