Okay, first off, those of you who I know too well should get your mind out of the gutter after reading that title and actually check out this article: 30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself. You may have heard many of these suggestions before, but putting it into one list seems to make more of an impact. A lot of what is listed can fall into ‘live in the moment.’ This is something I’ve spent a lot of time on lately. Part of it comes from my yoga classes, where my instructor takes a meditative approach. Part of it comes from reading Zen Habits, a newly-discovered (for me) blog of thoughtful articles on simplifying life.
Whatever path you take to get there, I highly recommend investing time to take care of yourself. Get healthy in mind and body. Watch the stress disappear.
It’s been a while since I blogged about TED. Actually, it’s been a while since I blogged about anything. I recently got back into TED while stuck in Detroit airport for a 4 hour layover. The huge variety of topics in their video library makes it easy to absorb idle time.
What fascinated me most this time was a presentation by Aaron Koblin titled “Artfully visualizing our humanity.” It’s amazing to watch how he represents data and input from large groups of people. Two projects in particular stood out.
The first is a crowdsourced interpretation of a Johnny Cash video – The Johnny Cash Project – where people submit their own renderings of frames of the video that get pieced together. There are a lot of interactive features in this one, so spend some time playing with it.
The second project – The Wilderness Downtown – is another music video. This one asks you to enter the address of the home where you grew up. It uses this to grab satellite and Google street view photos that it integrates into a personalized video. It’s based on HTML 5, so make sure you have a current browser and reasonable computing power.
Where do I begin? Was it the fact that the only flight available left at 6 am from an airport 35 miles away? Was it the maniacs on the road driving 90 miles an hour at 4 in the morning? Or was it the truck drivers who couldn’t stay in their lanes? Maybe it was the 300 year old DC9 with sealed up ashtrays that I don’t think were emptied before they were sealed.
We mostly spend our lives conjugating three verbs: to Want, to Have, and to Do. Craving, clutching, and fussing, on the material, political, social, emotional, intellectual, even on the religious plane, we are kept in perpetual unrest: forgetting that none of these verbs have any ultimate significance, except so far as they are transcended by and included in, the fundamental verb, to Be: and that Being, not wanting, having and doing, is the essence of the spiritual life.
Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog’s owners, Ron, his wife, Lisa, and their little boy, Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn’t do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experienceThe next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker’s family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.The little boy seemed to accept Belker’s transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker’s death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are Shorter than human lives. Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, “I know why.” Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I’d never heard a more comforting explanation. He said, “People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life — like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?” The six-year-old continued, “Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.”Live simply.Love generously.Care deeply.Speak kindly.Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like:
When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.
Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure Ecstasy.
Stretch before rising.
Run, romp, and play daily.
Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass. On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.
When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
Never pretend to be something you’re not.
If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently.
Our new little boy, Riley arrived November 17, 2007 at 3:18 p.m. He checks in at 11 inches tall and a healthy 9 lbs. Riley was adopted from DownUnder Labradoodles where he was born on Saturday, September 22, 2007 at 1:30 am to proud parents Hannah and Apache.
Puppy and parents are all doing well, although the same cannot be said for the wood floors Riley has been christening.
It’s truly amazing how bad customer service has gotten. I just can’t understand how companies can continue to ignore the customer simply because they are too cheap to properly train their call center agents. Or maybe it’s because too many people today don’t understand basic human decency and courtesy.
Case in point – Healthcare Revenue Recovery Group, LLC sent my mother a letter indicating that a bill for $37.15 that was supposed to be paid to Bethesda Emergency Associates for services rendered for my father on May 9, 2007 had not been paid. Turns out that the attentive people at Manor Care Bethesda nursing home failed to provide proper insurance information or address to Bethesda Emergency Associates. So the bills went to the nursing home. Did the nursing home bother to notify me or my mother? Nope. The bills just went unpaid until we received the letter from this ‘recovery group’ – whatever the hell that means. So, I called the ‘recovery group’ and tried to find out what was going on.
The first customer service issue (ignoring all of the crap that led up to this mess) was the person at Healthcare Revenue Group who would not let me finish talking before interrupting and telling me what to do. I’m amazed that they could be employing mind readers who don’t need to hear my question! So I explained what I knew and was told that the bill was mailed to the wrong address until it came to them. They found the right address. The whole tone of this conversation made it sound like my fault! I then pointed out that my father had Medicaid coverage so he shouldn’t even have been billed. The HRRG rep asked to speak to my father. I explained that he recently passed away. You would think any civil human being would at least say a simple “Oh, I’m sorry.” Nope. Don’t forget that this is the “I want my profit from healthcare” big corporation.
Anyhow, I then said that I hoped my mother’s credit rating would not be affected since this was a mistake by the healthcare provider. The only response I needed was a simple, “No, sir. There won’t be any problem for the credit report.” Nope, again. The “caring” HRRG rep said, “Did I say there would be anything placed on the credit report.” I’m sorry to say this, but I really wish my response had been “FUCK YOU.” I am the victim of incompetent health care providers. How dare you cop an attitude with me.
If you ever get stuck with this attitude, I encourage you to call these idiots on it. Aside from the sheer greed of pharmaceutical companies, HMOs and other healthcare big business, this messed up billing system with poor customer service and zero accountability is the biggest issue facing anyone trying to simply care for their health.
It’s time to make some noise about this. I’d love to hear your horror stories. Maybe someone will do something about this if we embarass these assholes enough.