Health Care in America

March 22, 2010

I have believed for some time now, that health care in this country has been an issue overlooked. I know it's an issue that causes much controversy and distress for many people, but I also think that over time, it will be a positive change for many, many, many lives.  I know a few other women who have had their share of health issues and insurance woes.  By no means does my story even remotely compare, but here it is:

In 2001, I developed a strange rash on my legs that, over a period of 5 or 6 months, continually got worse and started spreading to my torso, arms, and, at one point, my face and head.  Thankfully, although I was going to school at the time, my parent's insurance continued coverage on dependents through the age of 25.  I had insurance, I had access to doctors both at the University and through my parent's insurance that were good, and I (well, more like my parents) was able to afford the numerous appointments that I made during this period to try to figure out what was going on.  After almost 6 months, I finally got a diagnosis for both the rash (vasculitis) and an autoimmune illness (lupus, which my mom also had).  Thankfully, after receiving the diagnosis, I found a really great rheumatologist and began treatment that caused the rash to go away and solved a number of other ailments that I had (which had been caused by lupus).

Over the last 9 years of living with this illness, I am so lucky to have a very mild version of if.  I have had no organ involvement, and only deal with ongoing joint pain and fatigue which I have learned to live and control. Nevertheless, at the age of 25, after being hired at a small firm, I found myself in a panic because I was on the verge of being without health insurance.  My parent's insurance would no longer cover me, my company, because of it's size, did not offer group insurance (although if it would have, I probably would not have qualified- simply because the pool would have been too small), and I could find NO individual insurance policy that would accept me.  Even though I had little health problems, because I had received a diagnosis of a pre-exisisting condition, no one would qualify me for health insurance.  It was very stressful to go through this realization, and ironically, stress is a contributing factor to how lupus affects me (stress = pain & fatigue).  I wondered why someone with health issues, who is already probably suffering in more ways than one, would be forced to go through such a stressful ordeal.

Finally, after coming to the conclusion that 1) I had a pre-existing condition and 2) I could not qualify for insurance I learned that my only option was to go on COBRA insurance for 18 months and then, when that ran out, I would be able to get on Texas Risk Pool insurance (although I've heard that once you go on that, you can't get on normal health insurance again, even if it's group- this may or may not be true).  Again, I was thankful that I was in a position that I could actually afford the high monthly insurance payment ($500- almost as much as my apartment rental payment).  I was on COBRA for almost 12 months, at which time I moved in with my soon-to-be fiance/now husband and, luckily, I was able to get on his insurance as a domestic partner.

So many aspects of my story are really just luck.  I am lucky that I was diagnosed with lupus relatively early- sometimes a diagnosis can take years.  I am lucky that I have a stable, well paying job.  I am lucky that my husband works at a large company with group insurance.  I am lucky that my illness has been in check for the most part and I have not needed serious treatment and can continue to work.  I am lucky that I have a good selection of doctors and a wonderful rheumatolgist that my insurance covers.  Many people are not so lucky, and those are the ones who will hopefully benefit the most from this new plan.

Music Wednesday

March 17, 2010

In honor of the first official day of the SXSW music festival in Austin, I thought I would share some tunes that I'm loving right now:

Happy Listening!!


Weekend Shopping @ Target

March 16, 2010

Like many of you, I'm sure, I headed out bright and early (um, is 8:30 too early?) on Sunday morning to my nearest Target to scope out the new line of products Liberty has launched.  Unfortunately, the Target closest to me was SERIOUSLY slacking, and a few items (pillows and dining items) were not yet out when I arrived.  I really wanted a set of this set of prep bowls:

It seems they have now either a) sold out or b) (hopefully) have not yet been stocked at the Target locations in my area.  (Insert sad face here)  I'm really hoping they will restock the Liberty products because when I went to Target on Monday (a mere 24 hours after the launch and yes I went to Target two days in a row) many items in addition to the above bowl set were already gone.

Two items I did snatch up a few items.  One of which was this shirt:

OMG the material feels so. good.  It also has a key hole in the front which I wasn't too keen on, but just for grins I tried it on with the hole to the back and I think it looks 100% better.  So, yes, I will probably be wearing the shirt backwards. :)

The other was this scarf/wrap...

...which I have no intention of wearing.  I was just really loving the pattern:

The wrap actually provides a good amount of fabric to work with, so I think there is probably enough yardage for a few throw pillows and maybe a bag of some sort.  We shall see if I'm actually brave enough to cut into this (much) cheaper Liberty print.

Did you shop Liberty this weekend?  What did you think of their products for Target?


Mini Treats

March 11, 2010

I came this site today via Natalie's blog.  How genius is this idea:  pies in mini canning jars?  Yes please!

They are so dainty and look really easy to make.  If you wanted to simplify even more, you could just use ready-made pie crusts and canned fruit fillings instead of making them from scratch. 

The best part?  You can make them ahead of time and freeze them!  Canning jars were meant to be easily
stacked and stored.

Once you're ready to serve them, just take them out of the freezer, pop them in the oven(canning jars are made to handle high temperatures), and an hour later, they'll be warm and ready to eat!

How cute would these be at your next dinner party, shower, or even wedding?

Fabric and Sewing Withdrawl

March 3, 2010

The good news?  We've finally put the house on the market.. as of yesterday!  I seriously had no idea that doing so would be so. incredibly. time consuming.  And stressful.

The bad news?  I've had to declutter my craft room so that it looks appealing to buyers.  Thus, my entire stash of fabric.. er, this one-

has gone into temporary storage (insert sad face here).   I'm also in the process of disassembling my sewing table and packing my machine away for the time being, *sigh*.

I have also promised myself that I will not buy invest in any more fabric until I make good use of the quantity I already have.  Although, this could also do with the fact that I'm actually running out of room to store the fabric, but whatever :)..... 

So in the mean time, with one quilt completed and in the hands of it's owner (Baby Hailey who arrived Monday!!!), I'm going to spend the next few weeks brainstorming and organizing some ideas for future sewing projects (including quilts). Oh, and I promise I will try my best to post pictures of the completed baby quilt some time within the next week.

One of the first (of many) projects that has been swimming around in my head is the Wedding Wheel Quilt that I'm planning to make from the left over fabric napkins I made for our wedding:

While browsing through flickr, I also came across these quilts I'd like to try:

I'm also scrambling to finish up this dress before my sewing machine gets packed away.  I just need to finish the neck line (with a bit of tweeking) and hem!

Depending on how much I like the style once I'm finished, I may want to make a few more of these.  Have I mentioned how much I love dresses with pockets?

I also picked up these patterns (also Simplicity) when JoAnns had there 5 for $5 sale a couple of weeks ago.  I'm on the look out for the fabric that I want to use for these patterns (so I guess my fabric ban will only pertain to non-clothing related purchases, hehe).

I'm hoping the next month will be filled with lovely, fair-weathered, spring days that can be spent enjoying the outdoors so that my sewing withdrawl doesn't become too overwhelming!