Follow Me

I recently became acquainted with a sharing website called Tumblr. It’s simple and fun to use. It’s much easier than full-on blogging but you can post just about the same things you would post in your blog.

Here is how they describe it on their website: Tumblr lets you effortlessly share anything. Post text, photos, quotes, links, music, and videos, from your browser, phone, desktop, email, or wherever you happen to be. You can customize everything, from colors, to your theme’s HTML.

You can follow specific tags or users. It links with Twitter and Facebook. And, of course, there’s an app for it. if you’re experienced with HTML (or know someone who is), you can create a custom theme otherwise, there are tons of great ones to choose from.

I love it and will probably post more there than here. Check it out and follow me here: http://artful-bliss.tumblr.com/.

iPad App Review: Flipboard

Please note: I should have requested permission before posting photos that were not mine to post. I apologize. Until I receive approval, I decided to remove the screenshots. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Flipboard is an amazing *free* app that aggregates your favorite sites and presents the information in magazine format. Your content can be personalized by choosing featured topics, such as linking to your social networking sites, such as Twitter, Facebook, Google Reader, Flickr, or Instagram. Changing your selections is simple and you can search for topics of interest. The presentation is beautiful and intuitive… just swipe the screen to turn the page. The app is only available for iPad but the two work wonderfully together.

You can view from either portrait or landscape presentation. I have no preference. Here are some screen shots for you to compare the web version vs. the Flipboard version.

Here are my contents pages:

Portrait Orientation

Landscape Orientation

Here is a comparison of a group pool on Flickr vs. the same view on Flipboard.

Here is a sample of Twitter vs. Flipboard.

Here’s one more. Google Reader vs. Flipboard.

And if you want to drill down to the detail, just click on the item.

There are things you can do from the app such as share, email, mark as favorite, like, comment, retweet, or view on the web. If you’re interested in learning more, please visit the Flipboard website, which also has lots of information plus a video and a link to the the App Store.

If you’re not already, I hope you’ll try out Flipboard and let me know how it works for you. Comments are always welcome.

I’m Back

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged. I wonder if anyone has missed me. Oh,well… no matter, I’m back now. I hope with the purchase of an iPad2 and the WordPress app, I’ll be more inclined to blog.

I want to keep my posts professional. If you’ve followed me on Facebook, you probably have a clue that I haven’t been exactly well in the past year or so. Anxiety and depression related to many personal issues have had a profound impact on my life. Consequently, I’ve appeared somewhat unbalanced and at times hysterical. I apologize for alarming my friends and family. I’ll spare you the details but hope you all know how much I appreciate the concern and support I’ve received. My hope is that by being open about my mental illness, I’ve done my part (albeit a small part) to eliminate some of the stigma mental illness still carries.

Now on to the fun stuff… I had initially resisted the temptation of jumping into the iPad hype because I already had an iPhone and loved it. I figured the iPad was just a super-sized version of the iPhone. And when the iPhone4 came out–you guessed it–I had to upgrade. There are several features that make my life better because I could consolidate my calendar, Safeway and Freddy’s cards, all my contacts, games, email, Facebook and Twitter, the web, lists, a camera, etc., etc., not to mention my phone, into a portable marvel of electronic genius.

After some investigation and analysis, I decided to go for the iPad. Yes, I stood in line on Friday afternoon hoping to get my hands on a shiny and sparkling new iPad2! Got to the Bridgeport Apple store about 2:30-ish, knowing the coveted gadgets wouldn’t be unveiled until 5:00 PM.

Met some interesting and very nice people in line. The anticipation of the anxious customers fueled my own excitement. Luckily, we were in the group close enough to the front of the line to win the privilege of shopping and making a purchase. I couldn’t wait to get connected (I opted for the wi-fi only model) and experience the coolness factor. And cool it is! I’m so happy with my purchase.

Take the features of the iPhone and add so much functionality and ease of use plus so many cool apps and you’ve got the abbreviated definition of the iPad. In a word, it’s awesome. I’d like to recommend some of my favorite apps so stay tuned. In my next post, I’ll review my favorite features and apps.

My mantra

Depression in my life

So much has happened in my life in the past year or so. Not a lot of it has been happy. Sure there have been some bright spots every now and then. But for the most part, I have been struggling with depression and anxiety. It’s been a lifelong struggle but this year has been particularly difficult. I know about mental illness and have blogged about it in the past. I have tried to be an advocate for mental health awareness. I’ve been outspoken and open about my depression. But when I found myself drowning in darkness that included suicidal thoughts, I also felt unbelievable shame. Maybe it’s my upbringing; maybe it’s my own values; maybe it’s how society views suicide as a taboo subject; probably it’s a combination of all of the above.

My therapist describes my depression as dysthymia. According to WebMD.com, dysthymia is a type of chronic depression that is less severe than major depression. It can also last for years. Dysthymia may not disable a person, but it prevents one from functioning normally or feeling well. Major depression, which is described as the medical diagnosis for depression that lasts for at least two weeks and interferes with daily life. It causes symptoms like low energy, fatigue, and feelings of hopelessness. That sums it up. I’ve depressed for years but in the recent past, the symptoms are significantly more pronounced.

Over the years, I’ve tried every antidepressant to no avail. I’ve even started adding medications like antipsychotics and mood stabilizers with minimal improvement. The meds may dull the emotions but underneath, the depression remains. It hangs over my head and colors my world in shades of grey. Even though I’m functioning (if you can call it that), it takes a good deal of energy to keep up appearances.  I find myself too exhausted to do the things I would like to. I would much rather pull the covers over my head and hide in the darkness. Sometimes I wonder if anyone would really miss me if I didn’t show up. If I feel this horrible about myself, how do others view me?

When I said, I only have dysthymia, my psychiatric nurse practitioner brought to my attention that thoughts of suicide are to be taken seriously. When I brought up the subject of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), she didn’t dismiss me. Is a life without depression even possible? I cannot imagine it. I’m tired, so very tired and need some relief and soon. So desperate, I’m willing to try ECT. I know it’s controversial and filled with stigma of its own. Has anyone tried it? I would like to hear your thoughts.

Welcome to this World

Top Five Health Care Reform Lies

Lie #1: President Obama wants to euthanize your grandma!!!

The truth: These accusations—of “death panels” and forced euthanasia—are, of course, flatly untrue. As an article from the Associated Press puts it: “No ‘death panel’ in health care bill.”4 What’s the real deal? Reform legislation includes a provision, supported by the AARP, to offer senior citizens access to a professional medical counselor who will provide them with information on preparing a living will and other issues facing older Americans.5

Lie #2: Democrats are going to outlaw private insurance and force you into a government plan!!!

The truth: With reform, choices will increase, not decrease. Obama’s reform plans will create a health insurance exchange, a one-stop shopping marketplace for affordable, high-quality insurance options.6 Included in the exchange is the public health insurance option—a nationwide plan with a broad network of providers—that will operate alongside private insurance companies, injecting competition into the market to drive quality up and costs down.7

If you’re happy with your coverage and doctors, you can keep them.8 But the new public plan will expand choices to millions of businesses or individuals who choose to opt into it, including many who simply can’t afford health care now.

Lie #3:
President Obama wants to implement Soviet-style rationing!!!

The truth: Health care reform will expand access to high-quality health insurance, and give individuals, families, and businesses more choices for coverage. Right now, big corporations decide whether to give you coverage, what doctors you get to see, and whether a particular procedure or medicine is covered—that is rationed care. And a big part of reform is to stop that.

Health care reform will do away with some of the most nefarious aspects of this rationing: discrimination for pre-existing conditions, insurers that cancel coverage when you get sick, gender discrimination, and lifetime and yearly limits on coverage.9 And outside of that, as noted above, reform will increase insurance options, not force anyone into a rationed situation. 

Lie #4:
Obama is secretly plotting to cut senior citizens’ Medicare benefits!!!

The truth: Health care reform plans will not reduce Medicare benefits.10 Reform includes savings from Medicare that are unrelated to patient care—in fact, the savings comes from cutting billions of dollars in overpayments to insurance companies and eliminating waste, fraud, and abuse.11

Lie #5: Obama’s health care plan will bankrupt America!!!

The truth: We need health care reform now in order to prevent bankruptcy—to control spiraling costs that affect individuals, families, small businesses, and the American economy.

Right now, we spend more than $2 trillion dollars a year on health care.12 The average family premium is projected to rise to over $22,000 in the next decade13—and each year, nearly a million people face bankruptcy because of medical expenses.14
Reform, with an affordable, high-quality public option that can spur competition, is necessary to bring down skyrocketing costs. Also, President Obama’s reform plans would be fully paid for over 10 years and not add a penny to the deficit.15

Sources:

1. “More ‘Town Halls Gone Wild’: Angry Far Right Protesters Disrupt Events With ‘Incomprehensible’ Yelling,” Think Progress, August 4, 2009.
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51733&id=16778-8982759-VeuK85x&t=2

2. “Fight the smears,” Health Care for America NOW, accessed August 10, 2009.
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51729&id=16778-8982759-VeuK85x&t=3

3. “Palin Paints Picture of ‘Obama Death Panel’ Giving Thumbs Down to Trig,” ABC News, August 7, 2009.
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51728&id=16778-8982759-VeuK85x&t=4

4. “No ‘death panel’ in health care bill,” The Associated Press, August 10, 2009.
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51747&id=16778-8982759-VeuK85x&t=5

5. “Stop Distorting the Truth about End of Life Care,” The Huffington Post, July 24, 2009.
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51730&id=16778-8982759-VeuK85x&t=6

6. “Reality Check FAQs,” WhiteHouse.gov, accessed August 11, 2009.
http://www.whitehouse.gov/realitycheck/faq#i1

7. “Why We Need a Public Health-Care Plan,” The Wall Street Journal, June 24, 2009.
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51737&id=16778-8982759-VeuK85x&t=7

8. “Obama: ‘If You Like Your Doctor, You Can Keep Your Doctor,’” The Wall Street Journal, 15, 2009.
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51736&id=16778-8982759-VeuK85x&t=8

9. “Reality Check FAQs,” WhiteHouse.gov, accessed August 10, 2009.
http://www.whitehouse.gov/realitycheck/faq#r1

10. “Obama: No reduced Medicare benefits in health care reform,” CNN, July 28, 2009.
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51748&id=16778-8982759-VeuK85x&t=9

11. “Reality Check FAQs,” WhiteHouse.gov, accessed August 10, 2009.
http://www.whitehouse.gov/realitycheck/faq#s1

12. “Reality Check FAQs,” WhiteHouse.gov, accessed August 10, 2009.
http://www.whitehouse.gov/realitycheck/faq#c1

13. “Premiums Run Amok,” Center for American Progress, July 24, 2009.
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51667&id=16778-8982759-VeuK85x&t=10

14. “Medical bills prompt more than 60 percent of U.S. bankruptcies,” CNN, June 5, 2009.
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51735&id=16778-8982759-VeuK85x&t=11

15. “Reality Check FAQs,” WhiteHouse.gov, accessed August 10, 2009.
http://www.whitehouse.gov/realitycheck/faq#c1

Sources for the Five Lies:

#1: “A euthanasia mandate,” The Washington Times, July 29, 2009.
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51732&id=16778-8982759-VeuK85x&t=12

#2: “It’s Not An Option,” Investor’s Business Daily, July 15, 2009.
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51743&id=16778-8982759-VeuK85x&t=13

#3: “Rationing Health Care,” The Washington Times, April 21, 2009.
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51742&id=16778-8982759-VeuK85x&t=14

#4: “60 Plus Ad Is Chock Full Of Misinformation,” Media Matters for America, August 8, 2009.
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51734&id=16778-8982759-VeuK85x&t=15

#5: “Obama’s ‘Public’ Health Plan Will Bankrupt the Nation,” The National Review, May 13, 2009.
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51744&id=16778-8982759-VeuK85x&t=16

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