Friday, January 22, 2010

Health Care in America

To say it is a dilemma is an understatement. My dad went without health insurance for many years when he owned his own ski shop, when he was employed as a Sporting Goods Rep and when he worked for other small businesses. Both my parents who are divorced from each other, are now are medicare eligible and are enrolled. My sister, a Culinary Institute of America Graduate and trained chef finally purchased her own insurance last year at age 46. My mom was covered by her employer, a division of McKesson up until her retirement. I've worked for major corporations for years and have always been covered, short of a 1.5 year stint 20 years ago, after I left my cushy financial sector job and went uninsured while attempting a career change during the height of my alcohol abuse.

I've worked for a major health insurer in dental claims/customer service for the past 12 years. You can imagine that recent debate among many of my uninsured or under-insured friends has made me uncomfortable, especially when the industry that employs me is deemed corrupt and crooked. I have no answers, on how to fix the system. Heck people have worked their entire lives on this issue and we are still worlds apart on a solution today. For what its worth, most of my beliefs lie closer to the European models (call me a Socialist if you must).

I'm not here to say anything more then the system is broke and has to be fixed. What I am going to tell you is to read Otis's recent blog post THE REAL COST OF HAVING A BABY.

It's a fascinating albeit personal story on the cost of having his second son who we call DOS (for #2 if you hadn't already guessed) down in GVegasland. Many of you may not realize that Otis is one of the main contributor's to the Pokerstars Blog. For those of you not familiar with Otis's BP (before poker) work, I suggest you click here.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Pokerstars WBCOOP

Online Poker

I have registered to play in the WBCOOP PokerStars World Blogger Championship of Online Poker! You too can Play Poker Online at and take part in the WBCOOP which is open to all Bloggers by registering on WBCOOP to play.

Registration code: 630467

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Contrary to what a few of my friends believe and have teased me about, I did not disappear into the rabbit hole after my immersion into Phish during my Weekend with Dr Pauly following the two night run at Albany's Times Union Center. I actually decided not to write about the weekend and let Pauly do the talking over on Coventry Music and his Tao of Pauly blogs. So much of Dr P's life is public record and getting to share time with "my lil bro" is few and far between. I did give him free rein to have as good of a time as he wanted that weekend. He guided me thru all the Phish music I have never heard and I was there to belay him he if decided to go too far off the edge. I'm pretty low key at Phish/Grateful Dead shows being the tour vet I am. The 2nd night (Saturday), 2nd set of Albany left my face melted. After almost 50 minutes of intense jamming on the 7 Below/Ghost jam, one catch your breathe song, they continued the momentum with what could easily be the best set of sound, I have ever heard. I turned to Dr P after my eyes in awe, mouth agape with a biggest smile I have ever had (except maybe the perma-grin that comes from taking LSD) and high-fived/fist-bumped and hugged him. By golly I finally had gotten what it took so long to get. Most of my exposure to Phish had been during the falling apart 2.0 era and I just didn't get it.

After Phish, I had another concert at Troy's Revolution Hall on Kim's birthday December 4th. We saw one of our other favorite band's: Max Creek. I attended my company Xmas Party right before and won two bus tickets to Foxwoods. I also had my name pulled as a winner of $50 gift card to Chico's a BBQ joint that sounds delish. But i could only win one so they threw that one back in and pulled another person. Coupled with a twitter win of a two night stay to the RIO in Vegas. I was running good.

Kim got lost in South Troy trying to find Revolution Hall. I was trying to guide her in and kept asking her what side the river was on. When she said its right in front of me i knew she was heading west back over to Watervliet and not in a North/South direction which is the way she needed to go to get where I was. I found this funny only because we both spent a lot of time at RPI which is located at the top of the hill from where she needed to be and which i was trying to use as a reference point. She dated a Theta Chi and I a Alpha Chi Rho (that would be the one and only California Rob). We wound up missing the McLovins but were ready for Max Creek when they took the stage. It was a great show as always. They played one long set as they were on their way to Utica for a show the next night.. Scott and the drummers (Scott A and Gregg V) jammed thru the "set break" while John and Mark took care of whatever they needed to take care of. There was one song in particular where Scott Murawski's harmony vocals showed a range I had never heard before (Think Mark was on lead) that proved that after almost 40 years of playing he still has tricks up his sleeve and is still learning and improving.. During one of the Jam's I'm pretty sure Mark Mercier teased the Vince Guaraldi piano piece from It's a Charlie Brown Christmas dance. I had this weird idea that it would be cool to see a bunch of hippies/hipsters etc Snoopy dancing to that whole piece!!

Everyone took their turn on vocals that night, except drummer, Greg Vasso which left me a little sad because A)I <3 Vasso and B)I love it when he does Sympathy for the Devil. I said a quick hello to Scott M after the show and left pretty tired after seeing 3 concerts in 8 days.

I did not attend the winter WPBT gathering and would have loved to do the tasting dinner with Astin and company at Joel Robuchon. Next time I would love to do a tasting at a great Seafoody place. One with a seafood tower etc. Sounds like I missed a good time but December is just such a hectic month with work and the holidays around the bend. Astin did manage to take down the winter donkament and a big congrats to him for that (again).

Rags is now inside and my second cat. He's not actually inside my condo as Bailey wants no one in his domain. There has been hissing and growling on Bailey's part thru the pet gate I installed. Rags just sits there and does nothing, its as if he knows its not his territory. Pretty funny since outside Rags was a little hellion taking on all invaders. He definitely was abused/mistreated and then abandoned as he will recoil a little if i go to pet him with my hand coming towards him. But I can pick him up and snuggle him and he loves to sit on my shoulders. He's living in my carpeted stairwell and pretty much lives on the top landing outside the door that enters into the condo. He is very affectionate and grateful. I do let him out as he prefers to do his business outside. I know he has some loss of functioning in his kidneys as is typical in older cats and he does have some dental disease also typical. But hes in a lot better shape now then he was last year when he ran from people and spent the winter outside. I decided I'll make his final years as comfortable and easy as possible.

I did play poker New Year's day. Third time live in about 6 months I think it was. I had a monster stack proving I still can accumulate chips but I was rusty getting nervous when normally I'm chill. Things were going extremely well, until I had your classic on-line make it or break it hand: in a min-raised 4-5 way pot with one person all in I flopped a straight with Q8d on an all heart board. I led out a feeler bet hoping no one flopped a flush after it checked around. One caller, a young kid who was a good player and was second chip stack to me at the table and perhaps the tourney. Turned out he had flopped a baby flush so he called. A turn diamond and he led out with a bet. I all in'd there thinking he was drawing trying to protect my made hand. He thought I had a bigger flush with the Ace and he tanked for quite awhile before calling and actually wound up hitting a straight flush on the river. Which was good for him and launched him into the chip lead and that crippled me down to starting stack of 13k from a high of 50k or so. Sick feeling in my stomach obviously. Sick feeling in young guns stomach as he passed on the high hand pool!! So, all my hard work for naught and after eating prime rib and baked potato etc., my ADD kicked in and I got bored and didn't feel like rebuilding, yup I gave up instead of trying to come-back which I've done before. I shoved with 99 after my table move on the very first hand dealt at the new table. No callers. I lasted a few more orbits and eventually I shoved JT or JQ into AK and busted out unimproved. Home I went to play some online.

2010 will be more concerts with Furthur shows on deck for February and hopefully Mt Jam in June and gathering of the Vibes and Camp Creek in July. More poker as I turn the big 50 in October and can play Senior's events. Also trying to shed the tummy I have acquired going thru the change and I plan on resuming running. I have been taking a body jam class but haven't been in a few weeks with the holidays.

2010 goals - Lose weight, eat better (I did remove most processed food in 2009), chew longer, play more poker, read a lot, see live music, run.

And if you really want to know what I'm doing check out my twitter feed. I twitter aka microblog alot more then I do full blog posts. I'm @irongirl01 on twitter.