Thursday, October 23, 2014

Thursday Thirteen

1. Today is National Mole Day. Apparently this is not to celebrate either the growths on the body or the little things that plow burrows in the yard, but instead is a celebration of some kind of math equation. Go figure.

Pelicans on the farm pond
2. I read frequently about habitat and how the loss of it is greatly upsetting our ecosystem. The migration of monarch butterflies is one example. The collapse of honey bee hives is another. At one point there was a lot of talk about frogs being a barometer of things gone awry. I've noticed it in some migration patterns. For example, late this spring we had a flock of white pelicans on the pond. It was a first in anybody's memory. We have more Canadian geese in the fall. We also have stink bugs now, which up until about five years ago were things I'd never even heard of.

3. Hunting season has returned to Virginia. I was reminded of this earlier this week when I went trucking through the house without a stitch on, seeking out the clothing I wanted in the laundry room, only to emit a quick screech and slink back into the other part of the house for my robe when I realized there were strange vehicles in the driveway, and hunters standing around in camo. Fortunately, they all had their backs to the house as they were watching the woods. They were my husband's friends, but still. You don't want to give people a heart attack.

4. I have 19 items on my to-do list at the moment. If I get the top three done I will consider it a good day. My suspicion is that I won't, though I may knock a few things off the list.

5. CNN says China is going to the moon. I was disheartened when we began defunding NASA and it saddens me to see our space program in the toilet. I watched every space launch that I could, including the one in 1969 when a human being first stepped on the moon. I have cried when shuttles exploded and lives were lost, but the space program offered us hope as a nation and gave us a common ground for national pride, something we seem to be lacking these days. That is, unless you want to be proud of being first in the world in the number of people per capita you incarcerate, or first in the world in military spending, which I do not and am not.

6. Speaking of space stuff, there is a partial eclipse of the sun late this afternoon, visible in the US. Apparently it begins around 5:50 p.m., close to sunset. Don't look directly at the sun as it can damage your eyes. And looking at through a digital camera is not something I recommend, either.

7. I've been seeing a lot of posts about health care insurance costs. Most of these blame the Affordable Care Act (I refuse to call it by its misnomer, though the media does it), but our health insurance has been rising steadily since the 1990s, and even with an employer picking up the tab for one of us, we pay out more than $9,000 a year just to insure the other one on the same policy. The insurance company was constantly bullying us about medications and doctor visits pre-ACA. I don't think the ACA was a good deal - I think it was a gift to private insurance companies - but I also think the insurance companies have looked for and found every loophole they can to increase premiums and deny claims. I'm grateful we have health insurance - we'd be bankrupt if we didn't, given my poor health and my husband's accident this summer - but yes, it is expensive. It is not, however, as expensive as the $100,000+ it would have cost us out-of-pocket to save my husband's arm. So I guess in the long run, you need to ask yourself if you're worth it or not. Maybe you can do without an arm.

8. In the meantime, we need real health care reform, and for me that means a national single payer system. Yes, Medicare for all. Of course it would not be perfect, but then absolutely nothing dreamed up in the human brain is. I would, however, like for everyone to have the opportunity to keep their limbs should they have an unfortunate accident.

9. I am who I am. I don't need anyone's permission to be me. Nor do I need anyone's permission to dream, big or small, or to do much of anything else for that matter. Unless I am invading someone's personal space, they really don't have much of a say over what I do. But when I am invading personal space - whether with words, too close in body contact, with cigarette smoke, perfume or whatever - then yeah, they - and I - have the right to say something. It's called boundaries. Like Baby said in Dirty Dancing, "This is your dance space, this is my dance space. Spaghetti arms!" Or something to that effect.

10. Some days coming up with 13 somethings is tough. Today is one of them. Can you tell?

11. This is my horoscope for today from "It's not too late to improve your daily routine, even if it's an upgrade you should have made much sooner. Today's Scorpio Solar Eclipse plants the seeds in your 6th House of Habits, indicating sudden changes that can set a series of profound consequences into motion. The potential is greater than you realize, so make every action count as much as possible while you have the planetary magic on your side."

12. Psalm 121: I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my help. Levavi Oculos in Latin. It's the motto of Hollins University, my alma mater. I've been putting it in my blog header for about two years and not once has anyone asked me about it. But that would be the answer to the question.

13. And speaking of Hollins, I just received a notice in my email that it's Tinker Day. Tinker Day is a day off from classes given each October; only the president of the university knows the date. The students find out about 7 a.m. that classes are cancelled. They dress up, perform skits, and climb to the top of Tinker Mountain, where they are served up fried chicken and Tinker cake trucked up by the college staff. The tradition dates back to the 1880s. Enjoy your day, young ladies. You are our best hope for tomorrow.

Tinker Mountain in the background

Thursday Thirteen is played by lots of people; there is a list here. I've been playing for a while and this is my 366th time to do a list of 13 on a Thursday.

from whence cometh my help.


  1. I adore that Hollins motto and always loved it -moles in my yard celebrating

  2. It's not just the loss of habitat, but animal species. I was reading an article last week or week before that said we have lost half of the world's wildlife in 40 years (1970-2010). Forty. Years! There was a more recent article about white rhinos, only six of which remain in the world, all in captivity.

    I also think it's a shame that the US has devalued its space program and NASA. There is still much to learn about our universe.

    My T13

  3. I think you did pretty well on those 13 things for Thursday! I am also sad about the loss of our space program, and I agree that the ACA (I am NOT shy about calling it by its nickname, though) is not working and never will. Something has to be done, but I'm not ready to turn my health care over to the federal government just yet. I'm one of those conservatives with some libertarian leanings. The smaller the federal government, the better, and responsibility for citizens should be given back to the states for much of what the feds have already screwed up and/or ruined.

  4. That Tinker Day tradition gave me goosebumps! I guess I love the spontaneous, unlikeliness and traditional together. I always feel accomplished when I can finish a TT after starting with NO IDEA! You made it interesting. I love the random stream of consciousness ones best because I learn so much.

  5. PS Moles have taken over our yard (not to mention having eaten much of our potato crop). We can't walk around without sinking into their mound holes. I don't know what to do about it!

  6. National Mole Day huh? I wonder what events and meals I should plan. :)

  7. oh number 3 had me laughing anita!

  8. The whole world had been changing ecosystems. It's unsettling to say the least.

    I also have a hard time coming up with 13 now and then. Luckily you don't seem to mind when I endlessly rehash my vacations. :)

  9. I love the idea of Tinker Day! And I'm thrilled you didn't have to decide if you could afford to save your husband's arm. He uses it almost every day and it keeps him from tipping to one side.

    We don't use the shutters unless we have B&B guests and I would hate to have someone show up unannounced when I am wandering about the house less than fully dressed. On the other hand, wasn't it Annie that said you're never fully dressed without a smile? So smile at them and saunter back to the bedroom!


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