Friday, July 31, 2009

I wish that President Obama's stimulus money was given to the citizens, instead of to banks, the auto industry and other institutions. With money in hand, said citizen will bank it, buy a new car and infuse the economy with good economic health. So much money has been handed out, that if it was in the hands of the people, they could pay off their mortgages.

No. Our banks are NOT too big to fail. Let them fail. There are other banks and other car manufacturers. The survivors will provide needed services and goods. The government split AT&T into the Baby Bells. That worked out fine. We should have done that with the banks. We should do that now. We should pass a law that nullifies the ceo's fat cat contracts. Its our money and it is not ment to line the pocket of any ceo . There seems to be a size that businesses should not grow beyond. They become inefficient and lose their flexibility to respond to the needs of their customers.

Hey Prez: Are you for the voters or the monied institutions that bankroll our politicians? Where does your loyalty lie? I know where you say it lies.

On Health care: Dear President Obama. The rising cost of health care is mostly administrative. If you set up another system, you will add another layer of administration and its resulting costs. I suggest that the system you want to design, is all ready in state social service systems.

Each state provides medical care for those who qualify for the program. With a stroke of your pen, you can create a new category "medical only". You set federal standards for minimum level of care and open the current welfare system, oops, social services system for everyone. Those who were denied care because they made too much money can now use the existing network of clinics. I understand that these clinics provide very good care. Let the states run their own systems, as they do now.

Those using the "medical only" card would not be eligible for all the other services provided in the social service system, like food stamps, but they would get their health care needs met.

"Medical only" would not pay for routine care, but it would care for a serious illness. Those who feel they are above using the clinic, sitting next to the poor, have the option of going outside the system and paying for it themselves. There would be an influx of new patients, so the federal government should financially help the clinics expand. There would be some new jobs added to this system, but all in all, there would be less bureaucracy ...and less cost...than if you set up a new system.

I see that this system would be used by the elderly facing end of life care. It would be used by those with a serious illness or disability. These are the people that are turned down by insurance companies . The rest of us can pay for our yearly check up out of pocket...or through our medical insurance . While We're at it, lets fold all parallel medical systems into this one system. In this way, no one group gets better care. Isn't this what a democracy means? So, let senators and representatives give up their program and they can use our program. There are programs for railroad retirees, the military, teachers, postal workers.. If We all paid into the same pot, there would be plenty of money to care for a greater number of people .

Post script: Reading the blog "Suddenly Senior" and found another idea that seems good, simple and quick: Open Medicare to everyone. The system works just fine.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Everyone in the family knows that our family is dysfunctional...that is...all who want to face the truth. There are some family members who are threatened by this topic. They refuse to know how sick our family dynamics were when I was a little girl. I honor them by not rubbing their noses in the mess. I keep my mouth shut.

My cousin and I provide therapy for each other by talking freely about how betrayed we were. We admit to each other how hurt we were by our immediate family. Mercifully, those family members are no longer here. They have escaped "the talk...the accusation". It would not have done any good anyways. I now understand why they acted that way, from the distance of age and I forgive them. This comment is only by way of opening up the topic of the list.

All my life, I have felt the unseen hand of spirit on my shoulder...guiding me to an experience necessary for my growth. When I have grown strong enough to solve that problem, the "unseen spirit" leads me away from there and on to a new situation. The flip side of this experience, is, if I can't solve the problem, it is presented to me again with different people and perhaps a different location. Thee is no running away from these life lessons. There are no failure at life lessons. The same situation keeps repeating until I master it no matter how uncomfortable it makes me.

Part of this miracle is the people who turn up at the right time. They are on "the list". One of the people on the list is world war two Sargent Johnson. I hope to devote an entire blog on this man. This current blog only touches on my relationship to him.

Bob was a prisoner of war for 18 months. He was in a Jewish death camp. He lived only because the war ended and the camp was liberated. If you have seen photographs of the living dead that were liberated from those camps, you have the idea of how close to dying Bob was. It was the horror of his life that gave him nightmares the rest of his life.

Bob came into my life when I was in need of serious help. I consider myself a practical and competent person able to handle just about any life situation. I was in one that I could not solve by myself. I found myself a widow living in a new state and city. I had no business contacts here. I had no family here. I was completely cut off from any help or support. I had a mortgage to pay off and no job. My permanent teaching certificate was not honored by Connecticut. Connecticut and New York had no reciprocal agreement to honor each other's teacher training certification program. I was emotionally exhausted from caring for my husband while He fought cancer. Then He died, leaving me utterly alone in the mess. In short I was stuck in the mire with no way to get out. Then Bob showed up.

We became good friends and talked a lot. Bob told me about his life growing up, his life in the military. I told Bob about my life and my strong belief in Quakerism. We seemed the odd couple: a military hero and a pacifist. I got on my high horse one day and stated that it was wrong to kill anyone. I am against war, capital punishment, murder on the streets....violence of any kind.

Bob gave me a mature look and stated from his experiences in Stalig 17: We think that there are things we would never do, but you are wrong. There are extreme circumstances that will make you do anything just to survive one more day. You will steal a loaf of bread if you have to. You will shoot the other man before He shoots you. If you are hungry enough, you will do anything you have survive one more day.

Bob taught me that all human beings are capable of all human emotions....from the most loftiest to the most base. Most humans function in the middle of this response scale. We deny our dark side capable of murder, theft, destruction of others, jealousy. We may deny it, but it is there. Good mental health suggests that when those awful feels of rage or jealousy surface, We should recognize them, give them a name and let them go. We do not have to act on those feelings. Just looking at our baser self and admitting that those feelings are there , frees us from them . They are released. If We do not name them and release them, they fester on our deep levels, influencing us to act in ways We would not choose. Old wounds are alive in you today if you have not looked at them and healed yourself. They are the steam in the pressure cooker of your soul.

I bless the military and the awful job they do to protect my freedom. I am free to be a pacifist because men and women like Johnson went to war and died. We speak English today, not Japanese or German because Bob Johnson and his buddies stood up to Germany and Japan. I am free because they guard my freedom.

Meeting Johnson was a life changing experience. I knew that He had been tested and past the test with flying colors. Johnson functioned on the highest spiritual plane. He represents the best of the human race. He was given a job where he could have died. He did not flinch. He is a true hero.

By comparison, I see people who act selfish. Foolish young people are preoccupied with the latest fashions and electronic gadgets. "Status" is important to them. I see that they are going through life with their eyes closed. I wonder if God tested them, how would they do? It is not my job to be their judge. I am only noting that they are functioning way below Sgt. Johnson.

I am mulling this over. Hmmmmm. Are there other people who are functioning at their highest level ? The answer is yes. Our town, my experiences are full of people I admire. You have met them, too. They take on responsibility and do it well. They are scholars at the local college. They are musicians . One is a doctor. Another is a teacher. Still another is in social services. I now actively look for these fully actualized people. They represent excellence. Many are unknown. I can see their excellence shining as they go through the day.

Some I know only through the books they've written. They influence me. I never met John Bradshaw, yet his teachings opened my eyes and set me on the path towards my own self actualization. Eric Erickson. Jared Diamond. M. Scott Peck. Richard Fineman. These authors are on the list.

The list of self-actualized people is a treasure . Those people are an honor to see how they function. I recognize them by my own feelings of admiration. It seems a privilege to talk to them. I know that when they stand before God, he will say, "well done." The list is growing.

If reincarnation turns out to be true, then I would make a request of the angel who is sending me back here again. Please place me with people on the list.


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Clark Howard is my favorite consumer reporter/advocate. I listen to him in the afternoons if I can. He also has a website that I check. Being a consumer advocate is a professional path I once considered, but did not take. I am still interested in savings money and "not getting ripped off" quote Clark Howard.

While I am driving around, I listen to Mr. Howard. This day, He is talking about how expensive prescription drugs are. One way to fight back is to purchase from the big box stores. (Other ways are through the mail , with prescription insurance or as part of a visit to Canada.)

It was a coincidence. I had just switched doctors and my supply of Armour Thyroid was down to the last dose. My new doctor called me in for a blood test to see how much thyroid I should be taking. At the same time, Clark Howard told me via the radio program, that I could purchase my script at Costco without buying their $50 membership. Since I was on the road, I drove to Costco to check the facts. Yes. I do not need a membership to use their pharmacy. The pharmacist gave me the dose/cost information.

#90 Armour Thyroid
cost without membership cost with membership strength
$14.27 $11.60 15mg
17.50 14.78 60mg
16.48 13.77 30mg

Reviewing my checkbook: I've been paying the local pharmacy about $60 to $50 a month for my supplement. At Costco, I paid $46.28 for a 3 months supply.........a savings of about $120 a year.

While waiting for my script, I compared Costco's price for Tums and a generic tums against the price for those items at my local grocery store. (Those items were near the pharmacy, so I chose those items to compare prices.) Costco was significantly cheaper. The cost comparison could only be done by comparing unit pricing, as each store had different sizes of packages. Without unit pricing, I could not compare.

the negative side of this experience is the regimentation....being made to feel as if I was in school. I had to stand in line behind the white line on the floor to get my script. I had to pay in cash. Credit cards and checks are not accepted. To exit the store, I had to stand in another line. At the head of this line, at the door, was an employee who examined customer membership cards and marked my prescription receipt.

I don't like standing in line and having my belongings examined by the school principal/door checker.

I don't like parking in a huge lot. My local drug store is steps away from where I park. I am invited to bring my dog in with me, as she is a well behaved dog. People call me by name at the drug store.

Back at Costco, I see cars lined up six or seven deep to buy gas that is about 3 cents cheaper than the cheap gas station in town. I figure that they must allow at least 2o minutes to get their gas...a savings of about 30 cents a fillup, if they buy 10 gallons.

The store is HUGE. I don't like shopping in a warehouse. This means walking fairly long distances on a concrete floor. If I had purchased anything, I would have had to stand in yet another line.

It seems that I've run into another example of the two basic choices in life: If you want something, you can spend time or money. Those are the only two choices. If you have extra time, you can save some money. If you are short of time, you have to spend money.

I haven't made up my mind. Shall I put up with the regimentation to save a little money? Is this worth it?


Friday, July 10, 2009

Our golden retriever was a wonderful dog. he made a good TV watching pillow for my two girls when they were young. Nugget wasn't allowed on the furniture. We never caught him there. However, the couch had a warm spot, dog hair and a drool spot on it. Nugget was on the floor. His eyebrows were working up and down saying, "not me. I wasn't on the couch."

At nursery school: Our supervisor raised big newfoundland dogs. She also taught dog obedience classes. At Christmas, she would bring one of her dogs to our nursery school, dressed up as Santa Claus. He had a Santa hat on and a red velvet blanket on his back, trimmed in white. Hannah, our supervisor, was demonstrating dog obedience to our students. Her other goal was to assure the children that this big dog was gentle. He would not bite them. The children sat in a circle on the floor. Hannah put a basket filled with cookies before her. She called her dog over. The dog came and sat. Hannah gave the command, "take it." The dog picked up the basket by the handle and walked around the circle. Each child was encouraged to take a cookie from the basket.

I thought this was a wonderful trick. My golden retriever is a natural for this trick. I bet Nugget can do this trick, too.

At home, I found an Easter basket. Melanie was in the bedroom. I was in the living room at the other end of the house. I placed the basket at my feet and called my dog. He came right away with the look,"Yea? What do you want?"

I picked up the basket, placed it in his mouth and gave the command, "take it". Nugget got the trick right away. He pranced around the room with the basket in his mouth. Next, Melanie called him. Nugget came to her, carrying the basket in his mouth. I called him. He brought the basket to me. This was fun. We all loved this trick, especially Nugget.

the next step was to put cookies in the basket. I put the basket at my feet and called the dog. He came and sat. I gave him the command,"take it."

So, Nugget reached down and ate the cookies.


The cat and dog belonged to the man I was dating after my husband had died. His name was Bob. Kids playing in the park nearby taught Cassie to catch a frisbee. Cassie was part coyote.

Cassie's mom belonged to Bob's friend Bill. Bill's dog had puppies...a gift from a wandering coyote. The puppies had some of that savy that their coyote father had. Bill's pup had a bad habit of killing chickens. No matter what Bill did, the pup got another chicken. They were down to a small number of chickens. Finally, one friend said He would cure the dog. he would teach it to not kill chickens. He grabbed the dog, tied him to a tree and beat him soundly with the dead chicken. They left the dog tied up in the strong hot sun with the chicken tied to his neck, figuring the experience of a smelly chicken would cure the dog of his habit.

The family went away for a few hours, leaving the dog to his misery. When they came back, the dog had eaten the chicken.

Cassie came from the same litter, but He was a more mellow dog. Cassie lived with a cat, Honey by name. Bob thought that Honey was an evil cat. I was there one evening when Bob had to go out, briefly. I stayed in the house.

Cassie was snoozing on the rug. Honey came by and smacked the dog with her paw, claws extended. Cassie was started awake. He jumped to his feet and looked around, as if saying, "What did I do? What did I do?" Honey strolls by, satisfied with her evil deed.

Another evening, same scene. Cassie is on the rug. Bob is out. I am sitting on the couch, just watching the animals. Bob has his garbage can under the sink. The cabinet door is closed. Nice smelly garbage smells are coming from that cabinet. The dog nose knows. The cat nose knows. Honey goes up to the cabinet door. Her paws pry the door, trying to open the door. Cassie gets up from the rug and goes over to the cabinet. Cassie stops Honey from opening the door. Honey looks disgusted. Moral of the story: Dog has a sense of right and wrong. Cat does not.


Luann's dog had puppies. My daughter Beth wanted one of the puppies. "Can't We get one, Dad. Please! Please!" They were very tiny...little beagles....cute, warm and fuzzy. Dad and I said, "Yes.". Beth came home with a little female, barely 10 weeks old. She named her Lucy from the Peanuts gang.

Such excitement in the house. We had to find food dishes and bedding. We went out and bought puppy food. Little Lucy explored the house. Little Lucy was the center of attention.

Nightfall. Everyone is exhausted and sleepy, especially Lucy. We had heard that puppies separated from their mother for the first time, are upset and confused. We decided to try the old hot water bottle and ticking alarm clock to sooth our new puppy to sleep.

We did not have a hot water bottle, so Beth slept on the floor with Lucy and an alarm clock ticking beside her....two little tykes sleeping on the floor.

I took a picture of the two of them cuddled up together... my youngest and her new puppy.....sleeping on the kitchen floor. It is engraved on my heart.


In complete frustration, I called the 888 number listed on the website of my local TV station....the station I can no longer get on my old analog TV set. After some time, the government man showed up at my door. He was a nice man, polite. His purpose was to help me set up my converter box. I all ready did that. He did tests with his antenna...stuck it out my window. Nothing improved the reception. I have a case of righteous indignation. I want my major networks and local programming and I am not going to sign up for cable. I hate the cable people. ...heard too many stories about their "service no service department".

The man's name was Stephen. I told him that there was an antenna in the attic, but it wasn't hooked up to any TV in the house. Would it be possible to use it? Stephen went into the attic and traced the line. The electrician had cut the old line to the antenna, but He had run some good cable. We could use that. Stephen said I should get a power assisted new antenna as Connecticut doesn't get good TV reception. I should get an antenna that drew in programs from as far away as 150 miles.

I suggested that I also get a rotary, as it may be necessary to turn the antenna to catch certain programs. Stephen said that was a good idea.

So, I've ordered a new antenna with power boost and a rotary to be installed in the attic and connected to one TV upstairs and the one in the living room. That should do it I shall pay for this expense and be done with it. monthly bills to the cable company.