Friday, May 22, 2009

Memorial Day

Today I'm feeling a little nostalgic. You know, kinda like when your grandparents say things like "When I was your age..." followed by some statement that refers to old times being better times.

Does your town have a Memorial Day parade? Our town doesn't, and neither does one in the general vicinity. We have one in the summer, but on some non-descript day in the middle of July. Not on a day of national importance. I think that's pretty sad. When I was a little kid, the Memorial Day parade was a big deal. We'd meet up with my grandparents at the town square to watch. When the parade led off with the color guard, hats were removed and all right hands were placed on their hearts. Adults instructed their young children to do so as well. It was considered rude NOT to. When the veterans marched by, my grandpa would crouch down beside me and cheer as they went by to encourage me to do the same. I didn't understand war or what our veterans had done for us. Nor did I understand as we stood in silence at the cemetery, that the 21 gun salute was to honor the fallen...those soldiers that have given the ultimate sacrifice so I could be free.

My grandfather was a first generation immigrant from a country continually threatened by communist rule. He understood how precious freedom is. He understood that freedom isn't free. In those small actions, he was imparting this to me by teaching me respect for our nation.

As a teen in high school I was in the marching band. I was now in that same parade, wearing a full wool uniform as we played patriotic songs down the parade route, usually in 85 degree heat. At it's end, we stood at attention during the entirety of the ceremony at the cemetery while the sweat dripped. We didn't dare move. While I had somewhat of an intellectual understanding of what war was, and how precious our freedom is, I can't say I had a personal understanding of it. It wasn't until my friends were shipping out for the Gulf did I even start to gain that knowledge. But in those early days, as I watched those parades as a girl it was teaching me respect...respect for our flag and what it represents, respect for our veterans, respect for our soldiers, and for those who gave the ultimate sacrifice of their lives for the greater good of the nation.

In the current environment where political party tends to rank over nationalism, I encourage all of you to remember how great a nation America truly is. No, we're not perfect. But it's because of our soldiers past and present that we have freedoms most other nations cannot enjoy. It's because of these freedoms you can even criticize our leaders, or vote them in (or out) of office. I hope I can impart this sense of respect for our soldiers and veterans to my children. It is because of them, everyday citizens who chose to serve our nation, who not only made our country, but continue to make our country great.
Photo Credit: Flags-In Ceremony at Arlington Cemetery. You can read about and see more photos of this event, which occurs every year. On the Thursday before Memorial Day, the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, known as 'The Old Guard' and other available servicemen and women place small American flags in front of every grave marker at Arlington Cemetery, as well as the Soldiers' and Airmens' Cemeteries, which total over 280,000.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Who Pays for Lap Band Surgery?

Someone I know is considering lap band surgery. She is in her twenties and on welfare. Imagine my shock to learn that lap band surgery is covered by Medicaid?!?!
If you have insurance, find out if your plan includes coverage for lap band
surgery. While it is true that lap band surgery was once considered experimental
or investigational, it is now accepted as a covered weight loss surgery
procedure by many insurance companies including Medicare.

Lap band surgery can be a viable option for people. It is a personal choice. However, it leaves a sour taste in my mouth to learn that my taxpayer dollars will pay for it. On the same site listed above, they admit that the cost of this procedure can run from $15,000 to $25,000! Another site details this:
Many people meet the qualifications for Medicaid or Medicare assistance,
which covers the cost of medical care for many people. Sometimes they will pay
the entire bill, sometimes a co-payment is required. To be eligible for
Medicaid, you must have a limited income as well as meet certain other
requirements, including age, disabilities, citizenship, income and other
resources. To qualify for Medicare, you must be age 65 or older, under 65 with
certain disabilities (many people with morbid obesity are categorized as
disabled under the Social Security Act), or have End-State Renal Disease
(permanent kidney failure that requires dialysis or a kidney transplant).
determine if you qualify, you should contact the appropriate social services
agency in your area. If you do not know where the local office is located, the
address and phone number can usually be found in the front of most telephone
books under government listings. You can also visit the website for either the
CMS ( or HHS ( if you want to search
for additional information.
Source: aboutlapbandsurgery

I cannot stress enough how this offends me. Recently my husband's employer raised the paycheck deduction for our piss-poor insurance by such an amount we had to drop it. It was a choice between paying our bills or having coverage that didn't even cover prescriptions. I couldn't afford to buy my daughter the Singulair she needs for her asthma ($102 per month) even when we had the insurance.

I don't begrudge those who need medicare or medicaid. It provides life saving and life sustaining checkups, medications and procedures for those who need it. I just don't feel lap band surgery qualifies, especially for someone in their twenties. With our taxes sure to be raised with all the new government programs starting in the near future, it offends me even more. I'll leave you with this quote:
A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take
everything you have.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


While slurping down cereal, the kids and I had a talk about adulthood. Like most children, they can't wait to be adults. My video game addicted son has dreams of letting his kids play video games any time they want. LOL

Daughter: "You know why we pretend to be adults? So we can practice being one before we are an adult."

That's a pretty good observation. I go on to explain that it's tough being a kid because you don't have the freedom of adulthood, but adults have responsibilities children don't, such as providing all the things their kids need. Adults realize that being a kid can be pretty cool. I want them to enjoy where they are in life.

D: "So you want to be a kid again so you can pretend to be an adult again?"

I don't tell her this, but I hated being a kid. I have no desire to go back to those days. If I was going to turn back the clock, I'd take the early twenties. But really that's not a discussion to have with her.

My son interjects:

S: "You know what I want to be when I grow up? A plumber. Then all the water faucets in schools would work."

No kidding!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Environmental Activists

We've had rain of some kind every day for a week straight. As soon as it was dry enough, the whir of lawn mowers could be heard around the neighborhood. Today my husband was mowing the back patch of our yard, which in spots was as high as mid-calf. The girls ran out and started screaming at him (to be heard over the mower). They pleaded with him to SAVE THE DANDELIONS!!!! He didn't stop, so they ran around insanely plucking as many as they could. Then they ran into the woods to pick these dainty little purple wildflowers to go with them and presented me with a Mother's Day bouquet. They are now in a vase.