Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Anger of the Electorate

Much is being of the anger that the outsider candidates are tapping into this election cycle. Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders both have dialed into the zeitgeist of the disaffected American voter, those who feel angry that things haven't worked out the way they dreamed, who feel the institutions they had trusted have deserted them or failed to live up to expectation. How things are doesn't match up to how they were (or were supposed to be). So they are looking for blame.
So the search for someone to blame is being led to blaming someone/anyone else. It's Muslims or Mexicans, rich bastards or poor freeloaders. It's President Obama or Tea Party obstructionists. It's refugees or white supremacists.
It's anybody/somebody else.
Mostly, I think it's a desire for people over 45 in America for a "do over" or a mulligan. But sadly, that isn't how it works. As I look back over the years, I can see those moments when the responsibility for how things are in my life when set in motion by my own choices.
So to those white, middle-aged Americans who are angry that things are going well for them and blame others, I say this - if you are finding it hard to get ahead in America, look at your own choices. There are tons of jobs in America for people with the proper training. It might be engineering, code writers, truck drivers, specialized trade workers (electricians, carpenters, plumbers) or other specialized positions. If you can't get one of these jobs, is it because you won't pass the drug test? Is it because you would need to relocate? You aren't qualified?
My own experience leads me to believe I squandered the advantages and opportunities I was given at birth. The education provided by my home town was better than most, had I chosen to avail myself of it fully. Instead, I chose the easiest route possible, with many late arrivals my last year of high school (tardy). I did enough to get by (pretty easily, actually). But like one of my classmates has said, no one told me college (and life) was HARD. And that it would require effort on my part.
So, kids, don't waste your time - get to work. Study. Learn. Be early to work and have a good attitude about being there. EVERY paid job has worth. Respect everyone working for a living, don't expect anyone to give you anything (and be grateful if someone does) and be ready to give help to someone who needs it.

Monday, November 25, 2013

So, now what?

Alright.
It's been months since I posted anything here. The last post was the  beginning of my dealing with a health diagnosis which was surprising. But why should I be surprised? I don't recall ever receiving the guarantee of good health and problem free life. But then again, it could be that I DID get such a thing but laid it aside and can't remember where I put it. Or forgot I ever received such.
I've been to an oncologist twice now. I go again in three weeks. I believe he is establishing a baseline and trend for some of the items measured in my blood. I suppose I ought to take the time to learn what they are, what the numbers are, what they mean, etc.
That seems like such an effort.
I'll try to find the papers from the earlier two visits and compare them to the newest. But I probably won't.


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Day 2.

Turns out the oncologist my surgeon wanted me to see isn't on my insurance plan. so now they're checking for which Junior Varsity quarterback will lead the team.
In the meantime, I believe the leukemia is the type called CLL, which is slow growth and sometimes doesn't require treatment. It depends how far into this we already are.
I think a spinal tap is the next step for the biopsy.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

well, nothing left to do but smile, smile, smile

It's probably never good when the words spoken by your doctor following his saying the pathologist's report is back are, "It's bad."
My mind sort of blanked a bit when he said that, so I didn't catch the exact terminology he used, but I know leukemia was the last word in the sentence which immediately followed, "It's  bad."
I am pretty sure he said slow growth in there, along with it being a remarkable thing it was even discovered because the type of cancer it is presents no symptoms until it is very well developed. And that it ordinarily wouldn't have been caught at all except for my pre-op blood work being randomly selected by the hospital lab for a manual examination used to confirm the calibration of the computer/electronic equipment which reads nearly all the blood submitted.
See, it started when I noticed a bit of pain in my right groin area after a few weeks of heavy lifting. It was the second week of May and I told my wife I thought I had a hernia. I went ahead and scheduled a colonoscopy (routine) because it's time for an annual physical & Dr. Katie told me to get one last year. The morning of that procedure, the preparation for which is somewhat intense, it was confirmed there was a hernia when the bulge in the pelvic area was readily apparent.
So off I went to see Dr. Park, who assured me there was no problem doing the colonoscopy with a herniated patient. He provided me with Dr. Cione's telephone number and said he was good -"I sent my mother-in-law to him for surgergy."
I still thought I would put off the hernia treatment until June because the end of my health insurance plan year is May 31st, it was already the 9th and I didn't see how I could get all this stuff squeezed in before then.
But @ 2:20 a.m. on Monday, the 13th I awoke with incredible pain in my chest that wasn't going away. It was more on the right side than the left, so I didn't THINK it was a heart attack. It also wasn't like other heartburn or esophigial spasms I have had. So we went to the ER.
Heart attack was ruled out, after I aced a stress test.
But I figured I just spent $2k deductible on that one event, so I better get all the other stuff moving. The next day I called Dr. Cione's office and they were surprised to have a consult time available the next morning. So Wednesday the 15th I went to meet with him and although he suggested I ought to address the enlargment on my prostrate (that appointment with Dr. Katie is the day after tomorrow), I told him I didn't want to waste the month of time that was going to take and would rather not have the pain. So we set up hernia surgery for Monday, the 20th (yesterday), they sent me downstairs to the hospital lab for the blood work.
Thursday morning a rather insistent scheduler in his office called me to say they needed the additional blood work done that day or the next. Definitely before the operation.
As Dr. Cione is speaking with me yesterday morning, I asked him about the second blood work. At first he doesn't seem to remember but suddenly it comes back to him.
"You know, I don't think I've ever gotten a call like that, from the lab," he says. "It could be blessing that your's was selected for the additional screening, depending on what they find."
That was before he knew it was "bad."

Monday, May 21, 2012

Are we a club or on a mission to change the world?

As any reader of this infrequently published blog can tell, I am a very flawed person. I make no special claim on righteousness and instead rely on God's Grace as the only way He and I are in relationship. I don't profess to have done anything special to earn this grace and am convinced there isn't anything I could do which would merit this grace. Any good which I do, any beauty I create, any joy I bring is instead a RESPONSE to this grace. Left to satisfy my own desires, I'm a pretty shady character.
It has been a very long time since I decided to put my trust in God's Grace which is fulfilled in the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. But I can still remember my time before then. I remember feeling a bit off, adrift and estranged from something even if I was not able to articulate what it was.
So it is that I lately have come to the following thoughts, which are directed at myself as well as church leaders everywhere -

What is the path or spiritual process a  non-believer (or agnostic) under
goes when transitioning from a life lived apart from Grace into His Light  and what ought be the role of the individual believer, the church (local and beyond) and clergy in the process?
When does one cross the line from that of spiritual sojourner to believer
and what is our responsibility in the process (both specifically and
generally)?
What (if any) mechanisms are in place (denominational or in your local
church) to bring a new Christian into discipleship? How does the (your)
church differentiate between the new/baby Christians and those much further
along on their walk?

I sent these questions to some pastors I know. But I wonder if you have any thoughts or answer for me on this idea.



Sunday, January 22, 2012

Corrupticut Continues

The GOP leadership in Washington does not have a monopoly on the absence of integrity. Politicians in Connecticut continue to seek ways to surpass them in acting on behalf of insiders rather than the common good. Here's the latest in this long running saga.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A painting or a snapshot?

I'm considering my pace these days. I also am spending more time really looking around and trying to appreciate what I am seeing. I have decided that I want to paint my life more than take a gazillion fast photos.