“This gun control issue”

This gun ownership issue has been discussed to death!

There are enough guns out there for every man, women, and child in America.  I do believe in protecting my family and property and using guns for hunting.  I personally don’t have an issue with background checks. I also served in the military and am familiar with weapons. There cannot be this ALL  or NOTHING mentality when it comes to this extremest mindsets.

And living in St. Louis there is so much crime committed by very violent people.

LargestGunStudy091413

I strongly support the need of more policing of criminals with violent backgrounds and getting illegal guns off the street.  The police need to be able to get to these individuals and take these guns away. And yes, they can always find more and thus more policing of these criminals and weapons needs to be done.

Finding a middle ground regarding this issue always seems to be such a difficult task and I simply don’t see why.

 

Ok, off my soapbox.

I am hooked on Cavapoos

What a lovely mixed breed.  This one’s name is Smiles and he is available through Neels’ Complete K-9 (source)

I know my little Cavapoo has added so much joy into my life.  Cannot put a pricetag on that.

Dogs are certainly nothing like cats which I owned for 14 years.  One thing I love about Asa is every single day, when I come home, he is there to greet me with a wagging tale and kisses.

So, if you are seriously considering adopting check out this beautiful little guy…

PuppyFind.com,312675

PuppyFind.com,312675

PuppyFind.com,312675

PuppyFind.com,312675

PuppyFind.com,312675

PuppyFind.com,312675

Bad habits…eating without consequence

Americans are notoriously bad about their diets.

IF we weren’t, our health issues would not be news’ fodder.

We have, as a nation, high incidences of obesity, heart attacks, high cholesterol, strokes, and diabetes.

 

Poor choices leads to poor health.

Simple.

 

We are literally killing ourselves with our overindulgence and for some, poor food choices.

We also allow corporate America to dictate what we put into our bodies.  How many of us have watched a show (even late at night) and the tantalizing hamburger commercial (insert your own food weakness here) pops up…instant craving.

 

Some of the worst foods are also the cheapest, thanks to farm subsidies that artificially depress the price of corn, which is processed into a wide array of products. Even Americans who can physically access grocery stores that carry fresh and healthy food often can’t afford it. And with Congressional Republicans trying to cut $4bn from the Supplemental Assistance Nutrition Program (SNAP, also known as “food stamps”) which benefits the poorest Americans, the ability to pay a little more to buy vegetables and brown rice instead of frozen pizza – not to mention the time to prepare a wholesome meal – is simply out of reach for too many of us.

…[e]ven outside of low-income households, eating nutritiously can be a challenge. The explosion of chain restaurants has put many smaller places out of business, hurting local cultures and erasing eating traditions. The US is a big place, and McDonald’s is hardly the heart and soul of our food culture; but the more that TGI Friday’s replaces local haunts or makes their businesses unsustainable, the more homogenous our plates look. Chain restaurants have the added benefit of ordering enormous quantities of meal ingredients wholesale, which means they’re able to produce bigger portions for less money. Several centuries of large-scale immigration to the United States shaped our cultural identity as a land of plenty, and that ethos remains woven into our politics, our values and our eating habits. We gravitate toward these large-plate, low-cost restaurants because they hit a sweet spot in our cultural values: bigger, more, for less.

 

(source)

I am just as guilty. Heart Disease and diabetes runs on both sides of my family.  Because of my poor choices, I am now paying for it with my health.

It’s a wake up call. :(

I often chose to ignore it in the past but can no longer afford to do so.  Time for a change.  Time to grow up and face the music.  Time to make wiser decisions since this is the only life I have and I don’t plan on checking out any time soon…

The Winter Blues

winter-sunI’ve never fared well during the cold winter months here in the Midwest.

My brother was smart moving south to sunny Florida.  I prefer beautiful blue skies and 75 degree temps all year long. (But then, knowing myself, I’d miss the changing of the seasons)…so I tolerate the winters.

This winter has been a little off to say the least with flooding and warmer than usual temperatures.

When the last colorful leaf has fallen from the tree the predictable sadness seeps into my pores.  I can’t explain it. I just know the shorter days and bone chilling weather makes me feel hopelessly claustrophobic.

I dug around a little (the researcher in me) and found some useful info for those of us who dread the latter half of the year (I highlighted the ones which affect me the most):

Winter Blues / Seasonal Affective Disorder

What do the winter blues and SAD feel like?

  • Significant, lasting, downturn of mood
  • Apathy; loss of feelings
  • Irritability
  • Less energy
  • Fatigue
  • Boredom
  • Overeating; weight gain
  • Cravings for carbohydrates
  • Sleeping too much; difficulty waking up or staying awake
  • Less interest in being around other people
  • Less interest in activities one used to like

How are the winter blues different from clinical depression?

  • The winter blues are a subclinical (or mild) version of SAD
  • SAD is a clinical depression that occurs during the winter months
  • It dissipates during the spring and summer months
  • To be diagnosed as having SAD, rather than a first occurrence of depression, one must have a pattern of recurring depression during the winter months

How common is it?

  • Between 10-20% of Americans may suffer from mild symptoms associated with the winter blues
  • Seasonal affective disorder (or SAD) may affect 5% of the population
  • About 1% of people in Florida get SAD; about 10% of people in New Hampshire get SAD

Why do we get the winter blues?

  • SAD has been linked to a biochemical imbalance brought on by the shortening of daylight hours and a lack of sunlight in winter
  • Your mood is partly influenced by sunlight, melatonin, serotonin, and vitamin D (cholecalciferol)
    • Melatonin (sleep hormone) decreases when it is light
    • Serotonin (hormone associated with wakefulness and elevated mood) increases when it is light
    • Vitamin D helps the body maintain ↑ levels of serotonin during the winter
    • Light stimulates the production of cholecalciferol, which the body eventually transforms into vitamin D

More info can be found here source

I used to have a tanning bed membership and plan on going back, if only to combat these feelings.  I have felt better when I’ve used their services.  (Now to convince the husband of this logic)……

Bridge over a pond in the winter, Johannapark, Leipzig, Germany

Just a rant on medical insurance

This is my little gripe session for the day.

I pay each and every month a health insurance premium. And it isn’t cheap. Am grateful for the benefit and for having assistance through my employment.

However, answer this one for me?

Why is it that American healthcare is so damn expensive?

 

Case in point:  I have a coworker who is currently being treated for chemo…which runs into the thousands…for each treatment.

So what is it?

Only the fittest are to survive? To have money? Why must we pay out the nose for healthcare?

Unfortunately I was hospitalized twice this year.  I have the bills to prove it. And as each year I receive a paltry raise in salary my insurance premiums also go up.

Where is the relief??

On top of that I have other monthly bills that must be paid and figuring out what is the most important bill to pay first, can be a daunting task when you only have so much $$$ to spend.

Americans spend  BILLIONS of dollars each and every year for their health:

 

According to Money Magazine, American workers are struggling to keep up with current health care rates:

Workers now pay an average of $1,318 out of pocket before health insurance coverage begins to cover part of their bills, up from $584 a decade ago, according to a new report out from the Kaiser Family Foundation. That’s after paying an average of $89 each month for health insurance premiums.

This year, employees are really feeling the pinch because their health insurance costs are rising much more quickly than their wages, says Drew Altman, president of the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Monthly premiums have risen 24% since 2010, the Kaiser Family Foundation found. Even more troubling, deductibles—the set amount employees must pay with their own money before insurance kicks in—have increased 67% over the past five years. Wages, on the other hand, have grown only 10% during that same time period.

“If wages were keeping up with the growth in cost sharing, it wouldn’t be as big of a deal for people,” Altman says. “But the pain level is significant. It really affects family budgets.”

SOURCE

Americans are going bankrupt, losing their homes in order to pay for health care.

What is this?

A for profit business of course!


 

Learning to ride

HarleyChicks01

….I really want to.

  1. For myself because it’d be fun to feel free and have an awesome set of wheels like my husband and
  2. Because I know how happy it would make the babe feel.

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The only problem I have is am afraid of not mastering the bike.

At 47 I honestly feel it may take longer for me to learn a new trick.  Such as the old adage goes…and having the extra $$$ to buy a reasonably priced/decent bike.

If I were ever to be crazy lucky enough  to actually own such a beauty, it must be lightweight and closer to the ground (shorter distance for me to fall.)  :)

The St. Louis area has a vast array of options to choose.

If you live near or around the St. Louis area, the following websites contain information for beginning riders:

  1. Harley Davidson
  2. St. Louis Community College
  3. Motor Cycle Training Program
  4. Motor Cycle Training St. Charles Park & Recreation

Love to simply one of these days surprise my husband, make him proud that I CAN learn this…just have to get over any fears I have and simply go for it.

 

 

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If only Asa could have a brother

I love dogs.  And I certainly am in love with my Cavapoo Asa who is now a year old.

 

image image

I acquired him at Neel’s Complete K-9.

 

Today I found another little love on their website.

 

Received a work bonus.  If only I could convince the dear hubby to let me have him. How can anyone resist this little face????

 

image image image image image

(Pictures are by Neel’s, source)

New locality pay for St. Louis Federal Employees

Love-of-Money

Being one of them, this is overdue and welcomed news.

Years ago, when I was first hired on, St. Louis civil servants were separate from the “Rest of the United States” category.

For years we’ve been lumped into the one size fits all status quo.

According to the following article, looks like we will be seeing some positive changes and hopefully we will also receive more than the projected 1.3% paltry raise.

Does NOT keep up with inflation and previous rates were locked since 2010.

The new GS locality pay areas include:

  • Albany-Schenectady, NY
  • Albuquerque-Santa Fe-Las Vegas, N.M
  • Austin-Round Rock, TX
  • Charlotte-Concord, NC-SC.
  • Colorado Springs, CO
  • Davenport-Moline, IA-IL
  • Harrisburg-Lebanon, PA
  • Laredo, TX
  • Kansas City-Overland Park-Kansas City, MO-KS
  • Las Vegas-Henderson, NV-AZ
  • Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL
  • St. Louis-St. Charles-Farmington, MO-IL
  • Tucson-Nogales, AZ

Establishing 13 new locality pay areas will impact about 102,000 GS employees.  The regulations are effective November 27, 2015, after which time the 2016 federal salary rates for the new areas will be set by the president through an executive order. The regulations are applicable on the first day of the first pay period beginning on or after January 1, 2016.

source

 

2016 GS Pay Chart With 1% Increase over 2015 levels

Source

 

This chart does NOT include locality pay.