A Stupid Bill in AZ

My state cannot keep itself out of controversy.  And now it’s debating a bill so damn stupid that I’ve been seeing red since last night.  I read about AZ House Bill 2625.  You can read it here or watch it here or have the joy of reading the bill itself here, and if you want to be really pissed off, you can read this editorial here.

Basically if this bill becomes law, it allows any and all employers to deny an employee’s birth control coverage if the employer has a religious or moral objection.  If the employee wants birth control for something other than to stop conception, she would need to bring a note from the doctor to state the medical reason for the birth control.  I’m so angry right now that I don’t know where to begin to argue against this bill.  So instead of writing an incoherent letter to the editor, I figured I’d start here.

First off, employers do NOT pay for birth control.  They may pay for part of the health insurance.  The employee pays for the health insurance.  The employee pays for the birth control.  While the Obama administration is trying to make birth control pills covered by insurance companies, most employees still have to pay for that insurance.  So, I fail to see why the employer has a say on insurance coverage, if the employee has to pay for it.

Second, Debbie Lesko, State House of Representative, introduced the bill, saying,  “We live in America. We don’t live in the Soviet Union.  The government shouldn’t be telling mom-and- pop employers and religious organizations to do something that’s against the moral or religious beliefs. It’s just not right.”  No, Rep Lesko, what you’re proposing is a theocracy that puts a person’s religious beliefs above another’s civil liberties.  Here in the US, we were founded and believe in a separation of church and state, which means, not only are we protected to practice as we see fit, but we are protected from other people’s beliefs.  State Senator Linda Lopez said it better with this, “If it were truly about religious freedom, we would allow Christian scientists and Jehovah Witnesses to refuse to pay for coverage of life-saving blood transfusions for employers.  Religious freedom means I get to choose whether or not to be religious and if so, how.”

Third, it is no one’s business as to why a woman takes birth control pills.  Not her family’s, not her friend’s, not the government’s, and absolutely not her employer’s.  The right is worried about “a nanny state” and then proposes this kind of legislation.  If women have to “prove” why they are taking birth control, then what’s to stop other people needing to prove their illnesses.  Are we heading to a world where people will need a doctor’s note for every sick day?  Are we going to demand proof for other medications that treat allergies, depression, diabetes?  ALL people have a right to their own private personal lives and medical histories.

Fourth, what constitutes a religious or moral belief?  What keeps employers from abusing this law and opting for cheaper insurance coverages that have no birth control?  Shouldn’t the employer prove how religious he or she is?  I want to know their religion, if they tithe correctly, if they follow all the rules of the religion.  Failing these things, they shouldn’t be able to impose their beliefs on other people.  Oh, that’s right.  They shouldn’t impose their religious beliefs on any one.  I also propose that businesses have to disclose to all potential employees that they will not be offering birth control coverage, so that potential employees can withdraw their applications.  (Not that will happen with jobs as scarce as they are today.)

Fifth, why are we arguing about this?  (I can’t find the article that I read last night about this.  I don’t have the time to retrace my steps.  I’m, as Jon Stewart calls it, part of the busy majority. I’ll look for it.)  Back in 2002, Arizona passed a bill stating that all employers were required to offer birth control coverage as part of their health insurance coverages.  Not that they had to pay for it, just that it had to be part of the benefits.  In the last ten years, there has not been ONE SINGLE COMPLAINT.  That’s right.  Not one complaint.  No one has said this law infringed on his/her religious views.  No one has cried at the outrage of it all.  Not one person has written, called, email, gone to the press, got a lawyer to say that this law destroyed his/her religious freedom.  I don’t even understand why any one would write a bill for no one.

I’m angry enough that I emailed all 30 state senators last night as well as the governor.  The plan was to call all of them today, but I have kids, so I’ll have to do it in batches.  I plan to keep emailing and calling these senators.  I don’t understand why there is this backlash against women.  That’s what it feels like.  A war on women.  No one is talking about taking away men’s birth control.  Everyone is talking about taking away women’s.  They’re talking about mandatory waiting periods for abortions as though women haven’t agonized for hours, days, weeks before coming to a conclusion they didn’t want.  They’re making laws to force women to do intravaginal ultrasounds before abortions.  I have had the “pleasant” experience of one of these.  They’re not fun to say the least, and I dealt with the pain because I was scared over the failure to find a heartbeat.  They’re talking about defunding Planned Parenthood, which is where millions of women get their healthcare because it’s affordable.  My state wants to make it legal for doctors to withhold information about embryos and fetuses if the doctor feels the woman would abort if there was something wrong with the embryo or fetus.  I heard a rumor that my own state is debating a bill to have schools teach abortion is bad.  (Duh.)  If schools are going to start teaching morality, let’s start with the basics of lying, cheating, stealing, and hurting people. 

I understand the fight to end abortions.  No one wants more abortions or any that are not medically necessary.  But this is all the wrong way to go about it.  If people want to end abortions, then there needs to be easy access to free birth control.  Adoption needs to be made simpler.  Women’s Centers shouldn’t be shaming and guilting women into keeping babies; they should be helping these women with healthcare needs, employment needs, personal needs, baby needs.  People, who want to lie and shame women into keeping babies, should put their money where their mouths are.  Those people better be ready with resources to help those women, those families, such as babysitters, therapists, affordable daycare and whatever else is needed to help these families strive.  States should have six months maternity leave.  These are the things that will make abortion numbers drop like a rock.

I know I was all over the place with this post.  I usually don’t get on a soapbox.  I try not to judge.  I like to believe that people are making the right decisions for themselves.  I want politics to be used for making the world a better place for everyone.  Tune in tomorrow when I’ll be back to my usual self.  Hopefully I’ll be funny too.

In Memory

It’s been quite some time since I wrote a memorial post.  I don’t think I had the blog a month before my favorite grandpa, my mother’s father, passed away suddenly.  I still have a hard time when I hear his voice on my grandma’s answering machine.  He was supposed to be here when I moved back to my hometown.  He was supposed to watch Looney Tune Cartoons with my boys.  He was supposed to help me fix things around my house.  He was supposed to call me by my childhood nickname and play this tapping game we had played since I could remember.  But he’s not.

Friday, my dad’s baby brother passed.  We knew it was coming.  His melanoma had returned in September.  This time he had a tumor in his brain and on his spine.  Even with surgery, chemo, and radiation, in January, the doctors could not keep up with the cancer.  It was a matter of weeks. 

My uncle was not perfect.  A child of divorce, the youngest of six.  I’m sure he was caught in the middle when his father remarried and his second wife actively worked to get rid of her stepchildren and have the house to her own children.  He had a wild youth, which lasted a little longer than it should have.  I have six cousins because of him.  I have never met two of them.  I don’t think I ever will.  But he turned his life around, raised his children and married his long-time girlfriend.  He found happiness in Christ.  He worked as a janitor at an elementary school, where the kids loved him.  He started playing the school’s Santa Claus, and the last several years he dressed up for his grandson and my boys for Christmas Eve.  His grandson loved it.  My boys were terrorized by it, until last year.  Out of all my uncles, he never made an effort to be an uncle, but I never had any problems with that.  I had other uncles.

It’s weird to see my cousins post things on Facebook about their uncle.  His kids are silent.  Which is understandable.  My grandma is taking this very hard, but my dad hinted it had more to do that no one will letting her arrange the services.  Which makes sense, he went to a different church, he should have them there.  But still, she just lost her baby son, the mama’s boy.  My dad once said the family will start breaking apart once people started to pass.  He meant his parents, but now I wonder if this will be the first blow.  I only see my little cousins on Christmas Eve.  I went away for college and then stayed to start a family.  They all grew up and moved on in my absence.  I wonder if my aunt and my cousins will keep coming over for Christmas Eve or move on.

I don’t feel the way I did when my grandpa passed.  I haven’t shed a tear.  I don’t have a desire to speak at the memorial.  I even debated not going.  As cold as it is, his death would have ruined our plans if he had passed next week.  But my cousins.  My little cousins.  It’s not fair that they lost their dad so early in their life.  Even though my mom pointed out they are all older than 18, I still think it’s too young for them to lose their dad.  While my grandma is crazy and I hardly see my grandpa, it must hurt to lose your son.  And my aunt.  I have known her nearly my whole life.  My uncle only got around to marrying her my senior year in college (and I thought my dad was joking when he told me).  To lose your husband must be a pain so great there are hardly words.

To my uncle, may he finally have found what he was searching for.

Those Messy Thoughts

I can read palms.  (As soon as I was released from my time in Catholic school, I went searching for everything my school didn’t teach, and fortune-telling books are right next to the religious books in the library, and the public library I frequented as a teenager had a vast collection of fortune-telling books.)  On the palm, there is a line, that among other things, tells a reader how the person thinks.  The flatter the line the more linear the thinking.  1.2.3.  ABC.  One could read this person’s thoughts like a text book.  The more curve the line the more unique the thinking pattern was.  Only that person could follow the bread trail of thoughts to get to an answer.  This part of the reading was fascinating to hear how people described their thoughts and how they come up with conclusions.

Some people had Rolodexes and files.  One person saw numbers like a pattern.  (Guess if these people had flat or curved lines.)  I knew someone who saw numbers as colors.  Another person saw music as color.  One person could see someone’s face and remember everything about that person.  Some described paths or roads.  Others it was something out of Momento or Beautiful Mind. It was always fascinating.

I learned I had a myriad of ways of thinking.  I have files on people, cross-referenced here and there.  History is an island.  (Now I see it crumbling as I lose more information as I don’t use it or replenish it like I used to.)  Cities are miniture models.  Sight reading music or playing the organ is a math problem.  Math is a puzzle.  There are places in my mind like gardens, oceans, libraries, theaters.  Then there are lists.  Lists of what to do today and this week.  Lists of the major things.  Lists of what to buy.  Grocery lists.  Book lists.  Lists of ideas for crafts, presents, recipes.  At one point, they worked seamlessly.

Now.  I feel lost in a land of words and turns.  I stand paralyzed by the landscape in front of me.  I know the information, the answers, the stories are there, but they crowd in, demanding a voice.  Am I making much sense?

Last night I received the monthly budget.  There in my hands a world of choices.  Responsibility and security settled for the month.  Possibilities over menus, toiletries, gifts, entertainment, uses all danced in my hand.  But what to do first.  Which bills should be knocked out first?  What purchases need to be done now?  How do I frame the battle strategy?  I am frozen.

But as I wrote this, as I ran up and down stairs to turn Sesame Street back on after Tornado A had to push that bright green light button one more time, I realized I do have an answer.  I have to write it all down.  It was always been the answer from the escapes I needed in childhood, to dealing with the wild fires and hurricanes of the teen years, to the confusion and glory of those early years of adulthood, to the lists to focus my sleep-deprived brain of motherhood.  Write.  Write.  Write.  Then I could see and measure what needs to be done, building a battle plan.  Then I could let go of the daydreams that are starting to haunt my steps like they did in my childhood.  Then I could focus on here and now.

I think I’m going to need more paper.

Any one want to write how they think?

Thanks

So I meant to keep this list down, but I had a lot of fun, and before you know it, I had a lot.  I actually cut out people, so I might have to do this again.  Soon.  First off, thanks for reading.  I haven’t been the best blogger lately, but I’ll figure out how to change that soon.

To my first oh-my-god-he’s-so-cute-and-sweet actual crush, thanks for making sure I will always have a thing for guys with light colored eyes.  Thanks for being my friend, and I think I would die if you ever learned I had a crush on you.

To the she-devils I grew up with, thanks for teaching me never to fear evil, to smell out your kind, to not care what anyone thinks, and to say “Bite me.”

To my high school best friend, thanks for being cool, fun, and weird.  Thanks for being my sidekick.  Thanks for sticking with me through four years of long distance relationship.  Sorry we couldn’t last through marriages.  You’re welcome for the bottles of blue nail polish, the Luke Skywalker toys, and all the sex tips.

To my soul sister, you were my first picked out sister.  Thanks for being that.  And for all those hours studying the dark arts with me.  For agreeing to be my star actress.  For letting me dance in and out of your life.  We should drag our troops with us and get together.  Sorry for the headlocks.  But honestly, you should never pick a fight with someone who knows to fight.

To my soul sister’s husband, thanks for being a cool guy in high school.  Thanks for still doing the voice of the worm from Labyrinth even all these years later.  Thanks for chewing out your wife for not inviting me over for bar-b-ques all summer.

To my quietest friend, thanks for being so cool.  I want to believe.

To the drama boys, thanks for insuring that I have a thing for wickedly smart, wickedly funny, wickedly confident guys.  At times that has worked well.

To my Favorite Freshman, thanks for considering me your big sis and all the letters written from army bases and the awesome baby clothes.

To my first love, thanks for teaching me to swing dance and skank and to risk.  I blew that one.

To my Spanish teacher, thanks for always telling me I’m bright and creative.  You were the first teacher to do so.

To my swim couch/ chem teacher, thanks for letting me ask you the most random science questions, for listening while I debated about dropping swim team, for my recommendation letter.  Though making me read it in front of you to see me blush, not cool.

To my mentor, thanks for seeing something in a girl who sat on top of her desk in the back of the room.  Thanks for letting me talk your ear off, and thanks for making me your TA.  Thanks for teaching really cool classes.

To the boy with bellbottoms, thanks for deepening my appreciation for The Beatles, for teaching me to free-style dance, for late night conversations about, among other things, God, religion, politics, the end of the world, and, of course, the nudist debate.  I still stand that it would be boring.  You’re welcome for introducing you to The Simpsons.

To my first college roommate, see I wasn’t so bad.  Thanks for allowing me to put of glow-in-the-dark stars, meal tickets, Christmas lights, and the kiddie pool in our dorm room as decoration.  Thanks for giving us a second chance.  I forgive you for giving me mono.

To my sweet suite mate, thanks for letting me hang out in your room.  It was a sanctuary.

To my sleepy suite mate, thanks for being my tea cup buddy.  We could get that thing to spin.

To my first official boyfriend.  You are a psycho.  Thanks for teaching me to trust my instincts.  You’re welcome for not letting anyone break your legs in the beginning.  Though, come to think of it, it would have saved us time, pain, and legal fees, if I had.  Sorry about that.

To my college best friend, thanks for being my friend.  Thanks for making me laugh when I wanted to cry, scream, or do nothing.  Thanks for discussing science, religion, politics as well as quote hours of The Simpsons’ lines with me.  Thanks for the fashion advice and being my Disneyland partner and my partner in crime.  I wish we were still friends like that.

To my Beloved, I fell in love with you the first time we met, forgave you for stealing my job, and knew I had to be friends with you forever as we kept saying something and repeating “ME TOO!”  Thanks for being the my counterpart.  You’re right.  If I swung the other way, we might be soul mates but we need each other too much behind us to square off as partners do.

To my second roommate, thanks for being a cool roommate and not running off like I wanted to you to.  Thanks for understanding my life gets busy and making time for me when I take a breath.  I still have the picture of us that has our secrets in plain view.  Now get pregnant already because I’m tired of making you look good in pictures.

To my guy expert, thanks for being the coolest guy ever.  I want my boys to be like you.  Sorry you got run off.  Jealousy sucks.

To the lesbian, thanks for being a cool friend for a while.  I wish alcohol hadn’t taken you away.

To my first boss, thanks for being weird.

To my boss at GS, thanks for being Stanford to my Carrie.  Thanks for coming to my bachelorette party, you as well as My Beloved made it one of the best nights of my life.

To our handy man, thanks for teaching me the true meaning of WWJD.  I still use it.

To the Canadian girl, thanks for being there when I needed you.  You were an awesome friend.  You know you were the first person to see Tornado S.  Thanks for being a good sport with my dad.  Sorry about the idiot who broke us up.

To the bloggers I heart, thanks for sharing your lives.  For the ones who stopped, I miss you and wonder about you and your lives.  For those I still read, you are amazing women and I wish I read more.  Hell, I wish I could be like you all.

To my pen pal, thanks for the emails, the letters, the gifts.  Thanks for being my friend and writing a friendship that one day needs to be told.

To the mom of the twins, thanks for forcing wisdom at me.  You’re welcome for teaching you the “proper” way to yell at your kids.

To the mom of one of my favorite girls, thank you for being so terribly cool and inviting me to parties.

To the mom of the sweet girl, thanks for humoring me.  You can admit that I amuse you.

To the mom of the other of my favorite girls and Tornado S’s best friend, thanks for house hunting for me and insisting on making your house my home away from home.  Seriously we need to hang out more.

Thanks to the unicorn for the laughs, the emails, and the stickers.

To Wally’s little sis, thanks for being my confidant, even though you became it through default.  I’m super glad your sis tells you everything and that coolness runs in your family.

To the boy I keep up way too late, thanks for being who you are.  You’re pretty awesome.  Thanks for the conversations, the jokes, sticking with me, and going along with me on crazy schemes.  You changed my life.

To my boys, thanks for teaching me to enjoy the mornings.  Thanks for pushing me to be more patient and energetic.  Thanks for pushing me to be better than I am because I am your role model.

Finding some time

I arrived home late last night.  I’m doing laundry at the parents’.  Again.  Tornado S finally gave up the computer.  Then Tornado A tossed his juice glass into my lap.  Now that he is full of juice, he would like to try at writing.

jklhghjjysds

Yeah, I think this is long as I can write.

Just a few questions

As I whirl about trying to get things done and accomplish nothing, I have a few questions swirling around my head.

When did Tornado A learn “help” and “hello”?

Did they really need to put a slit in the Princess Leia costume?

How is it this is the third store in a row that doesn’t have Tornado S size?

Are there that many women who want to dress as sluts for Halloween?

Why aren’t things getting crossed off my list?

Why can’t I never find time to make phone calls until at 9pm?

Why aren’t more businesses open after 9pm?

Why is parenting so hard?

Is the week really almost over?

Is my mom’s birthday really this weekend?

Why must I repeat myself three times?

Did I have lunch?

When did I buy these cucumbers?

Huh?

When am I going to find the time to do Halloween crafts?

Where did Tornado E get this cheese wrapper from?

Why does this kid have so much homework?

Why do I keep forgetting to buy a new keyboard?

Just a whole bunch of random thoughts

It seems like a stream of consciousness kind of night.  As I listen to Tornado A talk to himself.  He was awoken an hour and forty minutes ago by Tornado E’s crying, who was having a night mare. Now Tornado A can’t get back to sleep.  He flips through books, plays his music box, and plays with his stuffed animals.  And he’ll be up early.  Well, I hope he is.  I have this grand plan to get everyone ready early so that I can plunk them in front of the tv or a video game because I need to make a few phone calls that I’ve been putting off.  And off.  And off.  So pathetic.  I swear I’ll do them at the best time of the day for calls, which is nap/DVD time when I can actually hear the person talk without having a child whine for something (juice, toys, food, my attention, being held), but I always find something else to do. Like read blogs or news.  Like clean the house or study for math.  Or kill zombies.  Right.  So phone calls are first on this list.  Then dropping off Tornado E and going to the organic grocery store.  I need to visit a friend to deliver her Amish friendship bread and a starter and her daughter’s sandal.  I hope the bread turned out well; I tried a new variation.  And I baked brownies yesterday, but I really want to bake some Irish soda bread.  And there’s a spider on my ceiling.  (See, that.  Stream of consciousness.)  I should put away my laundry.  I should read some blogs.  I should go to bed early, but I did that last night, and I dozed for the first hour or so.  Then I was ready to pop out of bed at 5am.  Don’t worry.  I resisted the urge and got lost in daydreams for the next hour and a half.  Not only did I wait for my alarm.  I “slept in.”  Some days I miss sleeping in.  Some days I think I got a handle on this whole thing, and then I realize that it will get harder and it will change.  I will change.  I will adapt.  I am a butterfly.  I am The Phoenix.  There’s Tornado A.  I should check on him.

I hate my internet

And they will call me back in an hour.  To see if it’s still working.

And please connect the internet to your laptop.  You don’t have a laptop?  Really, you don’t have a laptop at all in the house?

She’s really lucky the four-year-old was standing next to me.

Recap 6/23 The moving edition

1. I have internet.  And my very own office.  Which is crammed filled with boxes.  Because I’m not sure where to place the bookcases.

2. Installing new rules.  Like put your plates in the sink after a meal (I know. I was to lax here) and don’t throw things from the top of the stairs and don’t kick things from the top of the stairs and don’t yell on the stairs when people are sleeping and don’t put things on that ledge you’re suppose to stay away from.  I’m starting to feel like the Gestapo and the jailer.  Follow the rules, boys.  Follow the damn rules.

3. Curtains.  Tornado A’s room needed ridiculously dark curtains.  So does my room.  But I suffer because moves are expensive.

4. I have to stop stomping around.  Bare feet + tile + stomping = very tired feet.

5. Dear Movers: You suck.  You do not get to pick and choose what you move.  But you did.  You decided the beds were too complicated.  And the fridge was too complicated.  But the floor lamps, the kiddie pool, the toy box, and enough stuff for us to make several trips on our own were NOT complicated.  You’re lucky I was at swim lessons with the kids or I would have had your heads.

6. Dear Old Rental Company: You took a picture of behind the stove.  WTF?  I want to see the picture of behind the stove before I moved in.

7. Dear New Rental Company: 7 days is not nearly enough time to inspect a house on my own with the whole moving in process.  I’m faxing in my inspection anyways.  And I have pictures.

8. Dear Actual Owner of New House: Who the f*#k paints the WHOLE house in flat paint?  INCLUDING the bathrooms and kitchen?!  WTF?  And the paint job sucked.  Oh and I refuse to take responsibility for all the stains that will happen because you’re too cheap to actually do the job right the first time.

9. Dear Dad: You’re totally right.  If you were retired (again), my move would have gone smoother and quicker.  But Mom isn’t going to let you retire yet.  She wants new carpets.  And new cabinets in the kitchen.  And to re-do the master bath.  And re-plaster the pool.  I second the pool re-plastering.

10.  P.S. Thanks for lunch.  You knew I wouldn’t stop to eat.  And thanks for bringing extra.  I fell into my teenage metabolism last week.  Of course, I’ve fallen right out of it this week.

Responsibilities. What’s that?

I take possession of the new rental.  Tomorrow.  If I get all my confirmations of utilities changes in writing by then.  Our thirty days for this rental are up on the 17th.  That’s plenty of time to move everything.  Right?  In two weeks?

That’s the belief I’m going with.  Except.  I have three boys, who need attention, less they decided to color the house or themselves.  Then I still have to do all the regular chores and errands. I’m the only one packing, which isn’t unusual, but this time there are no packers at the tail-end.  Then next weekend may be Family Fun Weekend instead of Family Fun Day.  Then the weekend after that, I’m out of town. 

-Wait.  How many days do I have again?

Well, at least we have less stuff!  And I gave away a bunch of baby stuff.  (Thanks, Kat.  I love you.  Do you need bottles or spoons?)  And I gave away a couple of bags of clothes.  And I lugged more than a dozen books to the used book store.  Then there’s the yard sale my brother is throwing in a few weeks.  And I really have to figure out what to do with my ewaste.  See?  Less stuff.

But still, I should be packing.  Or switching over the rest of the utilities.  Or figuring out a new organizational system.  Or cleaning.  Or looking for a TV stand online.  Or (Have I had lunch yet?) making lunch.

So if my posts are short (because I still need to write or I will die), it’s because I should be packing but needed a reason to laugh at the barely contained chaos.  If I don’t comment as I often do on my blog or others, it’s because I’m packing when I rather reading brilliant writing by my favorite bloggers.

With a quick glance behind me, I realized I really should be packing.  I’m so screwed.