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Archive for January, 2012

I know I should be more serious about the upcoming Presidential election, but here are the facts as relating to me:

1) I can never ever vote for Obama.  I had hopes when he was elected (though I didn’t vote for him) and he’s dashed those hopes.  He hasn’t done a good job IMO and we are most definitely (my family) worse off now than we were four years ago.  AND I’m sick of him STILL blaming Bush.  At some point, you have to take responsibility.

2) I can’t understand Newt’s popularity.  The man has proven his character and his “capabilities” many times in the past few decades.  Why is he suddenly qualified for President NOW because he’s “changed.”  Um…I don’t think so. He just wants to get elected.

3) I don’t like Mitt for the same reasons.  I don’t believe he’ll stick to what he’s campaigning for when/if he becomes President.  I think the minute push comes to shove, he’ll flop to whichever position suits him personally the best.  I don’t like that.  I may not agree with everything you stand for or like or believe in, but if you stick to your guns about it, I WILL respect you.  If you flop whichever way the wind blows, you don’t deserve my time.

4) Santorum and Paul…I actually really like much of what they say…but I don’t think they’d be even close to the right President we need right now.  With Paul, I’d worry about my national security and foreign policy.  With Santorum, I’d worry that the advances we’ve made for gay rights would go backwards.

So what’s the gist?  In my case, my vote, as it was in 2008, will be written in, and therefor “wasted.”  I will NOT vote for a candidate in the hopes that Obama will be voted out of office if I don’t have confidence that candidate will do a good job.  We don’t need to be jumping out of the fying pan into the fire.

I’m sick and tired of not having a good candidate for President.  The “decent” folks are either put out of the race early on by negative media attacks (many proven unfounded months after its “too late”), or won’t run to begin with because they don’t want to drag their families through the mud that’s going to get slung at them during the campaigning. 

This is really sad when you think about it.  Even good, honorable, strong people will back down when their families are threatened, or when they just can’t take the personal attacks anymore.  That prevents the people we REALLY need in Washington from ever making it there.  Really, when you think about it, egomaniacs, liars, thieves, and basically dishonorable people are pretty much running our country.  No matter how good the intentions, once they get to Washington, the city itself changes them, and not for the better.

I firmly believe we should have term limits on ANY elected office.  It just makes sense.  It would help, in my opinion, keep politicians a little more honest, because if they’re genuine people, they wouldn’t be there long enough to get corrupted (hopefully).  Sure, there’d still be the exceptions to the rule…bad people will do bad things…but it would HELP.

But, that’s another kettle of fish for another day.  This year, my vote will be wasted.  I don’t care that people who feel like me, and vote their conscience, will be accused of “reelecting” Obama.  We need more people to stand up for what they believe, and not give in to pressure from peers, parties, etc.  I’m a proud Independent, and though I lean VERY Conservative, I also have some Liberal points of view.  I have ALWAYS, since I registered to vote in March of 1988, voted my conscience, and for the person, not the party.  We need more people who feel that way.  We need more PARTIES.  We need more representation for as many of our citizens as possible, not just citizens of “the big two.”  I was thrilled at the rise of the Tea Party…not because I agree with them necessarily (I don’t with much of their agenda), but because it was the first time in Lord knows how long that we had a viable party besides Republicans and Democrats.

No, I will not vote for Obama.  I will not vote for the Republican candidate this year either.  In 2008, I wrote in “Michael Huckabee” because he was my candidate of choice…I didn’t agree with everything he said (I’m pro-gay marriage for instance) but I did believe he had a good plan, and would do what he said during his campaign.  This year, I will most likely write in “Herman Cain,” for the same reason.  Herman wasn’t perfect, but he never claimed to be.  What the MSM (main stream media) did to him was disgusting and shameful.  I’m really discouraged by our current slate of “choices.”  More of the same does not mean you have “choice” just because there’s more than one candidate.

Maybe one day, we’ll have an honest person campaign.  Then again, an honest person would probably be torn apart by the MSM and members of his/her own party.  Its sad…very sad…and doesn’t give me much hope for my children’s futures.

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So, I LOVE McAlister’s Deli.  I especially love their Country Potato Soup, and crave it all the time.  However, the nearest McAlister’s is at least an hour away, and they don’t serve the Country Potato on a regular basis (they do a “Soup of the Day” deal).  So I set out to find an easy recipe that I’d enjoy just as much, and hit paydirt today.

First of all, I found a couple different recipes, and took the aspects that I liked and then added a couple things of my own (ham, grated carrots, for instance), and left out things I didn’t like (fresh onions…they kill me since I’ve lost my gallbladder).  So this is what I ended up with, and it was a huge hit with the family, and I finally found a homemade soup that *I* like as well.

Ingredients:
3 pound bag of red potatoes
23 ounce container of chicken broth
salt and pepper
dried, minced onions
2 cups Half and Half
baby carrots
diced or cubed ham (like you use on salads)
3-4 slices cooked bacon
grated cheddar cheese

First, spray the inside of your crockpot with non-stick spray.  I prefer this to “lightly greasing” it with shortening.  Use a nice even coating…the potatoes tend to stick as they cook.

Wash, peel, and cube the entire bag of red potatoes.  Put them into the crockpot.

Liberally sprinkle with the dried, minced onions.  The recipe called for 1/2 cup chopped onion, however, as previously mentioned, I can’t use fresh onion, so I used minced, but I didn’t measure it…simply made a nice layer of them over the cubed potatoes.

Salt and pepper according to your taste.  I’d never tried it before, but I salted/peppered it about like I would any dish.

Pour in entire container of chicken broth (all 23 ounces).  It won’t quite cover the potatoes, but it will come close.

Cover, cook on low heat for eight hours.

After eight hours, use a potato masher to mash up the ingredients.  This is entirely your preference here…I like small chunks in mine, so I didn’t mash it completely smooth, but it was close.

Add the 2 cups of Half and Half, stir well.

At this point, I added the diced ham and finely-grated baby carrots because I thought it might taste good.  I used three “handfuls” of ham and 3-4 big baby carrots.

Cover, and continue heating until its nice and hot again.

Garnish with preferred toppings.  I used crumbled bacon and grated cheddar cheese.

This will serve 5-7 depending on the appetites involved.  Its SUPER easy and was really tasty too!

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So I got another denial from the VA in the mail today. They didn’t address the biggest concerns, but they DID deny my PTSD and foot claims.  They claimed I was never diagnosed with PTSD, but I have the records FROM the VA that show I was, on more than one occasion.  Good thing I got those printed out monthly.  They claim the foot condition I claimed wasn’t evident, but that another one was, and was proven by their x-rays, but wasn’t related to service connection because they had no evidence of fractures while I was in service…yet on the next page they referenced fractures that were documented and x-rayed while I was in basic.  Looking up the condition they said I have online, it results from several sources, but a common one is…the very fracture they referenced on the next page of the letter.  Makes no sense.  They claim my symptoms of PTSD were a result of my diagnosed bipolar and borderline personality disorders…but then went on to say that I had no history of mental treatment in the Army.  I was diagnosed in the Army! I was intimate with TMHCs at several posts!  It amazes me how when I first filed, I was denied because they had no records of anything I claimed…then when I appealed, the records miraculously appeared…but only in part.  First they had no records at all, then they had records related to my knee injuries, that they used to deny my claims because I didn’t report further pain within a year of discharge…then they lost THOSE records again and suddenly I had no documented knee injuries…same with the breast diagnoses in the Army (1990 to be exact)…now they found records relating to one fracture in my left foot that they used to deny my claim yet it contradicts their very denial…oh and this is rich that my PTSD symptoms are a result of being bipolar.  My nightmares are very VERY specific.  My flashbacks are very VERY specific.  They relate to one incident.  I’ve had doctors and counselors from three different states and many facilities say I have PTSD…including the VA (which those records are now mysteriously missing, even though some are only a few months old).  I’m not asking for “something for nothing.”  I’m not even concerned about a monthly check.  I do want the right to seek treatment at VA facilities without having to pay out the wazoo because they’re “out of network” for my insurance.  Some acknowledgement would be nice.  And don’t even get me started on the cancer.  The examiner last time I went, in October, actually told me because I didn’t “catch cancer within one year of discharge,” they were most likely going to deny it again.  “Catch cancer.”  Seriously?  I’m being penalized because I was “strong” and didn’t go to the doctors for years and worked through pain until something LITERALLY dropped me in my tracks.  They have documented cases exactly correlating to mine, except those people were “lucky” enough to either still be in the military or have gone to the doctor and had every little minor complaint documented.  I know the idea is to force me to give up so they don’t have to deal with it…and honestly, after three plus years of this crap, I’m so tempted to just throw my hands in the air and say “I got screwed yet again, welcome to America.”  This is not right.

I’m not saying the Army is bad, or the military is, or anything like that.  I LOVED my time in the Army and if I were healthy and not too old, I’d go back in a heartbeat because that’s the happiest I’ve ever been in my life.  There is no reason for me to have the health issues I’ve battled for the past twenty years though.  I got sick while I was over there…it continued when I came home and has worsened over the years.  What frustrates me is the loss of records that could prove my claim, while portions of those same records appear to “disprove” certain parts of my claim.  Its an obvious mismanagement and mishandling of those files.  Its upsetting though when veterans are denied things they should be entitled to.

Not to mention, every time I’ve gone for a review, I’ve seen my records…including my old jacket from my actual Army days.  There were four large files in October…each 3-5 inches thick (some were bigger than the others).  The smallest was the one in my jacket from the 90s, and it was at least 3 inches thick.  I peeked at it when I was changing into a gown for the exam, and it was, indeed, from my basic training days, as well as some from when I was in Saudi and when I came back (I didn’t have time to look at the whole thing obviously).  I DID see the page that specifically addressed my abnormal breast exams.  Yet…they claim not to have any evidence such an exam took place.  These are just some of the things that make me want to rip my hair out.

I’m going to try one last time to contact my congressman.  He’s ignored me ever since his lucky butt was voted into office (ousting a wonderful man who fought for veterans and for his MS constituents, even when it went against Democratic principles) on the wave of discontent the country felt over Obama.  If I still can’t get assistance or even mild interest from him or his office, I guess the VA will have won.  I do not have the energy to continue this battle.  I’m exhausted.

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Just realized I haven’t blogged since December 14th.  Oops.  Part of the issue was that I wasn’t set up on my actual PC to blog…and my laptop was having issues.  Another reason was bandwidth woes.  C-Spire (formerly the AWESOME Cellular South) sucks.  Big time.  I’m only allowed 5gb bandwidth per month, and normally that’s no problem, but the past three months I’ve gone over in a major way…by 10+gb a month…at $10 a gb once you go over 5gb.  Major bills.  This past month (the month runs through the 18th) I’ve been really trying to watch it and not go over, and I’ve been sick a lot, so I haven’t been online as much.  I do get online with my smartphone, but typing on it is a pain LOL.

So.  Christmas is over…we had a really nice one this year.  Money was very tight, so we pretty much were done with our shopping on Black Friday, when I got some really good deals online.  The kids didn’t get as much as they did in 2010, but they seemed to enjoy themselves.  I put a lot more thought into their gifts this year, and they were all happy.  We got our income tax adjusted refund from MS right before Christmas, so Justin and I were able to do something really nice for ourselves, which we haven’t done in a long time.  He got me a blu-ray player (I’ve been wanting one for ages) and a new iPhone 4S (from Sprint, NOT C-Spire), and I got him a digital picture frame, some jeans, and a really nice 4th Generation .40 cal Glock pistol.  I forget the model number…I THINK it was a 22, but not sure.  I didn’t actually purchase the pistol for him…I gave him a gift card and let him pick it out.  He felt sooo bad because we spent so much money on him this year, but hey, the man NEVER spends money on himself, and it was extra money we weren’t counting on.  It was time.  He does everything for us, and he deserved a little something special.

I’ve still been having a lot of issues with staying sick…mainly nausea, vomiting, and severe migraines, but that’s slowly getting better.  I go back to the doctor next week to find out if I’m officially in remission again.  I’m praying for good news. 

Anyway, I have a migraine now, so I won’t make this a long post.  I mainly am trying to get back into the habit of blogging, so felt like I needed to make a post of some type.  I’ll try to talk about my New Year’s resolutions and how they’re going tomorrow.

Off to lie down now and wait for the meds to work 😀

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