Thursday, April 30, 2009

Living the Good Life

I worry too much about money. My husband and I make a reasonable amount, and we do a good job budgeting and saving. We are set to pay the last of his $40,000 in student loan debt within the next 12 months, hopefully. Paying off that amount in about 3 years is an incredible feat when he makes a slightly above average wage, and I make well below average.

But I worry about the future. What if we never make more than we do now? Would I be able to financially stay at home and raise the kids like I want to? Would I have to take a part-time job or go back to work? What if he loses his job?

This culture of the 2-income household has screwed up the way I wanted things to be. Even as little as 30-40 years ago, most men were the primary wage earners. Companies didn't randomly hire and fire people like they do now, because they knew that families were relying on their paychecks.

Now, with 40% of children born to unmarried parents and a 50% divorce rate, pretty much everyone has to work. They have to work because they are paying child support, or raising a kid alone. They have to work even if they do stay married to keep up with the Joneses and save for college, and the all important emergency fund in case of divorce or job loss.

What can this financial crisis teach us? Maybe it can teach us that our country has gotten too distant too fast. We've grown cold with each other and with our culture. Government isn't supposed to tell us how to believe or think, the only thing they are there for is to protect and preserve.

Right now, I'm paying taxes for all those unmarried new parents, and for banks to be bailed out, and for pet projects in California and everywhere else. Who's going to be paying for all of this? Our kids are going to pay, and there is no way they can afford to. Right now, the best result we can hope for is that the entire financial system collapses worldwide and we all get the chance to start fresh. And I don't think anyone sees that as a good option.

Let's hope the government and culture turn around and start thinking ahead, before we're all looking back and wondering what happened.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Information about B-12

Apparently, no one knows very much about B-12. Pretty much, if they find out you're low on B-12, they will inject you with the stuff once a month for the rest of your life. Not a very pleasant future to look forward to.

Since I can't handle injections very well (I do okay with blood being taken out, but I pass out just about every time I get injected) I decided to do a little more research.

I found one tiny little study (36 people) which seemed to indicate that sublingual and oral pills of 500+ micrograms taken daily were as efficient as an injection when taken regularly. A few of their patients may have had missing intrinsic factor.

What causes B-12 deficiency? There are a lot of theories, but most people with severe deficiencies probably have multiple causes or a lack of intrinsic factor. Intrinsic factor is just this weird thing in our stomachs that helps us absorb the B-12 while the food is in our small intestine. Pretty weird. It also might help us to be able to reabsorb any extra B-12 in our bodies not from food, although that is debated among scientists.

I personally believe that it's possible for us to "use up" more B-12 than usual during extremely stressful periods of life, although no scientists or doctors really have much information about that. The main suspected cause of B-12 deficiency in people with normal intrinsic factor is other stomach problems like Crohn's disease or celiac disease. Certain medications might interfere with B-12 absorption as well.

Bottom line - if you are experiencing any unusual symptoms - including memory loss, depression, fatigue, numbness in hands and feet: see your doctor and be sure that she runs a B-12 test (it takes two blood tests) in addition to looking at other potential causes.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Paralyzing Praise

I have been paralyzed by the idea that on my own I am something special. My generation is not called the "Me" generation for no reason. I was told by teachers, parents, friends of parents, that I could be anything that I wanted to be. I was given a college education, a solid, reliable used vehicle, and a wonderful husband. What have I done with those gifts?

I selfishly use them for my own pleasure, my own gain, and complain when I have to work for something. I want to be a writer, yet I make excuses when I get home from my 9-5 (or 8-6 or 10-7) job and don't do anything with my talent.

How can I waste these gifts I've been given? I have been stunned into paralysis by the fact that I inherently believe I am "good enough" on my own. I should know better than that, and somewhere deep down I do know better.

How can I justify my expense to society? The food I eat, the electricity I use, the car I drive. How can I justy that, if I am not using what I have been given?

I confess that I need to change my attitude and change my actions. I need to sit down and write my ideas, my feelings, even my daydreams. I need to put it down for my own sake even if no one else will ever see it. I need to use what I have been given before I lose it.