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s. 1955 – TAKE ACTION NOW.

Sitting on my desk at home, right now, is a bill for $2,390.00, covering test strips, pump supplies, and three doctor’s visits. I am paying this bill responsibly. I work a full time job. While I may despise my current employment, I stick with it in order to retain medical insurance.

Let’s cut to the chase here: I wear an expensive insulin pump. I test my bloodsugar very often. I see the doctor at least every four months. I take blood pressure medication. I do these things to prolong and improve the quality of my life. I cost my medical insurance company a pretty penny, but I do these things in order to stay as healthy as possible for as long as possible. Preventative measures. Following this regimen will keep me from having serious complications in the future, thus keeping me from costing my insurance company more money for expensive surgeries and additional medication.

So explain to me why the government wants to make it more difficult for me to remain healthy? It will only cost them more money down the road if I become very ill and require federal assistance. Why would S. 1955 even be considered?

According to a press release from the American Diabetes Association, “Under the proposed legislation, all people with diabetes covered under state-regulated health insurance plans would be in jeopardy of losing their diabetes coverage protections. Insurers will be able to offer a low-cost health plan to employers or individuals that exclude one or more state health care requirements, such as coverage for diabetes supplies, education, and training.” Essentially, employers choosing insurance that covers my test strips and pump supplies would be left to whims. Such an act may render me unable to financially support my own disease.

To make such efforts to prevent alarming and expensive complications, only to have those efforts undermined by health care reforms? Why would a legislative body want to keep me from maintaining good health?

If it were their child with this disease, I’m sure this bill wouldn’t have made it so far.

But for some of you, it is your child. And for others, it’s you.

Invest in the health and well-being of yourself and those you know who are affected by diabetes.

Take action now.

Part Three: In which Kerri sees Dinosaurs and Comes Home.

I saw the Ferris Wheel before anything else. Looming as large as the sun from where I stood, I wiggled my toes in the Santa Monica sand and breathed in the ocean air.

“This is nice, you know.” I turned my face up to the sun.

He grinned. “I know.” 

I stuck my feet in the Pacific Ocean for the first time and wondered if there was more home to be found in California than there was in New York. The ocean waves laughed up the shore towards Chris’s feet.

Could this be home?

Shaking off thousands of questions from our minds and the sand from our feet, we left behind the serenity of the ocean for … dinosaurs.

Universal Studios proved to be worth every penny of admission. There are dinosaurs. And while I’m aware that they’re pretend, those suckers are huge and they roar and they’re quite intimidating from the confines of the Jurassic Park ride. As the enormous Tyrannosaurus Rex head tried to eat us, the 8 year old girl sitting next to me clutched my arm frantically and hid her face in my elbow. Which didn’t matter much because my head was ducked into Chris’s shoulder.

The Universal Studios Tour was pretty decent as well, taking us from studio lots to an up-close experience with both Jaws and King Kong. One of the most amazing sets I’ve ever seen (because I’ve seen so many?) was the War of the Worlds set with the plane crash. Unbelievable. The plane used was an actual Boeing 747. A hush fell over the crowd as the tram pulled in view of the set.

After exploring the park extensively, eating Pizza Hut pizza, and then continuously bolusing to correct the ensuing high bloodsugar (oops), Chris and I ventured off to Fancy Dinner with friends.

After dinner, we checked out a club in Venice Beach.

“Lady, this is the fakest license I have ever seen,” the bouncer said, picking at the corner of my laminated Rhode Island license with his fingernail. “Laminated?? Come on.”

“It’s legit. I swear.”

Raised eyebrow. Conferenced with the other doorman. He reached over to open the heavy brass doors and we slipped inside to the Buffalo Club for a night cap.

Hours later, never sleeping, we drove our little Hybrid Car to LAX. Eyes heavy with exhaustion, we boarded the plane at 5:30 in the morning.

“Did you have a good time? Do you like it here?” Chris asked, yawning and stretching one arm across my shoulder.

I looked out the plane window. The sun was rising.

“How could I not?”

Part Two: In which Kerri solves the Gomez Quandry and remembers Reading Rainbow

Exploring the Sunset Strip, Chris and I sat at a stop light in our little hybrid.

“Listen, Kerri.” Chris paused, spreading his hands dramatically over the steering wheel. “Not a sound.”

The car seemed like it turned off when we were at stoplights. The motor made no sound. No clicks, no whirrs, no noises whatsoever. An odd sound to my ears accustomed to VW German performance engines.

Looking over to my right, there was a big black Escalade, windows opened. A handsome man dressed to the hilt, complete with enormous watch and crisply pressed shirt, stared straight ahead.

“Chris, it’s the guy from Reading Rainbow!” I tried to exclaim without moving my mouth. The Escalade started to pull away in anticipation of the light changing.

“He was in Roots. Did he play Kunta Kinte? I can’t remember,” Chris said.

“He played Kunta.” I said. The Escalade pulled ahead of us.

“Are you sure?”

“Yeah. It says ‘Kunta’ on his license plate.”

Later on, we were walking down Hollywood Blvd. Passing the famous Chinese Theater, we stopped to take a few pictures. The boulevard was teeming with street performers dressed as Jack Sparrow, Hellraiser, Yoda, and Hagrid. People were stopping to have their picture taken.

“This is so fun!” exclaimed a young college girl to her friends, wrapping her arm around Shrek.

“Lady, we don’t work for free. Remember that,” responded Shrek with a growl.

Chris and I wandered down the street towards the Virgin Megastore. Bright red letters scrambled around the edge of the building like the New York stock exchange ticker. “In-Store Performance! Live! Gomez!!! 7 p.m.!!! March 24th!!!”

“Oh my god Gomez is coming here?! We have to see them! We have to!” Trying not to jump up and down but hardly able to control my excitement, I dug my fingers into Chris’s arm and danced around a little bit.

There’s a history with this band.

Back in 2003, I had tickets to see Gomez play at the Avalon in Boston. Drove up to Boston with my buddy from Ireland, talking about how excited we were to see the show. Tickets in hand, we ran to the club. No line outside. Weird.

“We’re here for the Gomez show.” My friend told the six foot four bouncer with biceps like freight trains. Bouncer flexed and traced the outline of his muscle with a lazy finger. “Sorry. Show was last night. You missed it.”

So I’ve been this close to seeing Gomez before, only to have my own inability to check the date on the ticket keep me from indulging. I wasn’t going to miss them a second time.

And I didn’t.

Brilliant performance. Such a cool band. And I can’t believe that the sources of those incredible voices were just a few feet away from me. Their new record is being released on May 2nd. Do yourself a favor and pick it up.

Tomorrow: Santa Monica beach. Universal Studios. And the plane ride home.

Homage to Roberta Sparrow*

I’ve been at work since 6:45 this morning.

Not a big deal, but I didn’t fall asleep until after 2 o’clock in the morning.

Working off three cups of coffee, L-Glutamin, and these really nice tea biscuits that the British guys at work brought in. Being this tired has caused my mind to roam about unsupervised. As follows:

In about eight hours, I will have my first time travel experience. Flying from Rhode Island to California will send me back in time three hours. Completely blows my mind. Fly out at 8 from Chicago, arrive in LA at 10 … but it’s a 5 hour flight? I can’t even conceptualize that on the amount of sleep that I have(n’t) had.

I fully expect to see the vortex from Donnie Darko*. Maybe a fibonacci spiral or two.

And then I will be on the Pacific Coast for the first time in my life. Having always been locked to the eastern seaboard, I’ve heard the tales of the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the laid back demeanor of the West Coast but have never seen it for myself. I am pretty damn excited to check out all the sights. Scope out some employment opportunities. And some apartments?

Never hurts to look.

(Mom, please don’t freak out yet.)

Bags are packed: Pump supplies, countless test strip bottles, two books to read, the iPod, my coveted Xanax for the flight, and the new digital camera I bought last night in a fit of Where the Hell is my Old Camera.

“And of course my LA Gear sneakers,” asserts Kerri, keeping her voice cool and sans sarcasm.

This girl is ready for the West Coast.

 

Part One: In Which Kerri Becomes a Seasoned Traveler

Working a nine hour day on Wednesday and promptly jumping on a plane to Chicago caused me make the following, bleary eyed statement: “I can’t wait to get on the plane.”

Chris’s eyebrows went up. “What?”

“I can’t wait to get on the pla…” Big smile crept onto my face. “I can’t wait to get on the plane!”

I am officially a seasoned traveler, after a fashion. We flew from Providence to Chicago, then Chicago to LAX. Hours upon hours of travel. I checked luggage. I ate expensive airport food. I sighed about flight delays. I cranked back the time on my pump as we crossed the time zones. Chris bought himself a neck pillow and bought me this:

I traveled just fine.

Arriving at LAX (at 4 am to my East Coast exhaustion), we grabbed our luggage and traipsed off to the car rental place. We passed a black man wearing a blue warm up suit and a matching hat. He was surrounded by his luggage. A scruffy beard framed his familiar face.

Chris reached down to adjust the strap on his carryon bag. “So yeah, that was definitely Mr. T.

Ah, I pity the fool who wasn’t there to see him. Quality celebrity sighting.

We rented a Honda Civic Hybrid for our travels, based on the clogged highways that Chris remembered from when he lived in LA. That car was phenomenal. Aside from the fact that it was reluctant to climb hills with any vigor, Chris and I drove that little Civic for four days and barely used half a tank of gas. Considering all the traffic we constantly sat in and the miles we put on the car as we explored, I am now completely sold on purchasing a hybrid car.

Note to VW: Why don’t you make a hybrid? I would buy it. And love it. Promise.

Staying in Valley Village, we were minutes from Industry Giants like Universal, Disney and NBC. Sunshine streamed in the windows of our eco-friendly rental as Chris took me on a tour of his former town. And while he was at his business meetings, his friend Joe and I ventured up a mountainside and picked coconuts (as Joe effectively illustrates here.)

Does this city have anything for a Country Mouse like me? How exactly does the Santa Monica pier compare to my little Napatree Point Beach? Did an 8 year old girl and I end up clutching each other’s arms in fear on the Jurassic Park ride at Universal Studios? Was that Lavar Burton I saw on the Sunset Strip? Did I really catch the Gomez in-store appearance at the Virgin Megastore on Hollywood Blvd?

Tune in tomorrow.

Same Six Until Me time.

Same Six Until Me channel.

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