Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Taylor Swift

Lorna received her first CD yesterday. She listens to a lot of our music but this was the first time she asked for something that would be hers. I was able to get the deluxe edition of Taylor Swift's CD for her stocking. One thing that jumped out at me was the wholesomeness of the songs. Normally when you listen to music sung by young artists the songs are about mature themes, this wasn't the case. The songs were fun and cute, exactly what I want our 12 year old listening to! There was also a DVD included that had some videos and interviews.

Our day seemed a bit harried but that's always the case when we spend the morning at church. Due to the long drive and getting up so early we didn't actually get around to opening gifts until 5pm after we all got up from our naps. It made for a very relaxing evening that ended way too soon.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Good & Bad

Lorna had her quarterly visit with the pediatric endocrinologist yesterday. There are no useful specialists near us so we have to drive 3 hours to Los Angeles which makes for a really long day. Usually these visits are a whole 5 minutes but this time was a bit longer. The actual doctor isn't the one who does the visit, we always spend most of our time with the doctors in training. The actual endocrinologist only comes in at the end to say hello. This time we met a very nice woman who is in her first year of specialty training. She asked us all kinds of questions about what surgery Lorna had as a baby and if we would do it again given the chance. It seems there is a vocal group who feels the non-life threatening surgery usually done on infant girls with this condition shouldn't be done until the teen years. They feel these girls should be able to decide for themselves. Funny thing is, this has to be done once you reach puberty so I don't understand what the issue is. The new techniques now mean it's a one time thing, unlike Lorna's which will be have to be completed with a second surgery in the next few months.

The good news is that the labs look great, the bad news is that she hasn't grown any in the last 4 months. The doctors feel that she won't be growing much more. They said she may gain 1/2 inch over the next few years but they don't expect her to hit 5 feet. We already knew her bones had started fusing early but we didn't realize she was this far off in bone age. They were concerned but I didn't get the impression that there is anything they can do about it. She took the news really well and said that she would just have to get small horses to ride.

Friday, December 14, 2007


Is Wal-Mart really any different than any other retailer?

That's the question I'm asking myself after reading the Wake-up Wal-Mart site. Statistics can be skewed any way you want. What I found somewhat amusing is the idea that Wal-Mart costs taxpayers money. The complaint is that they don't pay their associates enough and the costs for medical insurance are too high.

I only have our experiences with low paying jobs to look to but here is what we have found. The McDonald's in town pays it's workers $7.50 an hour (minimum wage in CA). The managers make $8.00 no matter how long they have worked there. There are no benefits given to the employees and no opportunities for raises. Wal-Mart is looking like a good employer right now. The unionized grocery store here in town pays better IF you can get hours. They are only required to give you 24 hours a week if you don't have any availability restrictions in which case they aren't required to give you any hours. The pay is better but at 24 hour a week you make less than minimum wage after union dues are taken out. The medical plans offered are useless, being more like a discount plan, and you don't qualify for medical for your spouse until you've worked there 4 years! Again Wal-Mart is looking really good.

If you want to just look at medical plans I can tell you that the plans offered by Paul's day job (outside sales) aren't any better than what is offered to Wal-Mart employees and for a higher premium. The plan we are currently enrolled in has deductibles of $1000 and only pays 65% after you have reached the deductible. To be eligible you have to meet a certain sales plan for the year or you don't get coverage for the next year. Just in case you missed it, we actually qualify for state sponsored insurance for our kids so you this supposed professional type job can be said to be costing the taxpayers money.

Putting aside all of the above I still question whether or not there is a problem with Wal-Mart. I get the impression that there is a growing idea that afforable medical coverage and high wages are a right. That everyone deserves these things no matter what they are capable of doing. If workers are unhappy with the pay and benefits of a job isn't it their responsibility to look for a better employer? The idea that kept popping in my head as I read the stories from Wal-Mart employees and the "facts" on this site is that Wal-Mart is no different than any other retailer. The complaints and frustrations of the employees can be heard at any other place that hires unskilled labor.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Medical Insurance

I've read an article that stated that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger wants to make it mandatory that all people in CA have health insurance. If you cannot get the insurance from your employer then the state would offer insurance coverage. This is a problem on so many levels. We've had a recent problem that just proves this won't work.

We were unable to get private insurance for our daughter because of her genetic disorder. We had the option of taking the state Healthy Families coverage or going without coverage. We swallowed our pride and took the state coverage. The plan is administered by Blue Cross. As of October of this year we were told that UCLA, where her specialist is located, will no longer accept the insurance. Since then I've found out that the medical group in Fresno and San Diego has terminated their contracts. I was told that it looks like Stanford and San Francisco will also be going this route. The medical groups want more money and the plan administrator cannot authorize more since the state tells them how much they can pay. What this means is that we cannot get an authorization to continue seeing the specialist our daughter goes to. The plan administer has referred our case to another state program who can authorize different doctors for special cases. When I talked to them, the names they gave us were for doctors that I was told had retired! They can refer her to one hospital in Los Angeles county but having dealt with them in the past it is the last place I would feel comfortable taking her. Since all the patients from the surrounding areas will also be switched to that particular hospital I cannot even imagine what the wait for an appointment will be since it was 4-6 months before this happened. How can you require people to have insurance that no medical group will take?

I have no idea what we are going to do at this point. I have messages in to Blue Cross about an appointment we have scheduled next week. At this point I'm hoping to get them to cover this one appointment so I have time for the other state program to go into effect and find a doctor who will take it.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

What is it?

We have a cast iron pot on the wood stove to add humidity to the air when we burn. Last night it gave a loud pop and actually jumped on the stove. I opened it up to find this.

We couldn't figure it out until Malachi gave a little sound and turned red. It seems he wanted to hide something from his sister yesterday and put it in the pot. He forgot about it and later filled the pot with water and set it on the stove. Have you guessed what it was? It's a golf ball.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Another sewing project

I put the pictures and description under this link so I don't scare anyone away. If you are easily embarassed by items of a personal nature don't look. If you aren't then have a look at my newest creations!

Monday, December 03, 2007


That's how you can describe my life right now, and I'm loving every moment of it!

My posting has been erratic because I just don't have much to say. Well, I could go on and on but I wouldn't have anything of interest to say. I've spent the last week doing laundry, more laundry, reading, laundry, and getting a few loads of water in town because I've been doing so much laundry. It's gotten cold so the blankets and warm clothes needed to be brought out. Unfortunately the tubs that contained said blankets and clothes had been opened earlier in the year and the lids were never put back on properly. That left dirt and spiders in the stuff, the tubs are kept under our deck since we don't have a garage. So on top of our normal laundry I had to wash all that stuff too. Luckily my kids do their own clothes and sheets so I only had to wash every one's blankets. This is one of those times that I'm really glad I made the kids learn to do their laundry when they were young. In case you are wondering how young, I taught them to do their laundry at about 5. I had to help with adding the soap but they had to put their clothes in the washer and transfer them to the dryer. At this point I don't have to help at all. They wash their clothes, hang them on the line, take them down, and put them away. I'm not picky about how they fold them and I don't look in their dresser unless I have to.

My other exciting and big project was cleaning out the closet. I told you my life was boring! Since our closet is tiny (2 x 5) and we don't have room for a dresser I have to switch out the summer and winter clothes. I spent yesterday doing just that since the clothes I washed were dry and folded. It's always fun to see the clothes I forgot I had. Today I'm going to make myself sit down and sew up some of the fabric I bought at a day after Thanksgiving sale, it's been sitting on the ironing board tauting me for a week.