What I learned from Little League

LLJust as I had never watched soccer before this last World Cup, I had never watched a Little League game before.  After watching the team from Great Lakes/Illinois, called Jackie Robinson West (JRW), my whole perspective has changed.

The Chicago team is made up entirely of black players from an area where gang violence and poverty is the norm.  The team is named after Jackie Robinson, the first black player in Major League baseball.  It was a long road JRW traveled, to get to the World Series.  Once they won the Regional Championship, many parents were scrambling to figure out how to get the World Series so they could watch their boys.  Fundraisers were held, and assistance was given.  Talk about coming together for a good cause!

Yesterday, they won the US title, beating Las Vegas against all odds, who had previously beaten them 12-2 and decimated all the other teams they played.  But the JRW team was ready for them this time.  They are scrappers, coming from behind once again, to win the day.

Today they play South Korea, who also has beaten their opponents by impressive scores, for the International title.  I’m betting these 12 year old baseball players from a needy urban area in Chicago, come out champs again.  They have already won the hearts and minds of the U.S.  Win or lose today, they will always be considered winners in my book.  They have brought pride and dignity to Chicago youth, which is sorely needed in troubled times.

Now if they could just recruit Mo’ne Davis from Philly to move to Chicago, they would be unstoppable, yo!  Best team plus best girl……she is the champion of all girl athletes!

mone

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Goodbye and good riddance!

goodriddanceMost people love ringing in a new year.  A fresh start, new resolutions, a celebration of things to come!

I cannot wait for this year to end.  This past year has not been kind to my family.  A year ago my BIL died.  Then I had my hip replacement in May, which to this day is still infected and may at some point have to be removed.  Then my niece’s fiancée was killed in a horrific accident, leaving her little girl without a daddy.  Then my sister’s two beloved cats were eaten by coyotes.  Then my little great niece cut off her long beautiful hair down to the scalp, just in time for Christmas!  (which is no big deal compared to the other things).

My hip replacement has colored my world every day.  It was painful, it was expensive, and it is ongoing.  Don’t let the doctor’s fool you…..when you saw off your femur bone and then pound a stake into it, IT HURTS.  FOR A LONG TIME!  Those sadists at the hospital are poking you, prodding you, and making you walk all the time!  They love to see your pain, and tell you to work through it.  Yeah right, ok.  I did it, did everything they said, and went home from the rehab hospital with an infection that is still with me to this day as a reminder of a horrid experience.  Granted, this doesn’t happen to most people.  Very few people, in fact.  I am one of the lucky ones.

I was at my ortho doc on Wednesday.  We were talking about shots, and I asked him if it would hurt.  He said yes.  I asked him if it would make me cry.  He said “You are the bravest woman I know.  With everything you have been through this year, I have never seen you cry.  You have been through hell and back and keep on smiling.  All the nurses and therapists are amazed by you.  In all your hospital reports they make notations about your positive attitude and smiling face.  They wished all patients could be like you.  You had 4 surgeries and home health care nurses for months, and they all fought over who got to service you.  I think you made friends with every nurse and tech at Lake Forest Hospital!”

And you know what?  I did.  Why not?  I was stuck in the hospital a lot this summer, and those nurses and techs were my best friends.  They took wonderful care of me, and attended to my every need.  Trust me, you are totally helpless the first few days after surgery, and really need compassionate people!  They all were angels from heaven, and if a smile from me made their day better, I was happy to do it.  I felt my recovery would go better with a positive attitude, and it did.  The nurses treated me like I was special, and that made ME feel special!

Granted, I would like to never experience this kind of thing again, lol.  Luckily I had insurance, but wow did I get screwed!  I had the state of Illinois Pre-Existing insurance for the first 6 months until they went bankrupt and then forced me over to the federal insurance.  I had to start from scratch with deductibles and co-pays in the middle of the year.  All told, I paid approximately $20,000 for insurance this year.  I know my hospital bills were a lot more than that, and I was grateful to have the insurance, but geez.  That’s a lot of money for someone like me.

My sister and my niece are doing better, but it is still hard.  Luckily my great niece Brianna is very resilient and has taken the loss of her daddy in stride.  She has other male figures in her life who have stepped up, and she is a very loving child.  She is the best thing that has ever happened to our family!

The two cats are greatly missed, but Bri rescued a kitty and named him Lucky, and he has wormed his little way in our hearts and helped heal them.  He is quite naughty, and I’m sure Bri’s Elf on a Shelf has all kinds of naughty reports on him for Santa!

Thank goodness I don’t have an Elf on a Shelf, because my two cats are the naughtiest Christmas tree destroyers ever!  They have literally eaten the lighted Star off the top, and many strings of lights and ornaments.  It is their napping spot and climbing pole.  The top of the tree is now slanted, and they broke the stand too.

xmastree

Oh well, lol.  There’s always next year!  And next year will be better, I just know it.  My hip is better, I got to go to a family reunion wedding and see all my long distance relatives, my cats are fine, I have a warm house, a job of sorts, and family and dear friends.  I will try to stay on a positive path, and keep fighting the good fight!

Merry Christmas my friends, and I hope you all have the happiest of New Years!

Thank you Sir may I have another!

bend over

Seriously, I feel like I have to bend over and take whatever the government is dishing out!

I have been on the State of Illinois Pre-existing Condition Plan insurance.  It wasn’t cheap, it was a $5,000 deductible before they paid a dime, plus $350/month premium.  I joined last November, so to date I have paid $7,800 for insurance out of my pocket so far.  And I was happy to do so, as my hip replacement plus complications have run up the bill way past that.

HOWEVER.  The states have run out of money, and now are transferring everyone over to the Federal Program.  In the MIDDLE OF THE CALENDAR YEAR.  There is NO credit for any money you have paid to the state so far this year.  So basically, you start from scratch again, and may end up paying double, like me.  Lucky me.  The premiums for the federal insurance are $567/month, and the out-of-pocket is $3,125.  So for the rest of this year it will cost me and ADDITIONAL $6,527.  This year, I will have to spend $14,327 for insurance.

I’m sorry, that is so not fair.  They should have done this transition at the beginning of the calendar year, so people don’t get screwed into having to pay double.  People in this program obviously have medical problems, and this is just another burden to add to their woes.

I don’t mean to sound ungrateful.  I am trying to be a good citizen, and PAY for my medical care, and not just expect the government to take care of me for free.

I really needed this kick in the teeth this month.  So thank you.  Thank you very much.

 

The most wonderful time of the year

It’s here again.  Christmas.  My favorite season.

This year I have so many things to be grateful for.  I have been through hell and back and now I can see the light, in so many ways.

It is so liberating to feel free and in charge of my own destiny now.  I have the time and finances now to fix myself, physically and mentally. The scars, both figuratively and literally, will always be there, and they were hard-won.  My emotions have finally settled, just in time for my fav season.

It’s the little things that make me happy now.  I don’t need big shiny expensive things.  I have lived frugally so well for the past few years, I find that SAVING money gives me more pleasure than spending money.  Money is the root of so many problems anyway.  I am more happy being frugal.  My biggest enjoyment in life is the afternoon matinée movie for six bucks.  I find joy in fixing up my house the most economical route, and feeling a sense of accomplishment.

Today I received notice today that I have been accepted in the Illinois Pre-existing Insurance Plan.  For that I thank President Obama.  All you haters out there, be grateful that you do not have a chronic, incurable disease like I do, because you too would be uninsurable.  Thanks to Obama, I now have affordable insurance coverage.  I haven’t been to my Crohn’s doctor is over 3 years now, and I REALLY NEED TO GO.  Now I can.  And I can get all my female tests I haven’t had in 3 years either.  When I went to the mailbox today, I ripped the envelope open, and started screaming in my street.  (Hope I didn’t scare the neighbors too much, but I think they are used to me, ha!).  This is HUGE for me.  Please Republicans, do not take away the health care I need.  It’s NOT free, far from it.  It is 125% more than a normal person’s premiums and I have a $5,000 deductible to pay before anything is covered.  But it is something, and I want it, and I need it.  So thank you to the powers that be, here on Earth and in Heaven.

More and more things are falling into place.  Every Sunday when I go to church, I like to sit back and thank God for all the blessings that have come my way, and pray for good things to come to other people.  I treasure my holy water I have received from dear friends who have traveled to Lourdes, and use it when I feel the need.  I used it when I went to court, and God stood up for me, and I will use it for my back surgery.  I used it on my BIL for his heart surgery, and he pulled through like a champ.  Miracles do indeed happen.

As Christmas approaches, I feel the spirit everywhere.  I love the cold, crisp air, and the beautiful twinkling lights everywhere.  I love all the parties and get togethers with family and friends.  I love seeing the delight on children’s faces when they open their gifts.  I love making my great niece’s FIRST hot chocolate.

Christmas gives me feelings of hope and peace deep within my soul.  I hope you all can feel it too, and have a very blessed holiday season.  Don’t forget to keep the “Christ” in Christmas!

Another Illinois Govenor going to the Big House

Only Rod Blagojevich can make going to jail into a campaign.  The news cameras have been in his face non-stop this past week, counting down the days to his incarceration.  He has made every moment count, still signing autographs as he was entering the plane for crying out loud.

His legacy will certainly include his constant motor mouth.  Last night, his final night at home with his wife and daughters, he make a fanfare of his final statement, ignoring pleas from his wife to come back in the house.  He.just.could.not.shut.up.  Playing up to the cameras and his fans was more important than his family on his last night.  Blah, blah, blah Blago, ad nauseum

Only in Illinois does a disgraced political figure act like a celebrity as they led him off to jail.  He will get a big surprise tonight when he is just another inmate at a federal prison surrounded by a high razer-wire fence.  Blago might be an avid jogger, but no way is he going to be able to high jump this puppy, lol.

He will join another disgraced Illinois governor, George Ryan.  Maybe they can compare notes on how they both landed in the joint.  Ex-Enron prez Jeff Skilling can maybe show him the ropes.

He will now be sleeping on a very thin mattress on a metal frame, and applying boiled coffee grounds to keep his famous mop of hair dark.  He does NOT get to choose his roomie, like in college.  Tomorrow morning when he is awoken at dawn, he will start his day doing menial chores, like cleaning toilets perhaps.  Every day will be exactly the same.

Welcome to Groundhog Day Blago!!!