Friday, December 18, 2009

Merry Christams and Happy New Year to All

Blogging is so rewarding.  Yesterday I received a bottle of wine from a blogging friend and another delightful blogging friend and her husband took me on a photography ride to Saguaro National Monument.  It was truly a red letter day.

I will not share the wine with you, but I can share the results of my photo excursion.  Please click on the link below to see the album of my photographs.  You will also see a photo of my blogging friends, lovely Rain of Rainy Day Thoughts and her hunky husband Paul.  (Sorry, I couldn't resist.)

This will be my last post until next year.   My daughter surprised me with an invitation to her home in California for the holidays.  I leave Tuesday and will return on January 3, when I hope to catch up on what has been happening in blogging land while I was gone.  

May we see peace in 2010 and the end of the health insurance debate.  The opportunity to have meaningful reform has been squandered for another generation.  Too bad that greed, nasty politics, and self-serving representatives kept our country from moving into the 21st Century.  This trip to spend the holidays with my family is the only thing that is keeping me from deep depression over the sheer stupidity of our legislators.

Betty and yours truly at the end of our wonderful day.  My hair is windblown and I do look like the Flying Nun ready for a take off.  This photo was taken by Paul.    Betty graciously forwarded it to me.


Monday, December 14, 2009

Washington, D. C. Neanderthals

This morning I have way too many things that need my attention.  Make it, this week.  I really don't have time to write a post.  Having said that, here I go. 

 I just read an op-ed piece that makes my blood boil.   I have posted the link at the end and hope you will read what our Republican friends are up to now, aided and abetted by our turncoat Democrats.  

As Ronni Bennett of Time Goes By says, why do we keep electing these clowns?  It seems they are on a mission to completely destroy our wonderful country.  I have never seen such complete idiocy as the rants I watch on C-Span when our esteemed neanderthal legislators open their mouths.   They are disingenuous;  they are the biggest liars walking on two feet.  The way they distort facts is completely unprincipled.    All the Republicans care about is bringing down Obama.  Never mind that he inherited the biggest mess in history ever handed to an incoming president.  A mess that was created by their party.   It doesn't matter if they bring down the rest of the country with him.  As for those Blue Dog Democrats; their mission is to placate the tea bagger idiots at home so they can be re-elected by the uninformed.   And, of course, there's the money.  Follow it and watch how your representatives voted. Finally, there's Joe Lieberman; don't get me started.

Health care reform is virtually down the tubes now.  Reid and Pelosi have caved on the Public Option.  All that is left is a few minor restrictions on the insurance industry and a giant sop to them.  Now they will have millions of new clients that are young, healthy and forced to buy insurance.  What a boondoggle.  I am for throwing all the b------s out next election.

Next on their list is banking reform.  Don't hold your breath.  It will probably go the way of health care reform.  No wonder the Europeans are amazed at our stupidity. 

I hope you will follow this link and read what Paul Krugman has to say about the Republicans, 27 Democrats and the economy.

 Note:  After posting this I went to Tom Degan's blog, The Rant, and found that he had written on the same subject.   There is much more information on his post and I think you will find he is as angry about the D. C. screw-ups as I am.  He calls it like it is and has done more research on his post.  It's  good !!   Here's the link:

Monday, December 7, 2009

Health Care Reform Information

If you want a giggle go to the post below this one. I had to remove it in order to post this important health care reform informtaion.

This information came from "Move On".  The link was nearly as long as the article so I copied and pasted it.  If you find things you either agree, or disagree, with please continue to contact your legislators.    Go to the government site for their telephone numbers, addresses, and e-mail contact.  

A handwritten letter is best, but time is of the essence.  It only takes a minute to make a phone call and if you can't get through to the D. C. number, they all have local office telephone numbers you can call.

Here's Where We Are

The House of Representatives passed their bill last month. The Senate is aiming to pass its version before Christmas.
Overall, both pieces of legislation would do four major things:

  • Create a "Health Insurance Exchange." The bills create a one-stop marketplace where people can choose from various insurance plans, including the public option. The details aren't set yet, but initially the Exchange would likely be open to the self-employed, people without insurance at work, and small businesses.1 The key with the Exchange is that it brings "the bargaining power and scale that's generally accessible only to large employers" to individuals—and with that, lower costs and better options.2
  • Provide insurance to over 30 million more people. The House bill would expand coverage to 36 million people by 2019. The Senate bill extends coverage to 31 million.3
  • Outlaw discrimination based on pre-existing conditions and gender. Insurance companies will have to stop denying coverage to people with "pre-existing conditions." And they won't be allowed to charge women more than men for the same coverage.4
  • Eliminate coverage limits and price-gouging. The bills differ on some details, but in general would place limits on how much people have to pay for health care beyond their premiums. They both cap out-of-pocket costs and ban insurance companies from setting limits on how much health care they'll cover for a person each year.5
Of course, the devil is in the details, and much in these bills still needs work.

Here's what still needs to be fixed:

  • Both bills leave millions uninsured. The House bill leaves 18 million without insurance in 2019; the Senate bill, 24 million. Neither comes close to the vision for universal coverage so many of us fought for for years. We'll all need to fight to continue to expand coverage in the bills this year, and in the years to come.6
  • The Senate public option is weak, and conservatives are pushing to make it weaker. The public option is a core piece of reform that will create real accountability and competition for private insurance—and that's why it's at the center of such a huge fight. While the House bill creates a national public option, the Senate lets states opt out, denying their residents access to it. Plus, conservatives are working to weaken it even more. We're all going to have to fight hard for the strongest version possible.7
  • Many reforms don't start quickly enough. While some pieces of reform go into effect right away, the larger structural changes are not scheduled to go into effect until 2013 (House bill) or 2014 (Senate bill). This includes the Exchange, the public option, and subsidies—the major ways coverage will be expanded.8
  • Required insurance could still be too expensive for many. Both bills require virtually all Americans to have insurance. But the caps on how much we're expected to pay are way too high, and the subsidies are way too low. Many progressives are working to fix this, but it's going to be a significant fight.9
  • Reproductive rights are severely restricted in the House bill. An egregious anti-choice amendment in the bill virtually prohibits anyone purchasing insurance in the Exchange from buying a plan that covers abortion—even if paid for with their own money. We need to make sure the final bill doesn't include this rollback of reproductive rights.10 
  • The Senate bill could discriminate against lower income workers. The current Senate legislation retains a version of what's called the "free rider" provision, which essentially penalizes employers for hiring lower income workers. This provision needs to be fixed before the bill is finalized.
There's a lot going on in these bills, and we're all going to need to be vigilant to ensure the good pieces end up in the final bill, and the bad ones are fixed. It's going to be a rocky ride. But if we fight together, we'll come out stronger in the end.
Thank you, as always, for everything you do.
–Justin, Adam, Amy, Anna, Annie, Carrie, Christopher, Daniel, Danielle, Eli, Emily, Gail, Ian, Ilya, Ilyse, Joan, Jodeen, Kat, Keauna, Laura, Lenore, Marika, Matt, Matthew, Melanie, Michael, Nita, Noah, Peter, Scott, Stephen, Steven, Susannah, and Wes
P.S. Check out more about the House bill here and the Senate bill here or here, and see what the impact of reform would be in your state here. If you want to read the full bills, for the House, click here or here (PDF), and for the Senate, here or here (PDF).
1.  "A Health Insurance Exchange: The Fine Print," The New York Times, August 20, 2009

"Health Reform at a Glance: The Health Insurance Exchange,"  House Committees on Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce, and Education and Labor, July 14, 2009

2. "Health Insurance Exchanges: The Most Important, Undernoticed Part of Health Reform," The Washington Post, June 16, 2009

3. "H.R. 3962, Affordable Health Care for America Act," Congressional Budget Office, November 20, 2009

"Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act," Congressional Budget Office, November 18, 2009

4. "Top 10 Ways Health Insurance Reform Works for You," The Speaker of the House, October 29, 2009

"How Health Insurance Reform Will Help Your Family," Senate Democratic Policy Committee

"Meeting Women's Health Care Needs," The Speaker of the House

"Reports on Health Insurance Reform—Women," Senate Democratic Policy Committee

5. "Top 10 Ways Health Insurance Reform Works for You," The Speaker of the House, October 29, 2009

"How Health Insurance Reform Will Help Your Family," Senate Democratic Policy Committee

6. "H.R. 3962, Affordable Health Care for America Act," Congressional Budget Office, November 20, 2009

"Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act," Congressional Budget Office, November 18, 2009

"REPORT: How the Senate Bill Compares to Other Reform Legislation," Think Progress, November 19, 2009

7. "Sen. Reid Announces 'Opt Out' Public Plan," The New York Times, October 26, 2009

"Carper: Conservative Democrats Not Likely To Support Senate Public Option," Talking Points Memo, November 17, 2009

8. "Top 14 Provisions That Take Effect Immediately," The Speaker of the House

"What happens before 2014?" The Washington Post, November 19, 2009

"Senate, House Democratic health bills compared," The Associated Press, November 18, 2009

9. "The Details of The New Merged Senate Bill," Think Progress, November 18, 2009

"REPORT: How the Senate Bill Compares to Other Reform Legislation," Think Progress, November 19, 2009

"Analysis: How the Senate health care bill stacks up with the House health care bill," Think Progress, November 19, 2009

10. "The Ban on Abortion Coverage," The New York Times, November 9, 2009

11. "The noxious 'free rider' provision," The Washington Post, November 25, 2009

"Senate Health Bill Improves Employer Responsibility Provision," Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, November 19, 2009

"The Baucus Bill: The Worst Policy in the Bill, and Possibly in the World," The Washington Post, September 16, 2009

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Laughter Is The Best Medicine

I'm still healing and I really don't feel like sitting long enough to write a rant.  I know you will probably appreciate a few giggles instead.  This way we both will be happy. 

As You Slide Down the Banister of Life, Remember

1. Jim Baker and Jimmy Swaggert have written
An impressive new book. It's called .........
'Ministers Do More Than Lay People'

2. Transvestite: A guy who likes to eat, drink
And be Mary.

3. The difference between the Pope and
Your boss, the Pope only expects you
To kiss his ring.

4. My mind works like lightning, One brilliant
Flash and it is gone.

5. The only time the world beats a path to
Your door is if you're in the bathroom.

6. I hate sex in the movies. Tried it once.
The seat folded up, the drink spilled and
That ice, well, it really chilled the mood.

7. It used to be only death and taxes
Now, of course, there's
shipping and handling, too.

8.. A husband is someone who, after taking
the trash out, gives the impression that
he just cleaned the whole house.

9 My next house will have no kitchen - just
Vending machines and a large trash can.

10. A blonde said, 'I was worried that my
Mechanic might try to rip me off.
I was relieved when he told me all
I needed was turn signal fluid.'

11.. Definition of a teenager?
God's punishment for enjoying sex.

12. As you slide down the banister of life, may
The splinters never point the wrong way.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The President's Speech

Some of my readers already know that my computer was down for nearly four days.  Monday night I got back on line and within an hour of doing so I fell and hurt my back.  Blogging has not been possible during the interim.  Even though I am not very alert right now due to constant pain, I feel compelled to comment on the President's speech last night.

As I viewed the President delivering his long awaited speech I looked at the faces of those young plebes who were watching with full attention and wondered how many of them would die in an unwinnable war.  They looked so trusting and so very young.  They are among the finest of our young people and to think that some of their lives will end or be ruined in a mideaval county is appalling to me.

We cannot afford this war. The object, as stated by the president, is to dismantle Al Quaeda. It's a fool's errand. Al Quaeda is also in Somalia, and many other countries. Are we going to follow them wherever they are?    They will always be able to find a safe haven in another backward country and will continue to plot to kill as many Americans as they can.  I am sure there are cells in our country right now planning to wreak destruction.   Killing one man, Osama bin Laden, would never stop the fanatics either.

If the object of being in Afghanistan is to provide safety for the U. S. (As claimed by the President) some of the money would be far better spent securing the cargo that comes into our ports daily and to beef up our intelligence and share the information with the agencies responsible for security. 

Nation building should be the responsibility of the nation being helped and not ours.  Our own infrastructure is crumbling so why should we spend our wealth building roads in a backward country?  If it were possible to bring Afghanistan into the 21st Century it would take so many years and so much money we would bankrupt ourselves in the process.  

I have never been an isolationist.  It is a small world, after all.  Nonetheless, common sense must prevail as to how our aid is distributed to other countries.  I view Afghanistan as beyond help.  The government is corrupt and without the Afghan government's cooperation, it is a lost cause.

I am, however, concerned about nuclear weapons in Pakistan falling into the hands of the extremests.  I have no doubt that they would use them.    Our concentration should be on doing away with these terrible weapons world wide. 

George Santayana's familiar quote, "Those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it." was never more appropriate than now.   Afghanistan is becoming another Viet Nam.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

I Was Cursed


Some of you may remember that I was getting a new hip a year ago today after falling the day before.  Because I ended up at Urgent Care another Thanksgiving getting my head stitched up after another fall, I decided I was under a Thanksgiving curse.

The curse is still with me, only it's not my body that suffered this time.  Yesterday my computer crashed big time and I was unable to get the desktop, much less get on line.  I gave it up and read my book. 

Then last night I turned a small portable heater on in my bathroom and closed the door so the room could warm up for my shower.  A few minutes later I tried to open the door.  It was locked.  Now I know the curse of the holiday was in full swing because I never lock that door.  I live alone and there has never been the necessity to do so.  Unfortunately, there was no way to open the door or remove the door knob.  I know that an evil elf put a Thanksgiving curse on me and locked that door.  Maybe it's my ghost from Thanksgiving past.  I must have failed to invite him to my feast one year.  (Memo to evil elf; enough already!!!!)

My good friend, who is also my computer guru, came over and helped with both problems.  He had to take a hacksaw to the door knob and use lots of energy trying to get it unlocked.  Then he tried to solve my computer mess and ended up reinstalling windows.  Of course I have lost my music, photos, programs, etc.  You know what I will be doing all week. 

Therefore, I will probably not be posting or commenting on your blogs. I just want you to know that I will play catch up as time allows and hope you will stop by to see what I'm up to.  (Probably up to my ears in trouble.  Frustration will be my state of mind.  I will really need that 'Oh Shit' key on my keyboard. ;-).

Enjoy your feast and I will enjoy one tonight.  I have banished the curse with this post. Having exposed the witch or elf that cursed me I think I have put an end to Thanksgiving woes.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Computer Humor

I am having all kinds of computer woes and it would be my guess that I am not alone.  Before throwing the darn thing out the window I got this in my e-mail and laughter saved the day.


  Are you laughing? 

Monday, November 23, 2009

Hard Times

On my last post I made the statement that this is the worst economic downturn I could remember since the Great Depression.  That prompted a comment requesting me to write about the Great Depression and how it impacted my life.  

The economists keep telling us that we are in a Recession and that the stimulus package kept us from sliding into a Depression.  I have no doubt that this is true, but I am sure it feels like a Depression to the millions who have lost their jobs and homes.  The Washington Post just reported that the number of mortgages that are delinquent has risen to 14%.  The jobless rate is over 10%.  Try telling those unfortunate people that this isn't the same as a Depression.  

For the wealthy, things couldn't be better.  Some will take advantage of the misfortune of the losers and buy up those mortgages at pennies on the dollar.  CEO's that caused this disaster walk away with billions.  Is it no wonder that people are angry?

Since I have 'been there and done that' I will try to recreate what life was like during the Great Depression.  Because there was no Workman's Compensation the unfortunate jobless  had to scrounge any way they could to feed their families.  I don't think a day went by without several salesmen ringing our front doorbell selling can openers, home made furniture, Bibles, or anything else they could peddle for a small commission.  Other men knocked on the back door begging for any kind of work in exchange for a meal.  Bread lines were long and pathetic.  Still other men without travel money rode the rails to another part of the country where they hoped to find work.  

My husband's brother-in-law was one of those men.  He was a trucker by profession and he was out of a job.  He boarded a box car in California in the winter and nearly froze to death.  When the train stopped in Utah he was treated to a hot meal and warm clothing by the Salvation Army and he blessed them the rest of his life for saving him.  His story was not unique.   

The lucky ones who still had a job helped the less fortunate in any way they could.  My grandmother gave a party each Saturday night for the entire neighborhood.  Because nearly everyone was in the same boat, there was no shame in being hard up.  But people needed an escape from the worry and cares of every day life.  Few had money for an evening out, so the parties were well attended.  The meal was always a pot luck and people brought what they could.  My grandmother would play the piano for dancing and would be joined by anyone who could play an instrument.  The whole family was invited so the children had some fun too.

I was more fortunate than some children.  My grandmother was able to support my mother and  me; my Uncle and his wife and son; as well as helping strangers.  Nonetheless, I was not privileged.  My birthday presents were predictable.  Hair ribbons and panties.  I had two pair of shoes.  When school started I would get new school shoes.  When I outgrew them my Sunday shoes became school shoes and I would get new Sunday shoes.  I got two new dresses when school started.  Some children wore hand-me-downs from a charity or a friend.  

I was not spoiled materially because my family would have felt guilty if I had more than other children.  I never knew what it was like to go hungry, but it was drilled into me from day one that I was never to waste food.  I was only to take as much on my plate as I could eat and, believe me, I had better eat every scrap I took.

I will tell of two examples of how difficult times were for some families.  A little girl who attended my elementary school wore glasses provided to her by welfare.  One day her glasses got broken on the play ground and she burst into tears because she had been told to take good care of them; she would not be given another pair.

One Halloween some of us were going trick or treating and we knocked at the door of a very humble house.  The man opened the door and there must have been 6 or 8 children in that family.  They had a big barrel of apples that had been donated to them.  Some of the apples were rotten, but he offered an apple to each of us.  I remember not wanting to take it because I knew that might be the most food they had.  (It will probably shock some people to know that this kind of hunger still exists in our country.)

John Steinbeck's award winning novel, 'The Grapes Of Wrath' is not only a good read, but it will tell you more about what the Depression was like than I could.  The Dust Bowl caused Kansas and Oklahoma farmer's to migrate to California and Steinbeck has captured that era perfectly. 

What was life like then for the middle class?  We learned to value things, we learned to entertain ourselves, and we learned thrift.  That meant that we took care of our possessions.  It meant that we did things as a family.  If there was enough money for gas, we took a Sunday drive.  We played checkers, dominoes and card games for entertainment.  We saved our money for a future indulgence.  In the summer a big evening for us was driving to Manitou Springs to fill up jugs with mineral water.  If we felt 'flush' we stopped for a root beer float.  To today's kids, that would be a dull outing, but to me it was an exciting event.

Most people helped each other and were compassionate.  Sadly the other side of the coin were the greedy unprincipled men that had money and used the dire circumstances of others to further their wealth.  We had a neighbor who had been gassed during WW I and he had a pension.  When the value of the dollar plummeted, his pension remained the same allowing him more money than he needed to survive.  I suppose you could call him an entrepreneur, but that would not be my name for him.  He haunted the Court House and searched the records for delinquent taxes.  Those were usually owed by widows.  He then paid the taxes, took over the property and evicted the unfortunate owner.   I wish I could say that he was an isolated example, but it is not so.  All over the country such men got wealthy on the misfortune of others.

Itinerant preachers were numerous.  Many of them became wealthy because the gullible would give them money they could not afford.  Evangelical preachers were followed because people were looking for something to hang on to.  Aimee Semple McPherson was one such preacher.  She was involved in an scandal involving an extramarital affair, but before that happened she became extremely wealthy. 

I hope the 'powers that be' can avoid another Depression.  For some it is already happening.  We need men of wisdom to guide this country so it doesn't fall into the abyss again.  We need strong leaders who will put restrictions on the lending institutions so we don't fall down this rabbit hole once more.  We need patience and guidance.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Laws

I am weary of the talking heads on TV when all they can do is parrot each other on inane subjects like the Balloon Boy, Sarah Palin and her book of fantasy and other useless subjects.  I think if the world were coming to an end and Betty Boop were reincarnated we would hear about Betty endlessly and there would only be a brief notice in passing that this was to be our last day on earth.

On second thought, that might be news because it's dramatic.  The news is, after all, about entertainment.  It would be most entertaining to see people panic.

Okay, I'm exaggerating.   I am not exaggerating when I state that I am not the only person who doesn't have a clue about what to do about the economy.  This morning's NY Times had two diametriclly opposite views on whether Timothy Gaithner had done a good job or not.  Paul Krugman, a Nobel Prize winning economistn said 'no' and David Brooks, Conservative columnist, said 'yes.' 

I confess, David Brooks is a conservative whom I admire and read.  He presents his case with thoughtful reason.  Having said that, I would rather go with an economist's opinion than a columnists.

If you want to read the op-ed pieces here are the links:

I will leave it to the experts to fight it out.  All I know is that I haven't seen it this bad since I was a child during the Great Depression.  Call me a pessimist, but I am very sure it is going to get much worse for the average guy before it gets better.  

Since I am unable to make a rational comment on this I will leave you with some giggles to take your mind off of the depressing news.


 Law of Mechanical Repair:  After your hands become coated with grease, your nose will begin to itch and you'll have to pee. 

 Law of Gravity:  Any small important part when dropped, will roll to the most inaccessible place.

Law of Probability The probability of being watched is directly proportional to the stupidity of your act.

 Law of Random Numbers:  If you dial a wrong number, you never get a busy signal, and someone always answers.

 Law of the Alibi:  If you tell the boss you were late for work because you had a flat tire, the very next morning you will have a flat tire. 

Law of the Bath:  When a body is fully immersed in water, the telephone will ring. 

Law of Close Encounters:  The probability of meeting someone you know increases dramatically when you are already with someone you shouldn't be with.

 Law of the Result:  When you try to prove to someone that a machine won't work, it will.

 Law of Bio-mechanics:  The severity of an itch is directly proportional to the square of the difficulty to reach it. 

 Law of the Theater:  At any event, the people whose seats are furthest from the aisle arrive last. 

Starbuck's Law:  As soon as you sit down to enjoy a cup of hot coffee, your boss will ask you to do something that will take until the coffee has become cold.

 Murphy's Law of Lockers:  If there are only two people in a locker room, they will be issued immediately adjacent lockers. 

Law of Physical Surfaces:  The possibility of an open-faced jelly sandwich landing face down on a floor covering directly correlates to the combined newness and value of the carpet. 

Brown's Law of Physical Appearance:  If the shoe fits, it's ugly. 

Wilson's Law of Commercial Marketing Strategy:  As soon as you find a product that you really like, they will stop making it. 

 Doctors' Law:  If you don't feel well, make an appointment to go to the doctor. By the time you get there, you will have recovered. If you don't make an appointment to see the doctor, you will get worse. 

 Law of Logical Argument:  Anything is always possible if you don't know what you are talking about.

 Law of Healthy Food:   If it tastes good, spit it out.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

New Wine For Elders

I am busy today and will refer you to one of my favorite blogs. 
If you want to read a really good blog head over to
"The Rant" by Tom Degan.   He is a master of satire and
his take on politics matches my own.  He gets some lively
debates going because some of his followers are as far right as Tom
is to the left.  It's great fun.
He wrote a post today that I wish I had written on Sarah Palin. 
While I vowed to never give her the time of day again,  I 
really enjoyed Tom's rant.  Here is the link: 
You can tell from my photo that I still enjoy  good wine and when this
arrived in my e-mail I just had to share.
kid you not....
a new wine
for elders

has been 

California Vinters in the Napa Valley
area,which primarily produce 
Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir and Pinot 
Grigio wines have developed  a 
new hybrid grape that acts as an

It is expected to reduce the
number of trips older people
have to make to the bathroom
during the night. 

The new wine will be marketed as 



I just couldn't help it. 


Monday, November 16, 2009

Long Term Care Awareness Month

Like most elderly, I want to remain independent and in my own home until I die. My greatest fear is of having an illness so debilitating that I can no longer do that.  I am not alone in my worst nightmare because we elderly do not want to burden our families.  Therefore, unless we are wealthy we must enter a nursing home or allow a loved one to give up part of their life being our caregiver. Neither one is a palatable option.  

This is a subject that you don't hear much about in the debates on the pending health care reform legislation.  For those of us in our declining years it is a subject that is of primary concern and should be addressed.  

In my grandparent's day there was no social security or medicare.  When aging parents were no longer able to live alone a loved one would step in and move the elderly relative into their home.  Quite often this was an unhappy event for all concerned.  My grandfather died at home and my grandmother, a fiercely independent business woman, continued working and helping to support her children.  She was the provider for her son, daughter and their families during most of the Great Depression.   After the death of my grandfather she continued to provide for my mother and me although my Mom had remarried.  

Then my grandmother, in her 70's, broke her hip and she was no longer able to run her business.  She owned a Cottage Court and Trailer Park that catered to tourists.  My mom and step-father moved into my grandmother's home and took over.  My step-father was a very lazy man and he resented having to take money from my grandmother.  (The psychology of that might be a subject for a future discussion).  As a result, he was not kind to the woman who had taken on the responsibility of providing for him and his family.  After a few months of what must have been bitter unhappiness, my grandmother moved into the home of her sister. 

 I am now older than my grandmother was at that time and I can understand how miserable her last years must have been.  

I have given some thought about what will become of me should a stroke fell me.  I do not have the money for an assisted living place, nor will I burden my children with my care.  What is left?  It is too late to obtain a long term care policy so I have come to the conclusion that my only out would be suicide.  There is the possibility that I will not be  physically able to carry it out.  

Oregon had the best answer for this; the Death with Dignity law.  Doctor assisted suicide  should be the right of anyone in my position.  If you recall, John Ashcroft, Attorney General under George H. W. Bush, sued to make this illegal.  The law remains in effect after the Bush Administration sued and lost the appeal.  (As an aside I have to throw this question in.  What is it about the conservatives that make them think they have to be the guardian of the morals of those who do not believe as they do?)

It would be less expensive for Medicare to pay for in-home care instead of the costly alternative of a nursing home.  Why is this not part of the health care debate?  After all, they will be eliminating Medicare Advantage to pay for the program.

I am posting on this subject not as a 'pity party' issue, but as a wake-up call for those of you who are younger.   I don't think our legislators will help you so my advice to you is to look into Long Term Care insurance.  

 An article on the Huffington Post by Ken Dychtwald, PhD, gerontologist, had some eye opening statistics. 

  • A person who is 65 years old today has a life expectancy of 85 and it continues to rise.
  • Home care is approximately $42,000 per year and a nursing home is $74,000.
  • Nearly 70% of those over 65 will need some type of long term care
  • The children of the elderly are working and/or relocated to another state.

     Long Term Care insurance rates go up as you get older.  I do not believe that politicians will do the sensible thing and include home care in the legislation. If you are younger and can afford it, it would be prudent to check out Long Term Care policies.  We are not all going to "go gentle into that good night". 

    Helpful resources:
    .,, and

    Sunday, November 15, 2009

    TheTrip From Hell

     On one of my solo trips abroad I was with a diverse group of people.   Of course, this is normal when you are traveling with a tour group.  Most people are friendly and very nice but there is always one sour puss that you try to ignore.  On this trip the it was a couple in the group who were constantly complaining and spoiling the happy enjoyment of the rest of us.  Nothing was right; the food was bad, they had to get up too early, etc.  You get the picture.  I will return to them later, but first the Moroccan part of my trip.

    Everyone who has traveled has probably had a trip from hell and this was mine.  It started before I left home.  The Stagecoach Van was to pick me up at 4 am.  I was so worried about not hearing my alarm clock I decided to sleep fully dressed sitting up on my couch so I would be ready to pop out of  the front door when the van arrived.  Needless to say, I got very little sleep.  No worry, I thought, I have hours that I can catch up on sleep on the plane.  When I got the the airport I discovered that my departure gate was at the very end of the furthest concourse.  When I reached the gate for departure to New York the sign was suddenly changed to San Francisco.  My plane had been delayed and another plane would be coming in at that gate.  I was worried about making my connection in NYC because I only had a 3 hour window between connecting flights.    Eventually my plane did arrive; only it was at the gate I originally came in on.  So I trekked back along two long concourses to end up at the gate where I first came in.  Are you with me yet?  If so, you can imagine my stress and the beginning of sheer exhaustion.    By this time I was too tense to sleep.  No problem, I thought, I will sleep on the plane to Madrid.

    When I got to NYC and finally located the gate for Iberia Airlines the plane to Spain was already boarding.  I had to check in and, in doing so, I requested non-smoking.  After they decided that I did have a valid ticket I had to literally run up a flight of stairs and down the concourse to my gate.  Panting, I was the last one to board and they closed the door after me.  I don't like waiting, but this was cutting it way too close.  

    At last I was on my way and could finally relax.  With great relief I found my seat, stowed my overhead carry-on and looked around.  Cigarette packs were stuffed in the other passengers pockets and I discovered I was in the smoking section.  I asked the flight attendant if I could move to the non-smoking  section.  She was very snippy and told me to find a seat if I could.  The only seat left was next to the galley and the crew gathered there to chat all night; lights on, of course.    Eventually dinner was served and it included a packet of Italian dressing.  My tray was broken and tilted to the left.  I opened the dressing and laid it on the tray.  Since this was the trip from hell when everything was going to go wrong it slid off and spilled on my skirt making a big oily stain.

    At midnight they showed the movie by Oliver Stone, JFK.   No sleep for me yet.  The young couple next to me were returning home and were Spanish.  Their English was as bad as my Spanish, but they wanted to chat.  We tried mightily to converse all night.   There were lots of giggles, but no sleep.

    I may have gotten a few hours sleep, but it didn't feel like it.  When we arrived in Madrid  we had to change planes to a smaller one and the gate was on the next level up.  The girl who hurriedly told me where it was located was very sparse with directions.  I made it up the escalator and found that this was not your normal airport arrangement.  I had a miserable time trying to find where I was supposed to be but eventually I saw a sign pointing the right direction.  By this time I was becoming a basket case from lack of sleep and stress.  

    Ah, but that was not to be the end of my woes.  My luggage didn't arrive.  Then our guide announced that we had to be up at 3 am to take the bus to the port where we would get the Ferry for Morocco.  Oh happy day; another sleepless night.  I didn't even have time for jet lag.  

    We were in Morocco ten days and my suitcase never arrived.  However, that turned out to be a great ice breaker because people on the tour had great fun telling me how much they loved my dress each evening when I came down for dinner wearing the same stained knit.  It was almost worth having to wash my undies each night and putting them on damp in the morning to get that friendly teasing.  I do love being the center of attention.  One kind woman finally loaned me a blouse and skirt and at last I had a new outfit to wear.  I guess she got as tired of seeing my hot pink dress as I did of wearing it.


    The ancient city gate.  The King's Palace.  The Souk.  (click to enlarge)


    This turned out to be an exciting trip and I did enjoy seeing a different culture.  The morning we left I had to cross the swimming pool area to get to the dining room for breakfast.  As I didn't have any luggage to put outside my door I carried everything in my purse and it was heavy. I foolishly decided to leave it in my room when I went to breakfast.  Big, huge, ENORMOUS mistake.   When I returned to leave my room for the last time I opened my billfold to get the American dollars that I used for tipping intending to leave a gratuity for the maid.  Poor girl; she got zilch.   My dollars were gone, my Spanish Pesatas were gone, and my Moroccan Rials were missing.  I had been robbed.   There was not time to call the police, but it would have done no good anyhow.  Your know, we rich Americans have so much money we should be happy to share the wealth.  (If they only knew how I scrimped to make that trip.)   Well, to quote an old cliche; live and learn.

    We only had one more night in Morocco and my meals were covered so I waited until I got back to Spain to cash a traveler's check.  Fortunately, my passport, credit card, traveler's checks  and airline tickets were in a neck safe that I wore under my dress. 

    After we arrived in Spain the coach stopped for lunch at a horrors McDonald's restaurant.  
    Because I still didn't have any cash I sat and watched my tour friends scarf their lunch.  Now, back to the couple who griped.  In Spain we were housed in a hotel with mini kitchens and we were free to make our own meals.  I watched as the female complainer filled her very large bag with handfuls of napkins, condiments, and other freebies.  I thought , it figures; the ones who make the most fuss are the ones who are capable of petty theft. 

    I wish I could say my problems were over, but during my time in Spain I caught a cold, pulled a muscle in my shoulder and was not feeling up to par.  Nonetheless, I saw some wonderful things and enjoyed the thrill of that.  

    I took a trip to Gibraltar where I purchased four David Winter cottages.  (I was a collector at that time).  The cottages are small but the boxes are large.  When we were to leave Malaga for Madrid I had three carry-ons; my purse, the shoulder bag furnished by the tour company and my sack containing the cottages.  I got to the door of the plane and a man standing there folded his arms across his chest and sternly told me to step back.  He informed me that I could not get on the plane because I had too many carry-ons.  I said I had to board because I was going home.  He was adamant that I was not to board that plane.  I was naive and I now think that if I had given him $20 I would have been swiftly allowed to board.  It just didn't occur to me, probably because that was the last $20 I had.  (I travel light and it was much lighter after being robbed.)  Just before I was ready to burst into tears a fellow traveler behind me asked me what was wrong.  I explained the situation to her and, as she only had her handbag, she took mine from me and said, "Come on."  The fury on the little despots face was fun to see.  I thought he was going to explode.

    We arrived at Madrid only to find that fog had grounded all planes.  We were stranded for three hours and there weren't enough seats for all the passengers.  I stood up the entire time while waiting for the air to clear.  By now I was getting used to glitches and half way expected it.  When we were finally airborne I breathed a sigh of relief.  I was in one piece and was headed home, complete with my David Winter cottages.

    Did you ask if I had more problems?  Well, remember the name of this trip so of course I did.  Because the plane from Madrid was late most of us missed our connections at JFK.  
    There were two long lines of people trying to get hotel rooms and I didn't want to spoil my losing streak by getting in the right line.  By the time I got to the desk I must have become invisible because the people on the other side totally ignored me.  After what seemed like hours a representative from the tour company came up and asked me if I was being helped.  Me? Get attention?  You jest.  She slammed her fist on the counter and said in her best Brooklyn accent, "Let's have a little service here."   That got their attention.   I asked them to call my daughter to tell her I would be delayed and they promised to do so, but they didn't.  Are you surprised?  My daughter  went to the airport to pick me up and there was no Mom.  (Now we are wiser and we call before leaving the house, air travel being what it is.)

    But all is well that ends well.  Because I didn't have a reservation on the morning flight I was stuck at the very back of the plane.  By the time they got to me for breakfast they were out of orange juice and coffee.  A very good looking young flight attendant started giving me special service and made coffee for me.  My ear plugs were broken and he gave me a new pair.  I was being treated like a queen for the first time in my life and didn't really know what I had done to deserve this special attention.  After the attendant was through with his duties he sat on the arm of my seat and said, "You look just like my Mom."  Sometimes it pays to have a double.

    I have a friend who is a world traveler and he told me that it's the things that go wrong that make for interesting conversation when you get home.  If he is right I hope you enjoyed reading about my experience and I promise not to bore you with a story of the trips when everything went went right. 

    A post script to this tale.  I kept in touch with that young flight attendant for years,  One year my card to him came back undelivered.  I never heard from him again and will always wonder if he is okay.  And the final end to the story is, if I had to do it over again including  all of the things that went wrong I would do it in a heartbeat exactly the same way.