Hillary Clinton’s Pneumonia Scares the Hell Out of Me

What in the actual fuck is even happening right now?  How is it that intelligent, thoughtful people have managed to succumb to Steve Bannon and Trump’s….can you call it a whisper campaign if they’ve been screaming about it at the top of their lungs?….propaganda on Hillary Clinton’s “poor health”?  In a chimerical effort to distract everyone from Donald Trump’s joke of a letter, which reveals absolutely nothing about his actual health, from someone who is perhaps his doctor, the Trump campaign has been guffawing like an insufferable child who has won a game of “Made ya look!” after Hillary revealed on Sunday that she has pneumonia. Somehow, serious journalists lost their goddamn minds after Secretary Clinton left a 9/11 Memorial ceremony early, became dizzy, and lost her balance or fainted momentarily as she was getting in the car.  Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post made a hard 180 from, Okay, enough with the talking about Hillary Clinton’s health, to, Hillary Clinton’s health just became a real issue in the presidential campaign, just a few days later.  On Meet the Press, Tom Brokaw, in all his infinite wisdom and years of medical training asserted that Secretary Clinton should go to the hospital and see a neurologist to assuage people’s fears.

ABC even reported that she had died.  DIED!  ABC!  This wasn’t Breitbart or some fringe wackadoodle “news” site. I swear to god, it’s like the scene in Toy Story when Buzz Lightyear loses his goddamn mind. 

 Rather than apply Occam’s razor and, you know, common sense, mainstream media and regular people have allowed conspiracy theory to take the place of reason.  Rather than accepting that fainting and getting dizzy is something that plenty of people do when they’re overheated and dehydrated, because she’s Hillary Clinton, something more sinister must be at work, like brain damage or Parkinson’s.  Rather than giving Secretary Clinton some time, space, and privacy to be evaluated by her doctor before releasing a statement, everyone foamed at the mouth to know what was going on because they had the patience of a 5 year old who had snorted lines of Pixie Stix.  A doctor evaluated her and issued a letter.  Secretary Clinton has pneumonia, she became dehydrated, and she just needs to rest.  So, reality: Clinton has a fairly common illness, from which she will recover.  In addition, she has been continuing to campaign, despite her illness, which is incredibly badass.  What everyone else hears: ZOMG!  Pneumonia!  She’s dying!  How can she be president if she can come down with an illness like pneumonia!  This feeble female can’t continue, so she’s using a body double!  You can tell by scrutinizing her body!

Misogyny, with a side of presidential campaign

Andrew Jackson had chronic headaches, was losing his eyesight, and had bleeding in his lungs.  Grover Cleveland had a cancerous growth removed from his mouth as he sailed around New York Harbor in a yacht.  Because of his obesity, William Taft had high blood pressure and heart problems.  The exhaustion he suffered because of his sleep apnea sometimes caused him to sleep through important meetings.  Woodrow Wilson suffered so many strokes that he became blind in his left eye and paralyzed on his left side.  He also kept this a secret for as long as he could before the 25th Amendment was invoked. FDR had polio.  He also had cardiovascular disease, which he knew about when he ran for reelection in 1944, and which caused his death just months into his fourth term.  Eisenhower was diagnosed with Chron’s disease in office.  He also suffered a major heart attack and a stroke while in office.   JFK flat out lied during his campaign that he had Addison’s disease.  Of course he did have the disease of the adrenal glands.  In an adrenal crisis, it would have been possible for him to lose consciousness.  Ronald Reagan, the Republican gold standard, led our country while his mind fell victim to Alzheimer’s.  George H.W. Bush had Grave’s disease, but more importantly, atrial fibrillation.  This sort of irregular heartbeat made him susceptible to blood clots and stroke.  Then there was the incident that happened in Kyoto, Japan, which everyone laughs about now, but was very scary in the moment.  W passed out while choking on a pretzel.

These men lived and were confronted with some serious health challenges, and some that were not so serious.  The incident that President George H.W. Bush had in Japan is so similar to Secretary Clinton’s episode on Sunday.  Although, while he just had the flu, was okay, and was just fine to continue leading our country, it’s actually the ghost of Hillary Clinton who’s been campaigning this whole time!

The bottom line is that this wouldn’t be that serious of an issue if Hillary was not a woman.  She would have been allowed 5 minutes of privacy to get her shit together.  At this point, I imagine the press will want to know every time she does have a shit.  Presidential candidates should certainly disclose to the public any ongoing health concerns, which could interfere with their ability to do the job.  Secretary Clinton has done that, yet she’s being held to a higher standard.  Why?  “Well, she’s not trustworthy, so you can’t believe anything her campaign puts out.”  Okay, putting aside the fact that you’ve obviously been suckered by Congressional Republicans in the 90s, it’s not as though Donald Trump is the portrait of integrity, (that he bought with $20K earmarked for charity) and has provided satisfactory disclosure on his actual health.  The reality that Hillary and every woman knows is that we are not allowed to be sick.  If we are sick, then we are weak, a hypochondriac, or an attention-seeker.  It’s a known fact that doctors frequently discriminate against women and treat them as though they are overreacting.  And think about this: have you ever found out that a man is staying home for a sick day, and the first thing you or someone else says is, “Wow!  He must really be sick!”  However, if a woman calls out, there’s murmuring about what she’s actually doing with her “sick” day.  And lord help you if you’re a woman with a chronic illness.  So we as a society already treat sick women with disdain and suspicion.  I actually had a man say to me yesterday that Clinton isn’t a badass for campaigning while sick with pneumonia for the following reasons: 1) Hitler had siphylis, and 2) While he maybe admitted to her toughness, true badassery is reserved for people like Chuck Norris.  Any woman who can’t push through, or avoid getting sick altogether, is weak and not fit to lead.  Trump’s campaign has been sure to keep all those negative feelings and stereotypes at the surface, hoping that it would pay off.  On Sunday, they hit the jackpot.

My 8 year old daughter, Rachael, can understand how unbelievably gross this and all the other sexism at play is.  Why is it so hard for the media, especially the left-wing opinon media, to eschew all the conjecture and the idea that having pneumonia really does call into question whether or not Secretary Clinton is otherwise healthy?  Clinton is met with scorn, should she not allow the press to follow her, making it crystal clear that Secretary Clinton has no right to her own body, the space around it, and any privacy at all.  Meanwhile, it’s totally cool that Trump gave the press the slip so he could go have another “medical evaluation”, which he will discuss on “Dr.” Oz.    It makes me physically hurt and shake with anger when people are able to see the yellow journalism, identify the sexism, and admit the double standard, but they just shrug and say it’s okay because Hillary.  We really are a bunch of pudding brains.

naioo8ok

I am absolutely livid with the level of political discourse in our country right now.  As a woman, I take all of this personally and am offended.  And fuck off; no I will not calm down!  We have reached a point in our country’s history which will define the soul of our nation for many years to come.  Frankly, I am terrified, now, that Trump will win, no matter how many news stories and opinion pieces I share on Facebook to a group of generally like-minded people.  I am terrified that Donald Trump will take the oath of office in January, all because Hillary Clinton happened to catch pneumonia.

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And….They’re Off!

   

Our school year has finally begun!  And not a moment too soon, I think.  I had a difficult time doing much of anything this summer for some reason.  Mike had a hard time picking up the slack because he was under extreme stress from work and worry for the health of his parents.  So the girls had a massively high level of cabin fever and were ready to be among their own people, having recess and music, art and STEAM.  Even if it meant homework and getting up early on purpose.  
 

Our geeklet

Rachael is in 3rd grade, which is insane, and I refuse to accept it.  She’s approaching tweendom, with the rolling of the eyes, the annoyed attitude, and the noticing of boys.  After Back to School Night and Open House, I was a bit concerned over whether Rachael would have a good year.  And by a bit concerned, I mean I was kind of panicking and burst into an ugly cry after we got the girls into bed that night.  I had heard that third grade was a big jump from second grade, but after her teacher’s presentation all I could think was, Oh my god!  This is where the magic of learning comes to die.  I was also completely turned off when her teacher announced that there was no excuse for failing to complete the homework for each night.  After all, if she can teach all day and take classes at night to earn her doctorate, then our families are certainly able to ensure that our children complete their homework.  Look, I don’t have a problem with insisting on homework completion; that’s not the issue here.  Her seemingly myopic view of reality, in which she seemed to preemptively take offense at the notion that we all don’t have our shit together, (because she has hers together) just gets my back up.  Believe it or not, it is actually rather hard to squeeze in time for homework when you only have four hours to do a combination of the following: have a snack and recover from your day; spend time in time out for rolling eyes at mom/talking and/or screaming back; any after-school clubs and activities; dance class; dinner; chores; parents can’t help you read a word in your homework because your younger sister is having a complete meltdown; shower; read before bed.  But, I’m trying to let it go, (obviously, because I’m blogging about it) and hope that this is just a case of a not so great first impression.  Rachael seems to really like her. Also, they’re going to be studying rocks and soil this year, which is totally in Rachael’s wheelhouse, especially after just having gone to geology camp a couple of weeks ago.

I also hope that Rachael will work at establishing some more friendships this year.  Rachael is such a shy introvert that, prior to this year, she’s really only put her time and effort into her one best friend.  Unfortunately, her best friend is going to the gifted and talented elementary school this year.  Rachael will still see and play with her, as they just live around the corner.  She complained last year of feeling lonely.  I have explained to her over and over again that it’s fine to be an introvert, but if you want someone to be friends and want to play with you, you have to put in the effort now.  You actually have to speak to people and try to engage with them.  I asked her if she played with anyone at recess yesterday.  She said no, she did her own thing.  “But, I talked with people at lunch and at my table in class.  Happy?”  This morning, I introduced her to the older brother of Zoë’s new kindergarten best friend.  He is also in third grade, and doesn’t know many people because he has been homeschooled prior to this year.  I figured, he needs a new friend, she needs a new friend, win win win.  Right?  Guys, if the scowls little girls give could kill, I wouldn’t be typing this.  

A little anxious, but ready to go!

In the days leading up to the first day of school, I had never seen Zoë so anxious about anything.  Maybe because it was one of the few times when she managed to put her fears into words, rather than simply acting out.  Oddly enough, she was really focused on worry over not being able to operate the computers and their programs correctly.  I think she felt a bit of relief once we met her teachers and saw her classroom.  Fun fact: although she has a teacher who is new to the school, it’s the same classroom Rachael was in for kindergarten and the same assistant teacher!  I’m thankful for the teacher Zoë has.  She’s been teaching for 20 years, holds degrees in both general and special education, and has four children of her own.  So, just like the Femputer on Futurama, she know what do.  There will be an additional special education teacher in the room to assist Zoë.  While Zoë is fine, academically, for kindergarten, she does have an IEP for ADHD and the social behavioral issues which stem from that disorder.  So we feel like she’s in really good hands and feel good about our decision to send her on to kindergarten.

It was exciting on Back to School Night to find out that a friend from Zoë’s preschool class would be in her class this year!  Zoë was also introduced to another little girl by her teacher that night who, lo and behold, we found at our bus stop yesterday!  They were so excited to see each other!  I know it made Zoë’s apprehensiveness, with regard to riding the bus, lower just a bit.  Once the bus came, Zoë knew the drill and dutifully walked toward the bus steps.  I practically had to grab her in order to kiss her goodbye because she was so focused on her mission.  At the bottom of the steps, she paused and looked up at the driver hesitantly.  With some gentle encouragement from the driver, Zoë almost literally climbed those huge bus steps.  Mike and I watched Zoë and her friend as they tried to figure out where they should sit, finally settling on the seat behind the driver.  And, in all the chaos and focusing on Zoë, Mike and I failed as parents and accidentally didn’t say goodbye to Rachael.  I made sure to give her extra hugs and attention when they got home.

Zoë was exhausted when she came home.  She had had a great first day of kindergarten!  She was terribly excited to have gone to the library and checked out her first book, Silverlicious.  (Okay, I like the Pinkalicious series, but can we all agree that Pinkalicious is a giant brat, and it’s probably because her parents never seem to punish her for bad behavior?)  The class took a tour of the school, under the pretense of looking for the mouse from, If You Bring a Mouse to School.  Zoë giggled as she showed me the movements they learned during the movement activities her class did, forming a potato with her arms over her head, and then peeling the potato one arm at a time.  She made a fish tail with her hands on her lower back and wiggled her toush, demonstrating how the students maintain their personal space in line.  As Zoë chattered on and on about the things they did at school, her new best friend from class and the bus stop, and how she wanted to make a pretend school classroom of her own, it was clear that her anxiety about kindergarten had been dropped on the ground and left behind.  After all, she had better things to do.

Mike told them to make a silly face.

It’s a Major Award!

The postage for this will be ridiculous!


Last night, Mike’s company, LMI, held their annual trivia competition, LMIQ.  The teams who take 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place are awarded a donation from LMI to the charity of their choice. 
This year, I asked Mike and his team, 404- Team Name Not Found, to play for the National Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Association.  Led by president, Jan Chambers, (who is a lovely woman I’ve been very fortunate to meet) this organization provides information, resources, and community to people who live with fibromyalgia and other chronic pain health problems.  Beyond that, President Chambers confronts pain on a public policy level, in both state and national legislatures. She lobbies for money and attention to be paid toward fibromyalgia and chronic pain research. When the CDC allowed 100 days for public comment on the new opioid medication guidelines, the NFMCPA made sure our voices were heard. They are also working hard to make sure that we aren’t lost in the shuffle and negatively affected as Congress attempts to fix the heroin epidemic.  NFMCPA is petitioning the White House to have the Department of Health & Human Services implement a National Pain Strategy. And now that I’m checking on it, we only have 9 days left to get 80,000 signatures for the White House to respond to the petition. GET ON IT, PEOPLE!  Ahem. I mean, please sign it, won’t you?  

So, I’m quite pleased to announce that Mike’s team was able to secure 3rd place and win $1,000 for the NFMCPA!  Many thanks to LMI for their generosity!  

Thanks to Mike for storing random Latin language and history in his brain so that he was able to pull “Punic Wars” out of thin air!  Thanks to Holly for owning a clowder of cats!

Checking In

I realized my last post was a month ago, so I thought I had better check in so I didn’t lose your interest to a blog with a post this month about knitting your own clothes from dryer lint. (I know I can’t compete with blogs like Gwyneth Paltow’s Goop and learning to get in touch with your inner baby spirit guide by mixing your tears with organic, single-sourced kamboucha. That shit’s just on another level of realness.) 

Since I last posted, I’ve had what feels like a ton of meetings with special education for our county to get an IEP, (individualized education plan) for Zoë so she can begin kindergarten in the fall. First, we had the meeting to determine if she’s eligible to be evaluated if she’s eligible for services. Then they evaluated her to determine if she’s eligible to be evaluated. She was eligible, so they evaluated her. Then we had the meeting to go over their findings and under which criteria they would try to make a case for her to be eligible for services. Then we had the meeting saying, Congratulations! You’re eligible for services! And next week, we’ll have a meeting to make Zoë’s IEP and which services to include in it. Phew! I’m out of breath just typing that. In addition, we had Zoë tested privately. The results came back with ADHD, combined inattentive and hyperactive type, (to which we and anyone who knows Zoë said, Duh!) ODD- oppositional defiant disorder, which we weren’t totally surprised by, and the need to rule in/out an additional mood disorder. So that’s a lot to take in. It’s one thing to know it for yourself, but another to have it confirmed. And I swear to god, the first person to suggest that I just try and fix it by modifying her diet will be cunt punted into a locked room with Zoë for a week. 

I made myself pretty. Then I made my bedroom walls pretty. For the third time. This week.


I finally bit the bullet and had a sleep study done so they can diagnose the sleep apnea I don’t have. 

It’s pretty amazing that I slept wonderfully well with all this equipment on. And if you believe that, I’ve got a bridge to sell ya. 

We also had our week at the beach. For some reason, it was kill Julie week. The sunscreen we brought didn’t work two days in a row on my shoulders, so I ended up with a super sexy second degree burn. 

I was also assaulted by our umbrella on the last day we sat down on the beach. It was incredibly windy and Mike was having a difficult time getting the umbrella to remain anchored. I didn’t even see it coming; I was futzing around with the camera when, all of a sudden, SMACK! Right in the forehead with the heavy wooden stake. Fortunately, a few guys rescued the umbrella while others checked on me and gave me ice for my head. 

I’ll end the post with the obligatory spamming of pictures of my children at the beach. The thing that had Mike and me in giggle fits, and what I’ll always remember about this trip, was the girls pretending to be ninjas, taking on the ocean. Little sister, always wanting to do what big sister does, followed Rachael’s lead. They twirled, kicked, jumped, and chopped with sisterly synchronicity. I’m pretty sure my favorite move was the funky chicken. 

My Friend is Fighting for Her Life


My friend, Megan, is fighting against MS for her life.  She has an opportunity to receive HSCT, but because the treatment is still in the trial stage in the US, she has to pay for the entire treatment out of pocket. A whopping $70,000 for treatment and aftercare for herself and her family is what she needs to raise by November. Will you please help her fight and live?

Meg’s HSCT Journey

HelpHopeLive organization helping Megan raise money

Enough Isn’t Enough


The thing that makes me feel sad, frustrated, helpless, and full of rage whenever I see memes or statuses that say “enough” is that that I know nothing will change after this mass shooting.  Even though so many are dead and wounded after the mass shooting in Orlando, FL, it still won’t be enough to make Congress, the NRA, and a large portion of gun rights advocates to agree to common sense gun control laws. Quite the contrary, the groups mentioned will double down and cling to their guns with sweaty palms and declare the tropes which lead us back to this place time and again.  Much like someone with narcissistic personality disorder, every one and everything else is the source of the problem. 

It is clear that the lives of others don’t matter. As I said before, if you put your right to have guns before the lives of others, you have some fucked up priorities. Unless something like this actually affects the people in power personally, nothing will change. Their hashtag should be #mylifematters  I plan on writing to my representatives in Congress, and I urge you all do to the same, even though I don’t expect it to make a difference.  At least we can say we tried.  It’s time to stop being complacent. It’s time to stop being “reasonable”.  It’s time to stop being polite. 

I Feel the Heartburn

2016 has had the most bizarre and fucked up election cycle I’ve ever seen.  My fellow Americans and I have had an unusual amount of anxiety over this election, particularly over Donald Trump, to the point where therapists have seen an uptick in their appointments, specifically because of election-induced stress. I didn’t plan on voting Republican this year, but I at least like the other candidate to be a competent choice and not of complete moral turpitude.  So I’ve gone through the stages of grief as I’ve watched the Republican party self-immolate this primary season: Denial; Schadenfreude; Rage laughing; Anxiety; Stress wining; Depression; finally Acceptance.  So now a circus peanut with candy floss hair is the de facto Reoublican nominee, and I’m scared shitless.

 

Image via NPR

 
Picking my candidate
When I first heard the things Bernie Sanders had to say, it felt like such a relief!  Thank goodness, someone gets it!  He preached the gospel of family leave and equal pay for women.  He drove home the reality of our country’s economic inequality.  He wouldn’t let us forget how far behind other similarly developed countries we are on education and healthcare.  Unfortunately, the more I listened to him talk, the more I realized he wasn’t my guy.  His message was inspirational, but his policy initiatives weren’t exactly what I wanted and they didn’t seem very plausible, especially in the current political climate.  Even if I wanted a single payer healthcare system run by the government, (which I don’t. They can’t even run the VA well.  Why would I want them to administer my healthcare?) how would Sanders even get that passed in Congress?  Let’s even assume that the Dems take back the House and the Senate in 2016.  There are likely to be plenty of Blue Dog Democrats who wouldn’t fall in line on this.  It was hard enough getting Obamacare.  America’s not ready and willing to slog through another complete healthcare overhaul.  

I watched almost all of the primary debates, on both sides.  As I watched more of the Democratic debates, I kept yelling at the tv, “Super!  How do you plan on doing that?  What’s your plan B if you can’t close all the tax loopholes for the 1%?”  The two biggest red flags for me were as follows:

1) During the CNN debate, when asked about specifics in foreign policy, Sanders looked like a deer caught in headlights. It was aggravating to watch as Anderson Cooper asked straightforward questions, Sanders couldn’t answer them, and then pivoted back to the only foreign policy message he had- Hillary voted for Iraq.  War is bad.  

2) The interview Sanders had with the New York Daily News Editorial Board revealed that he didn’t actually know the legal process by which he could dismantle the big banks, something I feel like you should probably know if you’re going to promise to do that.

These two instances confirmed for me what I had wondered about his campaign promises and whether he could actually make good on them.  To me, they revealed that, no, he doesn’t actually know.  He has no fucking idea.  

I’m with Her

 

Image via the Clinton campaign

 
Hillary Clinton isn’t a perfect human being.  I can even understand why people don’t like her.  She isn’t always consistent.  Sometimes she does bend the truth or lie, depending on her audience.  (Yes, I’ve seen the Anonymous video of her lying for 12 minutes.  I’ll accept it when it’s objective and not pure anti-Hillary garbage.)  Republicans do always seem to be investigating her, even though they can never seem to turn up anything legitimate with which to charge her.  And she doesn’t necessarily give people the warm fuzzy, hopey changey, glowy feeling that we all got in 2008.  Whether anyone realizes it or not, I’m sure a good deal of the animosity toward her stems from the Republican’s hatred of the Clintons in the 90s.  As much as people hated Bill for being unable to keep his cigars in their boxes, they couldn’t stand a First Lady who wouldn’t just sit down, shut up, and review the seating chart for the State Dinner for the British Prime Minister, like a good little First Lady should.  I’ve also heard plenty of people holding Hillary accountable for Bill’s personal and political mistakes.  Let’s not fault her for the things her husband did, nor, without investigation, the things he asked her to lobby for on behalf of the administration.  And for fuck sake, stop calling her evil.  She’s not evil.  Get your head out of your ass.  

Hillary has the experience in government and the competence to be President.  Even people who don’t like her will admit that.  I believe her policies and how she plans to implement them are more in line with what America can handle.  After all, she’ll be President of all Americans, not just the ones on the far right or left.  Hillary’s agenda is in line with my priorities: economic equality and opportunity; equality for women in pay, healthcare, and life in general; criminal justice reform; gun control; immigration; education; foreign policy/diplomacy first, but not afraid to use our military.  

Speak
I’ve generally kept my mouth shut up until now because most of my friends feel the Bern.  And that’s fine.  I don’t agree with everything, but I respect that choice.  I would occasionally ask questions or push back if I genuinely didn’t understand something someone said or posted, otherwise I felt it was best to stick to common ground and trash Drumpf.  But now that Trump is the Republican nominee, I can’t keep it in anymore.  I don’t understand the Bernie people who won’t vote for Hillary in the general election, just to keep Trump out of office.  If Bernie somehow ends up with the nomination, fair and square, I’d vote for him in the general.  In any other election, I could understand and respect the “voting my conscience” principle.  But not this time.  Trump isn’t just some jackass who would make things suck and laughable for awhile.  Trump would put our economy in danger, ($10 says markets around the world plummet the day he’s elected.)  He would put our safety and the safety of our allies at risk.  His election would tell the world that it’s just fine to denigrate women, other religions, other races, the disabled, and anyone else who gets in the way.  He has already fanned the flames of race wars and encouraged violence as a way to solve differences.  For fuck sake, he’s hired Paul Manfort as one of his key strategists.  Paul Manafort is the guy who genocidal dictators have hired to help improve their image.  Trump, who is supposedly so wonderful because he’s been self-financing, (which isn’t technically true) has hired Steven Mnuchin as his National Campaign Finance Chair.  You may better know this “gentleman” as one of the investors who bought Indymac Bank when it collapsed, paid virtually nothing for it, got the federal government to continue shouldering the responsibility for the bank’s losses, and then made billions in the following years from the restructured bank.  Oh, and did I mention that they still foreclosed on thousands of people’s homes?  Jesse Benton, the man who was running the Trump super PAC, Great America, was convicted yesterday on several counts of fraud from when he worked on the Ron Paul campaign in 2012.  Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, thinks it’s totally cool to physically assault female reporters.  So….these are the sort of people Trump surrounds himself with.  How does that not scare the shit out of you?   Not to mention all the insane, let’s call them policy proposals, for lack of a better term.  I’ve heard people say, “He doesn’t mean what he says.  When he says build a wall and make Mexico pay for it, he really means he just wants to implement some mild tax cuts and tweak portions of our trade agreement.”  Denial!  Denial with a massive amount of projection of their own policy ideas.  I guess it’s okay, though.  Denial is only the first stage.  I’d be happy to recommend some wines once you get to the stress wining stage.