Chop wood, carry water

The Partner is doing the chopping; I did the water carrying.  Soon, we have to go down off the hill, which I figured costs us a minimum of $5 in gas each time, because our phone is out of order and there isn’t any cel reception up here to speak of.  It’s all in the exhausting nature of life here which does have the effect of keeping one FLEXIBLE.  Gumby-esque, you might say.  I had things planned for Monday, for example, but now I have to be here all day waiting for the Phone Company to show up.  So that means I need to do something else on my list Monday.  Which means the errands I had planned for Tuesday need partly to be done today.  And so on.  We couldn’t do laundry while the sun was out because….hahahaha!!! there wasn’t any water.  And so on.

The Business Issues continue but with my new Carefree, Relaxed Attitude, do I care that I have orders to get out that are waiting for the New Size Jars since these are all custom things?  And that the label issue, much as I tried to do an end run around it, required certain large purchases to be made.   At least we got a “free” shredder thrown in. ( It says “LIGHT DUTY” on it; the Partner asked what that meant, and I figure it means this shredder is not for corporate use, right? ) However and, with my excellent New Design and Brain Consulting Staff, I think that while there will certainly be lots of cursing and stepping on the Screaming Doormat (which last uttered a spontaneous and un-stepped upon scream as we were walking out into the eclipse to drive to the Christmas Fair), ultimately it will all be better.

It finally snowed in the mountains and at last, there is snow on both Lassen and Shasta which glows spectacularly in the sunsets.  The other mountains had snow, and were wreathed in fog and clouds which gave them the appearance of floating, until the snow largely melted.  The frogs are coming out to sing, and the gray squirrel was out front this morning, first facing us eating an acorn so that his white stomach glowed like a beacon.  Then he turned around and we watched his little head and ears as he padded around foraging.  The manzanitas are blooming, too- the pink ones always come out first.

You could almost think everything is alright.  But in the words of the songwriter Tod Snyder, everything is not alright.  As in the song I heard, wherein he described being about to crash his car.

I spent a whole day last week with a friend, going to the doctor first and then to the lab where in theory lab tests were to be done.  The high point was seeing the miniature donkeys on the way home, besides getting to hang out with my friend of course.  The low point?  All the rest of it.

WHICH.  We will summarize because really?  I’m starting to see how things really are intimately connected even though the Average Citizen is doing their darndest not to see it.  And it’s really exhausting.  But the medical establishment in the country?  The war on drugs?  The prison system which has been privatized?  All connected.  Directly.  And it is all about profit, Gentle Reader, not to put too fine a point on it.  We were told, point blank, that surgeons in particular and physicians in general in this area will not take on patients who do not have health insurance.  Because why?  Because their insurance carriers have determined that people who don’t have insurance and pay cash are more likely to file malpractice suits.  A get rich quick scheme we were told.  Which told me off the top that nobody knows their right from their left here.   Lawsuits are no longer “quick” in this state with the budget cuts to the courts.  There are caps on malpractice settlements.  Then we were told that these same individuals (lowlifes was the implication) were “no better off financially twelve months later” than they were before because they “can’t manage money”.   Apart from the fact that if they did manage to get a settlement, a pretty large portion of it would go to their attorney.  And to taxes.  But, hey!  It’s all about money management, right?  So, if you don’t have insurance FOR WHATEVER REASON?  and you get sick?  Sayonara, where’s the airport.  Also, if you refuse the Pharma Platter suggested to you, no further assistance will be rendered.  If they think you’re too sick to benefit from said Pharma Platter, even if you have insurance, you’ll be let die- and I personally witnessed this with a client.  It blew my mind, really.  I was shocked that in a society where many people seem to think abortion is wrong, adults are let die because….because,  it seems, they are no longer profitable.  So, in essence, the insurance and pharmaceutical industries control the sort of medical and health care you get in this country.

The war on drugs? Links directly to the Prison issue, and they both go directly to: Profits for Corporations, Pharmaceutical, and now, “Corrections”.  People can be as loaded as all get out on vicodin, xanax, oxycontin, whatever their doctor will prescribe.  But smoke marijuana and you’re in the slammer for a long time.  You are depriving Pharma of their due profits, after all.  So then you go to prison, and the prisons? Are largely for profit corporate entities now.  The simple math:  More prisoners mean more money coming in.  Fewer services for those prisoners means the more money can be turned into profit instead of used for the betterment of society by educating prisoners and helping them improve their lives.  I mean, really.  Explain to me how you can throw somebody in jail for ten years and they come out worse than when they went in.  Plus they can’t: vote, rent a place to live, get a job.  And for extra fun they’ve got a mountain of debt for their jail term.  Nelson Mandela got a huge bill from the South African government for his term of incarceration, and so do many of the spider web tattooed guys you see on the street from time to time.  It becomes a revolving door situation: There’s nothing for them to do on the outside and they’re money makers on the inside.  Adam Gopnick has written an excellent article in the January 30 issue of THE NEW YORKER on the subject of prisons, and it is something everyone should read.  We have, apparently, more people in prison than were in Stalin’s gulags.  The racial composition of prisons is another, sickening, subject.  And the War on Drugs, which when you look at it goes pretty much directly back to not only the Pharmaceutical industry which militates against anything they aren’t selling themselves,  but also the endemic corruption in law enforcement (they can get money for broad swathes of drug arrests, for example).

So, as much as we’d all like to deny that we’re sitting on top of a mountain of excrement which is about to sink under it’s own nasty weight, it’s still the actual case.  It doesn’t seem like it would be all that difficult to undo either….but that would mean a restructuring of things and profit would have to go, as it is currently understood and manifested.  Surplus ? To be used consciously to improve whatever the purpose of the initial means of production?  A more workable concept.  (the Partner, again.)

We’ll be back to recipes next time I think.  All this tough sledding has made me cook like a maniac.

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