Tuesday, May 29, 2012

DOES THIS MAKE SENSE ??? … it sure does to the powerful Drug and Insurance industries !

In 2000 I had a bad case of acid reflux and underwent an operation to correct it. That really seemed to cure the problem but about 6 months ago I started to feel a choking sensation in my throat and my Doctor recommended an esophageal barium swallow xray. The result is that there in no obstruction but acid is coming back up from my stomach mimicking the closed throat sensation.

Long story short my Doctor prescribed Omeprazole (which is the generic for Prilosec). He called the RX in to Walmart and I went there today to get it. I almost passed out when the girl gave it to me because the charge was $86 and change ! “Wait a minute,” I said, “I can get it over the counter for about a quarter of that”… to which the girl replied that it was called in by a Dr. so it had to be charged at the PRESCRIPTION PRICE and evidently my insurance wouldn’t pay for it.

Now, the interesting thing is that I did a lot of research when Medicare D (the prescription drug program) came out and decided that it was way too costly for the few meds I’m on … even with the sneaky little scare tactic that the Insurance companies put in where I’ll be charged a hefty late enrollment penalty if I ever decide to join. I opted to not have any drug insurance coverage … so, of course this prescription charge wasn’t covered.

Well I’m sure you can guess the rest. I refused to take the Dr. ordered pills and, instead, bought the exact same OTC meds and the total cost was less than $20. What this boils down to is that those with drug coverage will gladly pay the 20% that‘s not covered (around $18) … feeling secure in the fact that the medication has been prescribed by their Doctor… never realizing that the price has been inflated so that the drug and insurance companies receive a larger cut.

This is just a small example of how the mega drug and insurance companies work together and the “little guy” is, once again, left paying the bill … literally ! It would be very interesting to research this and to find out how many other medications fit into this scenario.

Friday, May 25, 2012

U-PIC Strawberry Fields …

My daughter (who lives in New York) was surprised that we (in North Carolina) still have fields producing strawberries this late in the season … but we do and that’s me getting ready to hand pick them at just $1 per pound !

Admittedly the field was nowhere near as full of strawberries as it had been earlier but I was still able to fill the bucket in less than 20 minutes. When I got home I froze a bunch and still had plenty of fresh ones for my cereal… all for the total cost of $5.45.

The whole experience reminded me of when I was a child and we would celebrate the first Sunday of strawberry season with pancakes covered with real home-made whipped cream and topped with the berries we had picked. It didn’t get much better than that !!

Writing this makes me wish I’d picked more and, since the owner said that they will stay open until June 1st I think I’ll do just that.

Monday, May 21, 2012

YIKES !!! unbelievable ...

Look at the picture of this lovely church. It is the Providence Road Baptist Church in Maiden, North Carolina and it proudly considers itself “the home of old time religion”. Now take a look at the pastor of that church, Charles Worley.

They sure look benign don’t they? The good pastor even has this statement on his “Pastor’s Page” : Thank you for visiting our Web Site. Our heart's desire is to spread the Gospel to as many people as possible before our Lord's return.

Now listen to what that same pastor had to say in his rant against President Obamas endorsement of same sex marriage. “Let’s put all the queers and lesbians behind electric fences and let them die. Build a great, big, large fence -- 150 or 100 mile long -- put all the lesbians in there. Do the same thing for the queers and the homosexuals and have that fence electrified so they can't get out...and you know what, in a few years, they'll die out...do you know why? They can't reproduce!"

Can you believe the stupidity of that statement … and how can they, in good faith, spread the “word of God” and have it couched in such terms of hatred ? I am not a churchgoer but if I were I would certainly choose one that preached love of our fellow man … not death to those who didn’t follow our beliefs.

The one thing that our world does not have enough of is LOVE and I believe that we should embrace it in whatever form it comes.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Thinning the garden ??? Don’t throw these away !

I enjoyed a lovely home-grown luncheon with a friend recently. Everything, with the exception of the rolls, came from her “spring” garden and it was truly delicious. It reminded me of the meals I had in Italy where the only vegetables served were those in season … and picked that day.

It also took me back to my childhood when my sisters and I would plant, weed and enjoy the bounty from our garden. My mother, (having just come through the depression years), was extremely frugal and nothing that came from the garden was wasted. This was particularly true when it came to thinning the garden to give room for the heartier plants to thrive.

It was this practice that gave me one of my all time favorite food memories and one that I’ve not had (nor even seen served) for years. I’m talking about whole baby beets with their greens. The ones that are in the picture are actually much larger than the ones we used. We would thin out the crop early in the season and the little beets would be barely the size of marbles.

My mother would braise the beets in butter until the greens wilted and then she’d add chicken stock and simmer, covered, until the teeny beets became tender. Then, using tongs, she would transfer them to a platter, add a little cider vinegar and some fresh chopped mint and, VOILA … a meal fit for a king !

Well, that was more than 50 years ago and I can still remember the taste. You’d think I could have replicated that meal by now but store bought produce just isn’t the same.

Anyone out there have a beet field that needs thinning ???

Sunday, May 13, 2012

What’s up with UP ?????

(This is a shortened version of an email I received and I thought I’d share it with you. I wish I were clever enough to have been the original writer !)

The English word UP has more meanings than any other two-letter word and is listed in the dictionary as an [adv], [prep], [adj], [n] or [v].

It's easy to understand UP , meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP ? At a meeting, why does a topic come UP ? Why do we speak UP , and why are the officers UP for election and why is it UP to the secretary to write UP a report?

Sometimes this little word has special meaning. People stir UP trouble, line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite, and think UP excuses. To be dressed is one thing but to be dressed UP has a completely different meaning. If you argue, you can kiss and make UP.

We seem to be pretty mixed UP about UP ! A drain must be opened UP because it is blocked UP. We open UP a store in the morning but we close it UP at night. I could go on and on but my time is UP …so I'll wrap it UP !

Oh . . . one more thing: What is the first thing you do in the morning and the last thing you do at night?


Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Off to find the “Wild Things” …

The photo above was taken in my guest room where I’ve paid homage to Maurice Sendak for years. You can see how tattered and beloved the book has become. I bought it years ago in the early 60’s and all three of my children grew up following Max and his travels to the land of “the Wild Things”.

Maurice Sendak illustrated all his books, as well as writing them, and in 1964 “Where The Wild Things Are” was awarded the Caldecott Medal, considered the Pulitzer Prize of children’s book illustrations.

I’ve heard him interviewed and he expressed the fact that “growing up gay and Jewish” in the 40’s and 50’s could well have influenced his leaning toward the dark side. Whatever the cause it certainly resonated with my generation. It kind of ended the era of white picket fences and lollipops and brought a different type of reality to the fore… one that so many children could relate to.

It is sad that Maurice Sendak has died but his legacy is so great that he will be forever remembered.

On second thought however I don’t really believe that he’s gone …

I think he’s just out there in the big beyond searching for “The Wild Things” … and I’ll bet he finds them !

Saturday, May 05, 2012

1940’s … Entertaining the troops , WWII

I was 10 years old in 1943 so I‘m sure I didn‘t comprehend all the horrors of war, but I certainly was caught up in the patriotism and excitement that prevailed and when my folks asked what I wanted for my birthday present that year I didn‘t hesitate to say “I want a British sailor”.

I had read about the Union Jack Club in Boston where the officers and enlisted navy men from England gathered in hopes that they would be invited into our homes while awaiting repairs to be made to their ships at the Naval shipyard.

So, off to Boston we went and returned with two lonely and shy sailors. Little did they expect to be thrown into a household of 5 girls ranging in age from 10 to 18 but it wasn’t long before we were all laughing and playing jokes on each other and just becoming acquainted.

But, late that night, I was awakened by an unusual sound and I tip-toed downstairs to see my mother cradling the youngest sailor, barely 16, in her arms. He was sobbing his heart out and I can just imagine the comfort that it gave him to have my mother there for him.

He was just the first of the 126 sailors that we welcomed into our home during the war years and some of them even became “regulars”, taking the train out from Boston whenever they were in town. The war ended and so did our contribution to it... but we kept in touch with many of the boys and one of them and his wife even came back in 1976 for my mother's 80th birthday celebration.

Those days are long gone but Paddy, Burt, Happy, Ron and all the rest of the boys will stay with me forever.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

“The World Is Too Much With Us” … WORDSWORTH

Ever since I studied William Wordsworth, (1770-1830), in college I have been haunted by the first 4 lines of this poem written by him in 1807:

“The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our Powers:
Little we see in Nature that is ours:
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon !”

Wordsworth was 37 when he wrote these lines. He was to become England’s poet laureate in 1843 and is often credited with being the greatest nature poet in the world. It fascinates me that his words ring so true to our world situation today.

To my way of thinking the world IS “too much with us” and I have to fight that every day. I don’t want to “lay waste my Powers” and I need to constantly remind myself that all the “getting and spending” can’t give me more than what the world has to offer for free … not the least being this wonderful poem from William Wordsworth. I will heed his words and try to live by them.