Wednesday, February 23, 2011


When I started blogging, after an elementary class offered by a friend, I thought it great fun for retired person. I had periods of prolific work which leveled out to reading and less pontification on my part.

IT SEEMED A HARMLESS PAST TIME. Early on I heard of gang ambushes, stealing or using blogger's or copyrighted work without permission or attribution, unnecessary critical comments, outright intentional meanness, and many other startling misdemeanors for a seemingly harmless pastime.

Suddenly and early in my blogging experience, persons had private blogs for various reasons which I did not then understand. I have encountered several over nearly two years of blogging.

Others have eliminated comments from time to time. I only received two comments which were pornographic spam from a foreign country, which I deleted.

 The third was a person with a cause, posting multiple, -- I mean a great number--, links to my post about my parents relatively mild corporate punishment. I courteously replied to the person that causes were not a purpose of my post.

I realize some persons tire of comments and others feel a need to recognize comments.  I adopted a habit of  replying to comments on my blog by e-mail, especially if my reply was personal and not relevant to the blog.

I never built up the long following of many who even follow me, so I have not met up with these bandits of the blogland highway yet. I suppose I will quit if I do. I have eliminated only three comments mentioned above.

Spamming blogs is stealing the creative time and effort of a writer for personal gain.

Hiding behind anonymity with or without the intent of destroying another person for any reason is abominable.

 I'm sorry; I have too many other things to do with my time.
My husband and I are in the process of changing a lot of our medical care. In a small remote area, there are not multiple choices in some disciplines and specialties. We have very good insurances, so that is not a problem, at least as long as Medicare and TriCare for Life assignment is accepted.

Assignment is a very important word: many medical facilities will file for you, but you make up the difference, no matter how much insurance you have. Believe me that adds up in a hurry.

My husband ALSO has VA 100% disability and use of  VA medical  facilities too, but that is approx. 150 miles away. The local VA clinic is a wellness clinic. When you have an illness you are stabilized and sent to Little Rock or other VA facility, in ambulance, etc. if necessary.

Despite being covered-insurance wise, physical accessibility is becoming difficult for us as we age. So we are looking for  a general practitioner for him to use Medicare/TriCare for Life assignment.

The nearest town with a relatively good sized hospital is 17 miles away -- not 4 lane highway, but fairly decent road.

I have Medicare/TriCare for Life and have been fortunate in finding a local physician in the past, and some specialists.
We have a clinic in our town but it seems in turmoil.

Our little town was elated with an area hospital gave us an abandoned medical facility if we found personnel for it. This means the City is in real estate business but at the time, it seem the only way we would ever be able to keep a medical service, other than an ambulance.

For about 5 years it was wonderful to have medical service just blocks from home, but the bubble burst late last  year when the physician chose to leave for a larger city and practice, leaving an advanced nurse practitioner as the sole occupant.   This recent turnover resulted in turmoil, including negotiations with the city.

The ANP has been gone on "business" several times. This week alone she will be working 1.5 days only out of her 4.5 official days. One employee of three has quit, leaving a heavy workload on a RN and a lab person.

I was resolved to stay if I felt I was getting good care. I am no longer sure I am.  So after I get my husband settled in I will have do some more thinking. I also have the unresolved issue of the ablation procedure, although I am leaning in that direction.....which, guess what, will be in Little Rock.

So you see we are in a state of flux, which we never anticipated, but we will face them as we have other situations in 42 years Feb. 22. [My husband cooked steaks Saturday night as anniversary dinner. Being ill I was not the best of condition among the 5 guests.

A number of retirees here go to the renown medical centers such as Mayo's or Cleveland Clinic.  They perceive they get better care. We are able to do this, but I wonder if the care is that extraordinary, or is it enticing? 

Thursday, February 17, 2011


As Luckie and I sat for a rare few minutes in sunshine on our deck for me to absorb some natural Vitamin D, I, being in depressed and tired spirit, surveyed our somewhat dismal, winter-worn-and torn yard and property.

Since both of us are older and health in decline, I wondered  how we would manage another season of care.

This is a dilemma faced by many persons in our little retirement town. When I was on city council, I was reluctant to come down hard on individuals in violation of our beautification ordinances when I knew they were physically and, especially, financially unable to comply. 

Moodily, I surveyed the overgrown English Ivy nearly blocking a gutter on one out-building, as well as hanging baskets in need of care and two long-neglected flower beds, needing much tender care.

First Sign of Spring-2011
My eyes wandered to a concrete vase near the front steps yet to be finished painting from a summer project. The vase also need care. What was that I saw nearby in the dead Bermuda grass?

To brighten my day there were three tiny yellow crocus, usually the beginning of spring on our property!!!

At least for one brief moment my spirits lifted.  We may do as others have. A complete vegetation kill followed by creek gravel and some stone paths. This is common in Arizona where they use different colors of pebbles and gravel. Since we lost our beautiful trees, the lot has little beauty.

Butterfly -  top view

Speaking of beauty, in the midst of our coldest weather, while unloading groceries from the SUV, I found a dead full-grown butterfly under the driver's seat. Whether it was fleeing winter, and falsely believe it would escape its ultimate fate, or randomly flew in an open window or door, becoming trapped--I don't know.

Butterfly - Underside
 The butterfly's colors, which were blue on top and yellow underneath, faded before I took the pictures.

Such is life, for everything there is a season, which brings to mind one of my favorite passages from my favorite Biblical book: Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8, 12 NIV
1 There is a time for everything,
   and a season for every activity under the heavens:

 2 a time to be born and a time to die,
   a time to plant and a time to uproot,
 3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
   a time to tear down and a time to build,
 4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
   a time to mourn and a time to dance,
 5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
   a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
 6 a time to search and a time to give up,
   a time to keep and a time to throw away,
 7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
   a time to be silent and a time to speak,
 8 a time to love and a time to hate,
   a time for war and a time for peace.

12 I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


Oxygen Concentrator
 Recently I was placed on night oxygen with cannula, not the Darth Vader CPAC. It made a wonderful difference in my oxygen levels with COPD at night, and hangs around in early morning after arising. I have what is called an oxygen concentrator which looks like a big baby blue box on wheels.

We were told to travel with it, too. Geez, we already look like the Beverly  Hillbillies when we embark on a short trip. But at least I have no canisters to worry about or lug.

I began utilizing the treatments in late January after a simple test indicated I was breathing below 80% in 2-minute intervals while asleep and only averaged 89% the entire night. I know that is too low and cannot be good for my heart or any part of me.

After a few nights of use I discovered the oxygenated air was too dry; so a representative came out and installed a humidifier. Immediately there was improvement, but I noticed condensation in the cannula tubing. Water in lungs is not desirable, i.e. slowly drowning! Another representative returned to install a water trap.

Tues the head honcho returned to run another test on me, the third since I had been using the machine. I was getting tired of seeing her early in the a.m. even though I know some of these tests were necessary control measures. But twice a week is a bit ridiculous.

I told her this contraption was getting beyond fun, when she informed I had to clean the humidifier mechanisms twice a week. She finally admitted most patients were lucky if they remembered weekly cleansing.

Further she said I was using wrong type water, 'drinking water.' I informed her all the literature she gave me said 'bottled water;' a gallon of  'drinking water' was 'bottled.'   My favorite big box store had choices of' 'spring,' 'drinking,' 'distilled' and 'purified' water.

Since she challenged my integrity of reading the literature provided, I gave her  the pile of accumulated literature provided and asked her to show me where it said "distilled" water.

She found only references to "bottled" water. HA!  I am going to have a hard time liking her.

 I keep folders of every scrap of paper concerning machines I  am provided.

So when all were gone I disassembled the  tangled mess of tubing; washed the container and water trap in warm water, then "sterilized" with a 1:3 vinegar solution fo 30 minutes.

 After doing the tango with the tacky top rep, I was in no mood to fool with the mess.  I hooked it up as I thought I remembered.

I turned it own and it gurgled and bubbled with its usual vigor, a rather pleasant sound.  As I beganto  place my supplies in their storage area, there was a different sound of water pouring out somewhere. I discovered water pouring out the cannula like the Mississippi River. A few goldfish, a couple of croaking frogs on lily pads  would have provided me a perfect indoor pond with fountain.

After turning off the machine, I quickly called the company to return the self-same day for a fresh demo.  A nice tall man quickly arrived. It seems I reversed two tubes. I am thankful I was not actually using the machine, or 6 ounces of water might be in my lungs --it all happened in less than a minute.

The whole event interupted my entire planned morning of work and work flow for the day.

Snow Accumulation 8-9"
 The evening of the same day brought predicted great snow storm event. I only stepped outside the front door for two photos which I've included. One yard lamp looked like a snow cone, and a clay pot on a stump shows about how much snow we accumulated here, 8-9 inches.

Today the sun is shining; my bronchitis, except the awful cough, is much better. I have a pork loin in the CrockPot which is a whole meal- 5 points+ for 1 cup on WW menu.

For Sunday Life Group I have a Pot-Luck Pasta Salad planned which is a WW recipe make-over for their new program. It is 4 points+ if you eat a cup---too much. There is no way I can eat a cup of this dish. Although a spring/summer dish, our theme is Italian this week. Next week is Tex-Mex-- Yeah!

Snow Cone
 My husband dislikes most cuisines but we have cooked his Carolina Low Country (Gullah) cooking three weeks in a row. He cooked two bean dishes and I cooked a cleaned up version of Carolina pilau (basically chicken/rice).

So it's my turn. I haven't thought of much but I try to not make things too hot. A lot of us old people can't tolerate as much 'heat' a we once did.

If you are interested in one of the many regional cuisines of our diverse nation, study the history Gullah people who populated the islands along North and South Carolina; their speech is considered Creole with a dialect that influences the regions where they settled, their cuisine, etc. 

I have found history more interesting outside the regimented classrooms by being in an area to learn first hand from the citizens living there, like Baltimore, like Spain, like Morocco, like Gilbralter, like  Iowa Amish colonies, like Native Americans, but have yet to meet Eskimos, etc.

Ice Frozen On Inside Pane, Back Door
 The way people live tells more about them as a society, than a history book. When my generation has ceased to walk this earth, our personal lives will be  far more interesting to those who follow us, than  history books write.

Disregard the weather and find ways to enjoy your weekend with your children, grandchildren, spouse, family or friends, a good book, or other activity that pleases you. 

Monday, February 07, 2011

The Green Stamp Fiasco

I have alluded to this event before in my writings. But today I am  cleaning up some drafts I stored and never posted.

Growing up my siblings and I were taught to give, especially gifts among the family members. We had meager allowances, so these gifts were often just for our parents on special occasions-Christmas, birthdays, Mother's Day and Father's Day.

Often these gifts were home-made drawings, cards, etc. Mother strongly believed it was the thought and best effort most important; the gifts were truly useless expressions love by our developing minds and attitudes. She often said this, just in case she perceived one of us might ridicule the other sibling's efforts. Also whatever we gave, be it a gift, help, etc. it should be our best.

I must admit I was a slow learner, but it was a core belief she tried to teach us. As I think back over the years, my sister absorbed the lesson to the greatest extent the earliest. Since I don't live near her today, I cannot attest if this value continued into adulthood, although with 4 children, and her job in social services, probably enhanced the lessons in totality, not just gifts.

My brother helped others in different ways, not necessarily gifting. He also was the first to receive paychecks, as he was allowed to work at the lumber and hardware chain where Dad was manager. My sister and I still got a small allowance but were not allowed to work outside the home, when many of our friends were car-hopping at the local drive-ins, or served as low wage waitresses, sales persons, etc.

I probably learned the lessons in totality as life slowly crawled along. Being a first child I was absorbed in my importance as oldest and smartest (HA!) and demanding or impressing those around me. So Mother's lesson converted in my mind I had to 'out-do, out-perform, out-buy, out-learn, out-shine and out-give' for many years, but especially when I entered the work force. It was often a duty, not from the heart.
 Today I know that was not her lesson, but each person's mind does not convert the messenger's message the same as the next.

While a freshman in the university (1956), I had a summer job in a local independent drug store. The hours counted toward my pharmacy practical experience licensure requirement. This was an older version of drugstore with soda fountain, a lunch plate, jewelry, perfume & cosmetic counter, and miscellaneous gifts.

It pleased me to be able to obtain small items my parents used at a discount, one small benefit of my small salary, like cosmetics, toiletries, colognes, etc. I felt I was repaying them in a very small way for all they did for me.

Christmas was big time business at independent drug stores; we even gift wrapped. We were the first small store to have a bow-maker, a big time labor saver in those days, before bows were bought in big packages.

Not having graduated, I lived at home when not at the university.

Even though times were not as rough as in the '40s, having one child in a state university and two more siblings still in public school, but possibly headed to some sort of higher learning, frugality still existed in the family budget.

The meals of pinto (usually) beans and cornbread were frequent. A chicken fried  round steak with milk gravy made in same skillet with crumbs was divided 5 ways. Meatloaf was frequent. I never felt deprived.  I love all three menus to this day.

Internet Photo

When the Christmas items began to arrive at the pharmacy, I began to peruse the "latest" items coming down the pike. A West Bend bean pot (Forerunner to the CrockPot) caught my eye. It was a tad pricey for my salary; after all I had Christmas gifts to buy for 5 family members plus Mother's Christmas Eve birthday.

However, in my mind, as was often the case with all of us, her gifts usually were for both birthday and Christmas. So I reasoned I could gift the bean pot as for dual occasions.

There are no words to describe my pride in what was perceived as a time saver for a meal she frequently cooked. I could hardly wait for Christmas morn. I also perceived it as "grown-up" gift. I was bursting with pride in my gift selection.

As I recently described Christmas was the biggest event of the year as Dad had big bonuses, and certain premium gifts from companies with which he did business. Then there was the family Christmas gift and the S & H Green Stamps gift which Mother selected.
Internet Photo

I do not remember when Mother opened the gift, her birthday, or Christmas Day. She immediately laughed and said now she had two of them, as I would soon see. She then opened the Green Stamp gift which was identical in every respect.

She saw how disappointed I was, and said "great minds run in the same channel" but it was not even a little comforting to me. Nor would she let me take it back for a different gift. She did not believe in returning or re-gifting. However, a few years later when I set up my first apartment one of the two ended up with me.

Years later I remembered the wise man Solomon in Proverbs 16:18, said "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall." I probably was guilty of a little of both way back when I was pretty full of myself.

Generosity and charitable acts are more than gifts. My husband had these traits when he had nothing.  I've learned from him; yet I prefer to work through organizational efforts and in different areas than he does. As I have matured spiritually and his generous spirit, we are more fortuitively blessed to be able to recognize and spontaneously help when need arise, than we once were.


The ductwork is completed; hate to see the electric bill from all the space heaters we used for a week.
The housekeeper is well and worked yesterday.

The computer shuffle is continuing.

The medical dilemma still exists; I am dealing better with it.

I now have bronchitis, coughing my head off.

Today I connected the humidifier and water trap wrong on the oxygenator--have water everywhere.  Then I was told to only use distilled water (we had bottled drinking water). NOWHERE in the literature does it say DISTILLED water, which I pointed out to the representative I saw earlier in the day. I do have Distilled water in the house.

The water backed out my nasal cannula onto the floor and sounded like a waterfall beside my chair, except no goldfish, frogs  and lily pads. I am thankful the cannula was NOT in my nose!

More frozen precipitation is due late tonight, so I that furry rodent, the overstuffed ground hog, is way off in his prediction, but we'll see.