I’d Like to Opt Out of Opting Out

the post where i offend everyone

It is amazing any kind of law gets made, upheld, or overturned in this country. Such twisting and turning of words is required. You ladies waiting for birth control better put that aspirin back between your knees.

Yes, I did read the SCOTUS transcript in Zubik v. Burwell, otherwise known as

The Super Duper Catholic Sisters of the Poor


ABSOLUTELY fair and reasonable access to insurance covered contraception

Arguments were heard today, March 23, 2016. Results to come out later this year. My guess is a 4-4 split because heaven forbid we get something done this year. (Senate, #DoYourJob!)

By the way, the rights of individual women in this country are apparently not as important as the rights of a group of nuns–nuns who believe contraception is such a sin they can hardly look at babies because of all the sinning it takes to make them.

Sure, these nuns do good works, but if we grade them on a curve I’d say they are fair to middling people at best. All we asked them to do was sign a piece of paper absolving them of any responsibility for providing contraception in the insurance plans they offer their non-nun employees. But somewhere in the New Testament there is apparently a verse that says signing the form banishes them to hell, so off to the Supreme Court they went. (Can you say redundant?)

These holy women are asking for exceptional accommodations and exemptions.

They are asking the Supreme to allow them to OPT OUT of the proposed OPT OUT method provided by the government.

Yes, they object to the very act of opting out, and so they want to opt out. The Opt Out Form is too much of a burden to their sincerely held beliefs. They would prefer to just let women suffer in silence.

Actually, what they want is for women to have two insurance plans. One is provided by the Sisters and it would cover all the non-sinful things. The other would be purchased separately through the ACA exchange. It would be done in a dark room across town so the nuns wouldn’t have to witness it. Rather than signing the form releasing them from all responsibility, these Brides of Christ would prefer to cover their eyes, stick their fingers in their ears, and sing La la la la I can’t hear you.

They KNOW many of their employees will be using birth control but the nuns get a pass into Heaven if they pretend otherwise.

I get it. I do. I think I do.

To be honest the arguments in this case are a bit convoluted and I did not go down the rabbit hole of precedents, but it seems to me the crux of this case is about how many degrees of separation does it take for a nun to feel like they are not literally forcing a birth control pill down your throat.  It’s more than six degrees because Kevin Bacon is far too sexy. If the nuns have it their way we’ll have to go the climb the YUUUUGE Mexico wall to get birth control pills mixed in a dirty garage laboratory south of the border. Their pious minds will be eased knowing we will have travel through the NO ABORTION CLINICS ALLOWED wasteland called Texas. Praise Jesus!

Look, I don’t wish endometriosis on ANYONE, but perhaps their God could teach them a little compassion and perspective?? Birth Control pills are not always prescribed to control birth. More importantly, it’s none of their damn business why someone needs, wants, or uses birth control.

Sign the damn form and say a prayer. God will understand.

Yeah, yeah, Mea Culpa, Me Paenitet.

You can read the SCOTUS mess here: http://www.supremecourt.gov/oral_arguments/argument_transcripts/14-1418_1bn2.pdf

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Filed under Feminism, Sexism, and Equality, Violence Against Women

We Are Skull Tumor!  

it is a toomahSkull Tumor would be an awesome name for a death metal rock band, don’t you think? Or, maybe something a little more my speed, a kick ass team name for bar trivia?

Unfortunately Skull Tumor is what I recently had removed from my body. Not quite so awesome or kick ass.

Over the last year I have not been myself. I blamed the lethargy on aging, diet, allergies, and obscure viruses I was certain I caught on my cruise to the Bahamas. I stopped writing, avoided going out, became one with my sofa, and pretty much accepted my new role in life as a hermit. My doctors were, as doctors tend to be (read here), dismissive.

“You have a cold.”

I was prescribed rest and hydration and over the counter medications to “make me more comfortable”. Apparently we were giving the cold hospice care.

Except this cold wouldn’t die. But I was beginning to think I might. I cultivated a successful coughing habit. I stopped sleeping. I hoarded tissues. I was miserable, and making my friends and family miserable, too.

I’d have moments of remission, but mostly I just felt sick. All. The. Time.

I stood in doctors’ offices and sobbed as I tried to explain that my leaking ears and stuffed up nose and pneumatic lungs were more than figments of my imagination. Do I need to cough up a piece of lung for you people?

“Well, the flu virus has been bad this year.”

I took it upon myself to see a specialist. I dragged my sick self to their office and begged for mercy. In about ten minutes they had me in a CT scanner and on the phone with a surgical scheduling nurse. A tumor–a tumor I had in the past–had returned. And this time it went all Schwarzenegger on me.

It IS a Toomah! (Yes, I know that’s not actually the line.)

This was Skull Tumor: Judgement Day (or Salvation if I was lucky).

I am special. This is a rare tumor. It accounts for 0.5-4.0% of Skull Tumors. Usually this kind of tumor is reserved for men over the age of 50. The first time I had it was in my early 30s. Yay me. It is often starts as benign but enjoys something called malignant transformation AND it likes to invade the bones. Oh, and it has been known to eat eyes (my interpretation of what I learned). If this tumor were a stock it would be set because it has, and I quote, “unlimited growth potential”. As a bonus it has a high recurrence rate.

So I was sick after all. And not with a cold.

Last week my doctor removed the tumor. While I was blissfully recovering from anesthesia in the surgical ward, my doctor took it upon herself to explain to my husband just how the tumor removal was accomplished. Words like aggressive, scrape, hooks, blades, invasive, and “had to really get in there” were used.

Fun times!

I’m a week out of surgery and doing well. To look at me you’d hardly know anything unusual happened. It helps that I have been blessed with a bottle of Percocet so my world may feel rosier than it actually is. But even with the pain and the swelling I can feel a difference. Most importantly: I can breathe. I can breathe in ways I didn’t even know were possible. And when one can breathe one can sleep. And when one can sleep one’s brain has time to shut down and heal and reboot and meet the next day with renewal of purpose. It’s rather incredible. Don’t take it for granted.

This morning I received my biopsy results. To paraphrase my doctor: that’s as close to malignancy as possible without actually having cancer. It means there is monitoring to do and the potential for future surgeries remains. But for now I am healthy.

I had a Skull Tumor. Now it lives in a jar in a lab somewhere. Where it once was there is only emptiness. And that’s a good thing.

Rock on!


Filed under Health and Wellness

I’ll start on Monday

My new year almost always begins on January 2nd. How about you? Sure, back in the throes of the gluttony that is December (a happy and satisfying gluttony, to be sure), January 1st is a beacon out there in the future guiding us to the promise of better decision making and healthy life habits. But let’s be honest here: what were you really doing in the morning on January 1st? (If you tell me you went for an early morning run you can just get out right now–this blog is not for you).

On January 1st I slept in and had breakfast around noon. By the time I got dressed the sun was starting its descent. The rest of the day night was spent organizing papers on my desk into coulda, woulda, shoulda, and can’t avoid any longer piles. I made the sacrifice and forced myself to eat all the remaining sugar laden and white flour items in the house so the new healthy eating plan could officially go into effect without temptation. I ended the first-day-of-the-rest-of-my-life binge watching must see TV because unresolved television drama is obviously a major burden to one’s revitalization plans.

New Year Quote about must see TVI’m going to go out on a limb and say I don’t think I was alone.

Most people welcome January 1st head on…at midnight…and wake up the next day with only a vague idea about what they’d like their future to be. The arbitrary turn of the calendar does not bestow on us the power to suddenly defeat our demons and old, well-honed habits. Whatever kind of New Year’s Eve partying we do–Seacrest style, champagne style, night club style, movie with the kids style–there is not magical transformation of mind waiting for us on the other side.

January 1st is our collective safe space for emotional gut checking. It’s a day of recuperation. It’s a day of transition. It’s the day we ERASE the slate as before we start with a clean one.

It’s a day not unlike many we have throughout the year.

I get the same renewal of purpose when spring begins.
I get the same list making, task doing joy when a new school year approaches.
I get the same what will I do with my life NOW thoughts on my birthday.

People like new starts and January 1st is just one of the many our calendar gifts us.

But the real work doesn’t start until the day after, in this case, January 2nd (which is why I’m writing and posting something today instead of yesterday). The trick is maintaining motivation and conviction between days of re-renewal. Sometimes success comes easy. Other times you’ll find me on a Sunday night gorging on Peanut M&Ms and Redvines while I pin all my hopes on the gift that is the surprising rejuvenation of a Monday morning (Happy New Week?).

Life isn’t all that hard or complicated. It just is. The arbitrary decision to count the number of times the earth rotates on its axle or circles around the sun as signs that we’ve come to some sort of crossroads is comforting. We like goalposts and way stations, even when they are theoretical. We like to believe the reset button is always available to us. It’s the lie we’ve all agreed to pretend is true.

Start 2016 by thanking Julius Caesar and Pope Gregory XIII for giving us a global yearly way station, but remember the reality is you can start a new you any time you’d like. So maybe you can forgo the pomp and circumstance of resolutions and just live life one day at a time.

That’s what I hope to do.

I’ll start on Monday. 

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Filed under Writing and Reading