1. Health Care
So I am in that doughnut hole. Too old and with too many pre-existing conditions to get low premiums but not old enough for Medicare; make too much for Medicaid, but not really enough to easily cover my premiums, co-pays, and deductibles on my own. As a pastor, yes, I pay my own insurance. The current health care bills in Congress are pretty disastrous, not only for the severely disabled, for the folks we saw on the news protesting on the Hill and being dragged away by the Capitol Police, but for millions of people. I have several pre-existing conditions: cancer, migraines, a bleeding disorder (in my childhood, never had a problem in several operations since), a pregnancy complicated by a cesarean section (I'm of an age to never have children again), a couple of sprained ankles, a sprained wrist, arthritis, a brain cyst (completely benign, I was born with it). Only the arthritis and the migraines are a current, ongoing concern, and my neurologist and I have the migraines under control; my primary and I are doing all we can about the arthritis. Yes, the cancer could return, I grant that. The rest are unlikely or no more likely for me than for anyone else. And yet my premiums are pretty high--about 12% of my yearly income, not including deductibles and co-pays--and that's for a bronze plan. I could skip it, living on pain meds when the migraines or arthritis flare up, praying the cancer doesn't return...but what if it does? Here's my point--I am not the only one doing this calculus, trying to decide whether to roll the dice. Not get the insurance (possibly paying a penalty, if that's part of the final bill) and pray I stay healthy; or get the bare minimum plan I can afford that will cover cancer care, just in case, and scrimp by somewhere else (but what else can I cut back)? Catch 22. And I am not alone.
OK, this one's much happier! My son (AKA Tall One to readers of an earlier incarnation of this blog) was married last month, and I could not be happier. He married a wonderful woman, who is smart and kind and independent and gives him a run for his money and loves him--as he loves her. It was a beautiful wedding n Washington DC, officiated by a former mentor and friend. The whole weekend was wonderful (well, aside from the flight there and back--but that was only three or four hours out of the weekend). I got to see my mom, and my sisters and some of their significant others, and friends I had not actually seen in years, catch up with people I used to count as family--and who still are, really. What a warm and loving time to share with people who mean so much to me!
Why am I so reluctant to do them, even though I like having done them? Scrubbing the bathroom, doing laundry, mopping the floor....ugh. But I love having clean clothes, clean floors, etc. Human nature. Go figure.
4. Reading books
"And of the reading of books there shall be no end."
I have several books that I am stuck in the middle of, not because I am finding them boring, but quite the opposite--they are pulling on my emotions so strongly that I dread reading further. Underground Railroad, All the Light We Cannot See, and Barkskins are calling me back but I am dreading the emotional rack they will put me on. So I am reading other books, good books, but books that do not threaten my emotions, coward that I am. I should have checked them out of the library, then I would have had to get them read.
June is Pride month; June 28th marks the anniversary of the Stonewall uprising in New York in 1969 that is the traditional start of the LGBTIQ rights movement. There were sit-ins and riots before that, but the Pride parade the next year was the first. As other civil rights and human rights movements took shape in the 60s, members of the LGBTIQ community (which had not really coalesced as such yet) began to take note and began to deman our civil rights too. The rainbow flag was created in San Francisco to represent the values of the LGBTIQ community; in some communities, a black stripe and a brown stripe have added to include people of color, which has roused some controversy. Still, the rainbow has come to symbolize inclusion, diversity, and welcome around the world. When attending a Pride event, the proper greeting is "Happy Pride!"
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