Sunday, October 4, 2009

In Them old Cotton Fields Back Home........

We have lived in these them parts for almost five years now and NEVER have I noticed them cotton fields!!
And they are right there, we drive by them every gosh darn day!

Since I was getting curious about this crop that was growing everywhere, with the white stuff, I decided to take Boo-boo on a walk along the "river" We never made to the actual river, it would have been too long of a walk for her.
The weather was great though. Cool, a little overcast, about 63 degrees. Perfect for a little stroll.
We could have walked from home, but it's about a mile so that was too much for Oma. So we took the car instead of the stroller and parked it right next to the soccer fields.

The Hispanic community plays a bunch of games here on the weekends.
It was a great atmosphere, families all about, kids running around, parents on the sidelines while the daddies played soccer.

We checked out the field and low and behold, it IS cotton! most of it blooming. Amazing!
Boo was thrilled, even though she has no clue why I was so excited. Haha.
But she loved the soft tufts of cotton I had her touch, tried to explain that this stuff is used to make her T shirts and her pants.
It's amazing that this pure cotton actually SMELLS like cotton. Clean and fresh. The pods they pop out of are hard and pointy, and I had a tough time trying to pick a few twigs without pulling the entire plant out.

We walked for about 1/4 of a mile. Saw a bunny rabbit munch on some grass. She got to about ten feet of it before it scampered away.

There is a trail that runs along the river (left of those trees) and it wanders around for about 3 miles and comes back to the soccer fields.

After we visited them cotton fields, we watched the soccer match for a while, Boo wanted to "play" but I convinced her this was for the big guys, so we drove to the park. On the field inside the track the Catholic Church of St. Francis was having an open air mass. Our Catholic Church here, the only one for miles and miles, consists of about 95% Hispanic parishioners. There was quite a crowd. A Mariachi band, and lots of singing. On the playground some of the dads were letting the younger crowd play on the slides and jungle gym (Jim?)

It felt great there, the atmosphere was friendly, warm, people saying hello and good morning, everyone smiling. The men open and friendly, the women shy, tending to their flocks of kids. A different culture, for sure, but it felt good to be around.

After Mass was over the bleachers were put back outside the track, everyone helped clean up, and in about 15 minutes the field was empty. Everyone trucked over to the picnic grounds where the music started up again and the lunch was being served. Boo and I decided to walk around the track. We made it. 1/4 mile. She is the energy bunny.
After getting our toes tickled in the sand box, I had to drag her back to the car.

At home she ate her lunch, and took a decent nap.

It was a pretty nice day. If only I had the energy to take her out like that all the time. Lately though I am feeling it. My back, my hands. You want to be like you were when you were 30, or even 40, but it's just not possible, at least not for me. It's hard taking care of a little child.

Before we went out this morning she wanted to play the drums. I put my Tupperware bowls with lids on the coffee table and handed her a set of wooden spoons. She went nuts!

To think her uncle practiced on those same Tupperware bowls 25 years ago.

Her daddy played the drums too, as well as the guitar, he was actually pretty good. So we're hoping she's got some talent there as well.

She certainly knows her instruments. Even surprised me during a song on a CD I was playing in the car: there's that clarinet again!!!! (she was right!)



Monday, September 28, 2009

The wilderness and Uncle Bert

My uncle and me somewhere...I forget where....might have been Dorrington, California. Top photo might haven been Sequoia Park.

I clearly recall us walking along a road and being kind of lost, but happily singing:

Een vreemde arme snuiter was moede van het wandelen
Was moede moede van het wandelen
Hij was zijn fluit verloren uit zijne mantelzak zak
Uit zijne mantelzak
Dat is niets ik heb gevonden waar jij zo veel van hield tralalala hield tralalala
Waar jij zo veel van hield

We edited the lyrics and it became such a silly song, we both peed our pants laughing.

Ahhh...sometimes this old brain remembers stuff....

Margo...check this out:

And again, Bert would have loved Ken Burns' National Parks program. The second part was as amazing as the first. Very educational and inspirational. Make ya want to go out and watch the buffalo and Old Faithful, live in a cabin in the snow.

This is an amazing country, nature wise. Teddy Roosevelt reminds me of Barack Obama. He also made some huge decisions for change that nobody wanted, but in hindsight, everyone agrees with.

It all takes time, folks, a lot of time and patience.


Cupcakes and early wake-up calls

We had Boo-boo all weekend. The weather was still a bit icky, especially in the afternoon, so I took a brave decision to make cupcakes with her.
She did pretty good! Even cracked an egg without much of a mess, stirred the batter and kept it in the bowl.
And then it was waiting in front of the oven.
Don't worry, I was right there behind her, and the oven doesn't get hot on the outside.

The result was a dozen utterly sweet little cakes with even worse frosting. The stuff that is so sweet it makes your eyes cross.

She looks rather "happy" here, a little high from the sugar rush.
But it was fun!

On Sunday morning at 6 am I sensed someone watching me. I opened my eyes and was nose to nose with a brightly awake toddler. "HI Oma!"
I changed her and got her back in bed for another hour.

We colored, we read books, we watched Sharon, Lois and Bram a dozen times, and in the afternoon we played in our little playground, where she swinged (swung?) for about 15 minutes, urging me to push her higher and higher.
It made ME sick to my stomach. I never was one for swings and slides.
After the swinging we strolled along the neighborhood, discovering ant hills and other delightful treats.
At 2pm I dumped her in bed and we both took a good nap.

At 5 when Bugs came to pick her up I was ready to melt into mush.

After a long hot shower, Wheelie and I settled in front of the tube to watch Ken Burns' National Parks. What a great program, we can't wait to see the rest.

The part about Yosemite made me think of my uncle Bert (Iggy's father) who always loved the outdoors, and I recalled the trips to Sequoia and Yosemite Park back in 1968 and 1969.
He loved American history and nature, and he would have loved this program.

I wasn't much for camping, still am not, but he made me appreciate the American wilderness, the big trees, the waterfalls, the mountains.

Today was our day off. After a trip to the post office, I did my little Kohl's/Starbucks trip and then home to finish the ironing, changing the beds, doing the checkbook, paying some of the bills.

The weatherman promises temps in the 50s after tomorrow (nights) so it's almost time for my beloved flannel sheets again.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Our flood

Taken yesterday, Saturday. 9-26

My camera is going on the blink. Great timing!

Anyway. I took this picture at the height of "our" flood here the other day. It was still raining. This is at the back of my house. There is a runoff space, which I guess works well. But if you can see it, the water almost reached the back porches of the town homes behind us. The stream was about 25 feet wide at the worst time.
Since we're built on "fill" our house is about 6 feet above this, but the line of trees is right at the edge of the water, and I am afraid that if we have a few more floods like this, the earth will erode and the trees will topple, and we will go down the hill.

It was a scary day, Bugs went to work, it took her a while to get there since people were driving like morons driving too fast, spinning out creating chaos on I-75.

Her restaurant lost it's power; the University decided to close, so at least she had some customers, even though the TVs didn't work.

She worried about coming home, not knowing which roads were closed. It was difficult to get a good picture of it. We knew I-575 was closed (all 8 lanes of it) and I-20. Later the perimeter around Atlanta as closed on the southbound part as well. Many areas were flooded, as all those little and not so little (Chattahoochee) were cresting, and flooding roads and neighborhoods, rich ones and poor ones.

Here in Cartersville on a road not far from us, an entire mobile home park was under water.
We never did find out where that was.

I took Boo for a little drive yesterday, and the Etowah river, which meanders through our area, had flooded much of the meadows and fields, but the roads were good.

My little friend Wendy, 7 months pregnant and a 2 year old in tow, posted on Face book at 10:30pm that she was packing up and leaving. When they came back, they discovered that the water came within a foot of their floorboards, but their crawl space was flooded. Where the AC was located. Her backyard was inundated with dead salamanders, and she said everything stank of fish.

Wheelie wondered if I was planning on restocking another flooded Library again, like Bugs and I did 15 or so years ago.

God, I hope he was kidding!

We had our 15 minutes of fame in July of 1994 when I got the bright idea to start collecting children's books for the Rocky Creek library in Macon which flooded and lost a lot of their inventory. They lost all their Caldecott winners and other great children's books.

Somehow we were written up in the paper, and we even were on the evening news, film and all!
Bugs was in gymnastics those days and the owner of the club allowed us to use the facility for book drop off. They even awarded Bugs with a month "free" of gymnastics fees for her community service efforts.

It was a huge job! People gave us good stuff, but also a lot of crap. After we sorted all the books out, it took us three trips down to Macon (with a van, no less) to haul all those books down.

It was a wonderful experience for both of us.

God, where did all that energy go?

So...we're usual...*knock on wood*

We seem to be living in a small corner of Georgia where we don't get hit by bad weather too much.

Let's keep it that way.

And for those people who were not so lucky. I wish them well. I know there's a lot of help out there.


Damn shoes

The past few weeks I've been entertaining the thought that I should really get some plan going in case I have to travel home.
The checklist has been made. The appropriate clothing is clean and ready to pack.
However. I still need some black dress shoes.


Now, when you've been running around the for past few years in Converse tennies and flip flops, your feet will NOT like putting on shoes.

Needless to say, I am not built for 4 or 5 inch spikes. My feet are too small, I'd be better off buying ballet toe shoes.

No, 1 to 2 inches should do it.

You'd think!

I received my catalog from Belk's and saw some nice little shoes. So I decided to go and have a look.

These are the ones I tried on first. Size 7. ( My regular size is 7 1/2)
No go. Too BIG.
Tried a 6 1/2. They fit better, but my bunions and my big toes were going:

Ouch! Ouch!..argh! No-no-no-nooooo

I tried walking around a bit, realizing that I just had to get my feet used to them. But no go. Even the 2 inch heels are too high for me.

I found the ones in the top picture, but they didn't have my size. They seemed more comfortable, no seams on my bunions, and a lower heel, softer leather.

Oh well.

It'll probably come down to spending a few more bucks for some NICE soft ones. Problem is, I hardly ever wear dress shoes anymore, so I hate to spend a fortune.

Funny how things changes over the years. As a teenager, all I bought were shoes (and handbags) when I first started working. I couldn't get enough shoes. Of course back in those days and being in Europe, most shoes were made in Italy, and I had my favorite store (Dungelmans) which always had my favorite styles, always the latest styles, the softest shoes.

With my very first paycheck I bought a pair of black patent leather heels, very pointy toes, very slender 2 inch heels. I had those little metal thingies put on the bottom so I could hear myself click-clacking around. Mind you, I had the skinniest legs (still do) and in those days we wore nylons (time before pantyhose), worse yet, with SEAMS up the back.

My nylons always ballooned at the calf a little, and it must have been quite a sight to watch me walk around.
Us girls loved to wear our heels to church on Sundays. We'd sit all the way in the back so that for communion we would have to walk ALL the way to the front over the stone floor, making quite a ruckus.

When I came to the States, I wore mostly nurses shoes to work (yuck) and comfortable flats during my jobs in retail.

Then there came a time I wore nothing but Swedish clogs and Birkenstocks. Wore those for ages!

It wasn't until I became manager at Macy's I felt I deserved to look fancier, and I did wear heels then.

At one time, Bugs was about 4 or so, we were shopping the famous Macy's shoe sale. She came up to me 'presenting' a very pretty pointy pink/purple Via Spiga flat with a big round leather bow on top. She said: " mama, now - THESE ....... are - adorable!!!" (Imagine a 4 year old "presenting" a shoe and saying that!)
Of course I bought them, and they were the most comfortable shoes I had ever owned, to hell with the color. I actually wore those shoes out, even had them resoled a few times.

Since our retirement I've only had one pair of dress shoes, which I bought for my nephew's wedding. Wore them once. Gave them to Goodwill.

So it has been Reebocks, Flipflops, Converse (pink etc) and sandals for the past 10 years or so.

No wonder my feet are protesting confining shoes!

I won't give up though, GOTTA have some good shoes.

Just mailed my Publisher's Clearinghouse entry, perhaps I'll win a big prize. Than I can buy LOTS of shoes, expensive ones!

It's also kind of interesting that I now LOVE to buy shoes for Boo-boo. I have three brand new pairs for her, ready to grow into. Heck, I buy them when they first get on the shelves, otherwise they're gone when you need them

Make sense huh!



Sunday, September 20, 2009

It's raining........

The summer is coming to an end. It has been raining off and on for the past few weeks now, not a whole lot in this area, but enough.
As summers go here in Georgia, this one was mild. Either that or I just didn't notice.
In any event, I am glad fall is around the corner. I can't wait to go out and be able to suck up some cool air, wear warmies and long sleeves again, put the flannel sheets on the bed.

Forgive me for not writing these past few weeks. I have a sneaky suspicion that my lack of enthusiasm is due to my taking anti depressants. Seriously. They calm me down, they get my moods evened out, but on the other hand, well, quite's frigging boring!
No uumpf to do much of anything, be creative, have energy. Oh, I have been productive, and calm...I get the dishes done every time, the laundry gets done, I even vacuum more often and clean up the toys every day. I even have more patience with Boo-boo, who, by the way, is developing quite an interesting personality.

2 1/2 years old, she is quickly learning how to wrap us around her little finger. The acoustics in this house (high ceilings) enable her to shriek very loud when things don't go her way. Sometimes at the point where I worry about my neighbors wondering if I'm squeezing her.

It's my own fault, I usually just cave in and do what she wants. Just to keep her quiet.
I know that's not a good thing and I am honestly trying to keep my foot down when I have to, but when you don't feel well, it just isn't worth the extra headache.

She does makes us laugh a lot though. The stuff that comes out of her mouth. To listen to her play, and make her little dolls and figurines act, it's hilarious.
So glad the library program started up again. She just loves being around other children and loves to sing and play.

The potty training is slow. We had two successful accomplishments last week, but those were accidents. I haven't been actively sitting her down on the toilet very hour on the hour. Do not have the patience for it.
How in the world did I ever train my own kids? I truly don't remember! I know my son ran around outside naked a lot, so that helped. Don't worry, we lived on a hill with no one around for hundreds or yards.
Bugs...I just don't remember. Neither does she (obviously, as she is not exactly trying either haha)

Bugs is doing remarkably well since she is on anti depressants. The difference is like night and day. All of a sudden we have our sparkly Bugs back again. Oh, her troubles aren't over, but she is looking great, hasn't come home crying for over a week now, and seems to be doing well at work.
She is gaining some weight, and seems to be getting a grasp on her world again.

I'm sure that the fact I am not pushing her anymore (which I was really doing without realizing it much), and the fact that things are beginning to fall into place for her.
First of all, her house is now really in foreclosure. Her current income is not sufficient to pay the mortgage, even if the payments were to be lowered. I know this is not a good thing, but something that is inevitable, might as well get it over with.

She got Boo enrolled in Medicaid, which is fabulous, she doesn't pay a dime for her care right now. Boo is still taking breathing treatments, but she is doing much better, no more coughing.
We're all lined up for our flu shots.

We are still waiting to see what's happening with Daddy's so called "work program". So far Bugs's hasn't seen the $200/a week she was promised. But government works slow, and since she had written him off all together anyway, any mullah that will come her way will be a gift from heaven.

I took my sorry butt to the doctor the other day. For a few weeks now I had noticed that something in the back of my throat seemed to spaz up. Like someone was pinching my esophagus. My stomach wasn't feeling all too happy either lately, and it always felt like I just swallowed a brick. Seems like stuff just didn't go down as fast as it should.
He diagnosed me with acid reflux.
More pills, blech.
We decided to slow down and stop the antidepressants, to see what would happen.
Just in time to see if I turn into a pumpkin for Halloween.
We also set up an appointment for extensive blood work and a complete physical.

Right now both Wheelie and I are bit under the weather. He had one of his little episodes again yesterday, stayed in bed most of the morning. I was running around feeling crappy, stuff coming out both sides. Perhaps getting used to the new meds, who the hell knows.
I called Bugs and told her I couldn't keep Boo overnight. She cut her shift down and came home early.

Thank you!

We were able to go to bed and feel sorry for ourselves early last night.
Today PH is watching Boo, so we have another day to be pitiful.


So here we are. Nothing going on to write home about. Life is cruising along.

I'm sure more exciting stuff is on the way.

Until then

Keep yer chin up and wash your hands!


Friday, September 11, 2009

Boo is happy with her new "couch"

Which folds out to a bed, and even has a sleeping bag attached.

Hee Hawwwww!

Zoom Zoom.........and off they go!!!!!!!!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Oh, and by the way

The new picture with the title is a view at Kijkduin. The beach where I grew up, well not grew up, but spent a lot of time on.
My sister and I usually go and visit when I am in Holland, and enjoy a cup of coffee at one of the terraces there.



There are changes in the air.
Our president delivered one terrific speech last night. I don't think he could have been any clearer on this Health plan thing.
Republican Joe Wilson's ridiculous "you lie!" outburst showed the ignorance and the complete unwillingness to cooperate with this new president. Not to mention the fact that he completely disrespected President Obama.
It's beyond me, how so many people just do not get it. Or are unwilling to get it.
What does anyone have to lose??

Just unbelievable!

Last night we got some well deserved sleep. Even though Bugs worked late. Boo went to sleep at a reasonable time. Her breathing treatments are really working. I didn't give her her Claritin yesterday at all. She was much calmer, and I only had to scrape her off the ceiling once. :>)

So it seems that life for my daughter is slowly changing for the better.
I am still holding my breath, but there is definitely something going on.
As I mentioned before, Boo was accepted for Medicaid. Yesterday Bugs got a packet in the mail about Peach Care.
Plus she got a long letter from Court about what's going on with Daddy.

Daddy was approved for this work program. We don't know when this starts or started, but initially he gets 5 week days to find himself a job. He leaves the jail at 8 every day and is supposed to come back at 5. Once he does find a job, and I understand that he will be in deep shit if he doesn't, Bugs will be paid $200 a week. This is to catch up with what he owes AFTER he pays her the $1400 they went to court over initially.
$200 a week will go a long way. I'm thinking: DAYCARE!!
And if she hauls her little butt and applies for the Daycare subsidy program, she will have a few pennies left for other things, such as gas and groceries.

She's off today and tomorrow, and I hope she will use her time wisely.

We are speculating about all this. We wonder if the fact that she received Medicaid and applied for other services, the State got off their butts and started the work program procedure.
It might also be that his parents are getting REALLY anxious about being able to see Boo again, and perhaps they've been on his ass for that.

Just speculation, but you wonder.

And then there is something I'm not supposed to tell. *LOLOL* yeah right.

Apparently Bugs' old boss (And PH's current boss) and his wife are definitely getting a divorce.
The guy is fed up with his life and disappeared for five days. No one knew where he was. But he called PH and told him he was somewhere on the Gulf coast, trying to get a deal with a friend of his to start a new business down there, and he wondered if PH would be interested to run the place.

Now...this guy has had more pipe dreams than anyone, always looking for that next opportunity, always running into problems, but now that the couple is truly splitting, it might be something to ponder.

Bugs is ambivalent, but also secretly excited...(We're going to live at the beach!!! (never mind the frigging hurricanes))
She asked me how we would feel about it. And frankly, I feel GREAT! *lol*
Not that I wouldn't miss them, but right now we could use some peace and quiet around here.
And who the hell knows, moving for us wouldn't be much of a problem. We've been known to move at the drop of a hat!

We are all itching to get out of this town I guess. Wheelie dragging along, he doesn't care.

We shall see. In the meantime, Bugs is getting used to her new job, seems to enjoy it a little more, is gaining weight, becoming a little more/better focused.

Boo is developing, and perfecting, her two-year-old personality.
This kid can make ya feel real baddddd.
She can cry and make you feel sorry like a professional. And it's taking all my energy to go with the flow and not give in to her tantrums.
Most of the time things work out well. Wheelie snickering in the background, or just leaving the room, as he can't stop from laughing.
Not fair!
But she is a character, that little stinker.

So there you have it, the new from Lake Wobegon


Saturday, September 5, 2009

Sharon, Lois & Bram

When Bugs was a toddler, she used to watch and love this Canadian trio's programs.

And now her little one has discovered them as well.
It started out as a try. I wondered if this show, the songs, would turn our Boo on.
Well, I need not have worried.

She LUVS them!

I managed to get my hands on three old videos, as well as a few CDs (for the car, arghhh)
She HAS to watch them constantly, and pretty much know all the songs, the words, the subtle nuances of the music.

Thank God the music is calm and fun, so we enjoy them as well. (Old farts)

I can't remember ever knowing so many children's songs before. When mine were young, we didn't listen in the car much I guess. I don't recall ever having to replay a song over and over again until my eyes crossed. sure learn the lyrics that way!

So we went from Elmo to Barney (we always swore we wouldn't allow OUR kids to watch Barney, haha!) to Sharon, Lois & Bram.
What's next?
Dora the Explorer? Barbie? Bratz? Hannah Montana? and God forbid, the Jonas Brothers?

All kidding aside, we'll adjust our tastes to hers as time goes on, I am sure. After all, we happily went through the punk scene. The Green Day, Mighty Bostones, the Offspring, Rancid etc. concerts, the Warped Tour, Lollapalooza, etc etc.

It's too bad Wheelie is no longer in the recording business. We sure aren't up to date anymore with the new artists, classical OR rock. Guess we'll leave that education to our granddaughter.

I hope we'll be able to take her to all sorts of events when she gets bigger. It will be great fun to watch her, like her mom, get all freaked out and sing and dance, let it all hang out.
Just hope there won't be any mosh pits around anymore then, they scared me to bits. Fearless Bugs was always right in the middle of it all, I just prayed and closed my eyes a lot.


Bugs's shingles seem to be reacting well to the meds, they are drying up. Itch like crazy, but no more pain.
Boo is a little wild today, could be the antihistamine she's on (Claritin for kids). We did our errands this morning. She entertained the masses at the post office, going full tilt. Singing, running, saying HI to everyone, touching people, asking them stuff, laughing out loud.
With three of my dead auntie's necklaces around her neck, she was a riot. So glad the people in line were all in a good mood and smiled and enjoyed her antics.

She truly is a gift these days, her wonderful energy, her love.
In a time where everywhere around me, I know people are having problems.
Most of my closest relatives are going through tough times with their own grown children. It seems to never end.
So it's a blessing to have this little chunk of sunshine running around my house to keep your perspective. seems that the clicking of my keyboard has lulled her to sleep.



Thursday, September 3, 2009

And the hits just keep on coming

We kept Boo overnight since Bugs had a "late" schedule, and it wouldn't make sense to pick up the little squirt at 1 or 2 in the morning only to turn around at 9am again and bring her back.

We had a successful evening, with a good dinner, watching Wheel and Joepardy (She needs to do her Jeopardy dance at the end). Went to bed at eight and pretty much slept through the night. Woke us up with a cheerful: Morninggggg! at 7am.

Still coughing too much in my opinion I suggested Bugs she call the pediatrician. She got an appointment right away this afternoon at three.
And guess what. Medicaid kicks in big time. No charge for the Doc. No charge for the nebulizer. (I'm not sure if she has to pay for the meds yet)

So Bugs came home between shifts yesterday to show me her "bug bite" Since she couldn't reach to see it. Considering where it's located. Umm...on her backside...kind of...ummm...hidden...

It looked like more than a bug bite to me, so she decided to ask Boo's doc about it. Of course the doc couldn't do anything, but she told her that she should see her own doc, as it sounded like a staff infection.
The spot was now a ring of purple tiny blisters and hurt like a sob.

She stopped by Dr. Tim, and he diagnosed SHINGLES. Gave her a scrip for two antibiotics.
He was pleased to see that she gained three pounds, and looked SO much better.

He told her she caught it very early, and was confident it wouldn't spread. God, I hope so. My mom had shingles and it was extremely painful and lasted for months.

In the meantime, Boo is back on her Penguin Nebulizer three times a day, and got a prescription for Claritin. It might be an allergy. (Might be? Can't they test her for allergies?)

Anyway.........nothing earth shattering, I guess. Bugs is taking it all very well, and calmly.

Did you know that a Daycare center cannot (and will not) tell you the name of a child who BIT your child? They have to report it for their records and you have to sign it, but they won't tell you who did the dirty deed.

Of course Boo blew the whole thing by stating in a loud voice: ABIGAIL BIT ME!


Nice set of chompers on her little arm, but no skin broken.

I asked the teacher: Did she bite her back, I hope? It was a joke, but the teacher looked at me funny.

I know, not a very pedagogic thing to day, but hey.


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Some tune long long forgotten

Back in 1968, when I first met Puri, he was working for a record distributor across the street from the Bay Side Coffee shop, where I worked for/with my uncle and aunts (and sometimes Iggy).
His 'pick up line' was: "Do you like music?"

Of course I liked music!

I knew he would come in the next day with a bunch of LPs. Alas, that next day
I flew to Banff, Canada to spend a few weeks at my other aunt and uncle's, and one of my best buddies and cousin Jos.
Jos decided to do what I did, he flew the coupe and emigrated to Canada. (He lasted about a year)
Jos and I had a little bit of a history. We were the same age, and we were very, VERY, good friends. We would go on little dates. Just dancing, and movies, parties. He was a super dancer, and always the life of the party, despite his fragile health (he had some kind of lung disease when he was little) A nice platonic relationship, which nevertheless worried my father and his brother, Jos' dad.
The need not have worried.

My cousin was the Dutch version of Jerry Lewis. This guy could make you laugh so hard, you would need a few extra pair of panties if you spent more than a few hours with him.

Argh, that sounds dirty. Haha!

But I digress.

I intended to stay in Canada for a while, but Iggy's mom was in an accident and I was called 'home' because they needed me at the Coffee shop.

Puri was happy and relieved to see me again. He thought I'd gone back to Holland. The next day he came in with a fist full of LPs. The only ones I remember were a Trini Lopez album and a Pozo Seco Singers LP.

Since I loved folk music, I loved the Pozo Seco Singers right from the start.

It's funny how one's brain works sometimes. Here I was just sitting on the couch tonight, watching Wheel of Fortune, and in pops the thought of this album.

41 Years ago. A very green and perty darn ignorant skinny Dutch girl fell in love with a guy ten years her senior, a divorced guy no less, with two children no less, not Catholic no less.

Oh shame!


I found a few YouTube's on this group, and was able to listen to some of the songs once again.

Folk music was my favorite in those days. Joan Baez, The Seekers, New Christy Minstrels, Serendipity Singers, Pete Seeger, Kingston Trio, Gordon Lightfoot, Tim Hardin...............and...and...and...

Nice memories......

From the home front:

Bugs seems to do very well on her anti depressing meds. She seems more centered, more focused, happier.

Until we received a letter in our mail box today addressed to her.

From Nana.

Oh boy!

She read it sitting on the sofa here. Ten pages long. Didn't say much (except for a soft: sonoffaF***ngbitch!)

There, there now...

Nana had an interesting but absurd offer: Move in with US, and I will take care of Boo, so SHE WON"T HAVE TO GO TO DAYCARE.....and YOU won't even have to work if you don't want to!

Daddy will be in jail for at least a year. He is reading his bible every day. Nana is praying every day, all day long. Like that's going to pay Bugs' rent, or pay the child support he owes her.

As much as I feel for these people, they are Boo's grand parents after all, I don't think these folks understand where Bugs (and us for that matter) is coming from.

Perhaps the solution would be to come to some compromise and let them see/visit Boo on Bugs' terms, in the park or something like that. That way she would not have to get involved with the family.

And no, I did not suggest this to Bugs. I am behaving myself, staying out of it.

It will be interesting to see how things will develop.
One thing is a fact though, this family IS part of her life, whether she likes it or not.

Bugs had good news in HER mailbox. Both she and Boo are now officially signed up for Medicaid.
A huge relief, as I foresee more doctor's appointments for both of them.
Boo has this cough, and I have a feeling we'll be ending up having to buy that Penguin shaped nebulizer. I really have a feeling she has a chronic problem.

The weather has been outstanding. Nice and cool. overcast and some rain. It's quite a relief to be able to go out and take deep cool breaths, and not collapse from heat exhaustion just walking to and from the mail box.


Monday, August 31, 2009

5 Myths About Health Care Around the World


5 Myths About Health Care Around the World

By T.R. Reid

Sunday, August 23, 2009

As Americans search for the cure to what ails our health-care system, we've overlooked an invaluable source of ideas and solutions: the rest of the world. All the other industrialized democracies have faced problems like ours, yet they've found ways to cover everybody -- and still spend far less than we do.

I've traveled the world from Oslo to Osaka to see how other developed democracies provide health care. Instead of dismissing these models as "socialist," we could adapt their solutions to fix our problems. To do that, we first have to dispel a few myths about health care abroad:

  1. It's all socialized medicine out there.

Not so. Some countries, such as Britain, New Zealand and Cuba, do provide health care in government hospitals, with the government paying the bills. Others -- for instance, Canada and Taiwan -- rely on private-sector providers, paid for by government-run insurance. But many wealthy countries -- including Germany, the Netherlands, Japan and Switzerland -- provide universal coverage using private doctors, private hospitals and private insurance plans.

In some ways, health care is less "socialized" overseas than in the United States. Almost all Americans sign up for government insurance (Medicare) at age 65. In Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands, seniors stick with private insurance plans for life. Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is one of the planet's purest examples of government-run health care.

2. Overseas, care is rationed through limited choices or long lines.

Generally, no. Germans can sign up for any of the nation's 200 private health insurance plans -- a broader choice than any American has. If a German doesn't like her insurance company, she can switch to another, with no increase in premium. The Swiss, too, can choose any insurance plan in the country.
In France and Japan, you don't get a choice of insurance provider; you have to use the one designated for your company or your industry. But patients can go to any doctor, any hospital, any traditional healer. There are no U.S.-style limits such as "in-network" lists of doctors or "pre-authorization" for surgery. You pick any doctor, you get treatment -- and insurance has to pay.
Canadians have their choice of providers. In Austria and Germany, if a doctor diagnoses a person as "stressed," medical insurance pays for weekends at a health spa.

As for those notorious waiting lists, some countries are indeed plagued by them. Canada makes patients wait weeks or months for nonemergency care, as a way to keep costs down. But studies by the Commonwealth Fund and others report that many nations -- Germany, Britain, Austria -- outperform the United States on measures such as waiting times for appointments and for elective surgeries.

In Japan, waiting times are so short that most patients don't bother to make an appointment. One Thursday morning in Tokyo, I called the prestigious orthopedic clinic at Keio University Hospital to schedule a consultation about my aching shoulder. "Why don't you just drop by?" the receptionist said. That same afternoon, I was in the surgeon's office. Dr. Nakamichi recommended an operation. "When could we do it?" I asked. The doctor checked his computer and said, "Tomorrow would be pretty difficult. Perhaps some day next week?"

3. Foreign health-care systems are inefficient, bloated bureaucracies.

Much less so than here. It may seem to Americans that U.S.-style free enterprise -- private-sector, for-profit health insurance -- is naturally the most cost-effective way to pay for health care. But in fact, all the other payment systems are more efficient than ours.
U.S. health insurance companies have the highest administrative costs in the world; they spend roughly 20 cents of every dollar for nonmedical costs, such as paperwork, reviewing claims and marketing. France's health insurance industry, in contrast, covers everybody and spends about 4 percent on administration. Canada's universal insurance system, run by government bureaucrats, spends 6 percent on administration. In Taiwan, a leaner version of the Canadian model has administrative costs of 1.5 percent; one year, this figure ballooned to 2 percent, and the opposition parties savaged the government for wasting money.

The world champion at controlling medical costs is Japan, even though its aging population is a profligate consumer of medical care. On average, the Japanese go to the doctor 15 times a year, three times the U.S. rate. They have twice as many MRI scans and X-rays. Quality is high; life expectancy and recovery rates for major diseases are better than in the United States. And yet Japan spends about $3,400 per person annually on health care; the United States spends more than $7,000.

4. Cost controls stifle innovation.

False. The United States is home to groundbreaking medical research, but so are other countries with much lower cost structures. Any American who's had a hip or knee replacement is standing on French innovation. Deep-brain stimulation to treat depression is a Canadian breakthrough. Many of the wonder drugs promoted endlessly on American television, including Viagra, come from British, Swiss or Japanese labs.

Overseas, strict cost controls actually drive innovation. In the United States, an MRI scan of the neck region costs about $1,500. In Japan, the identical scan costs $98. Under the pressure of cost controls, Japanese researchers found ways to perform the same diagnostic technique for one-fifteenth the American price. (And Japanese labs still make a profit.)

5. Health insurance has to be cruel.

Not really. American health insurance companies routinely reject applicants with a "preexisting condition" -- precisely the people most likely to need the insurers' service. They employ armies of adjusters to deny claims. If a customer is hit by a truck and faces big medical bills, the insurer's "rescission department" digs through the records looking for grounds to cancel the policy, often while the victim is still in the hospital. The companies say they have to do this stuff to survive in a tough business.
Foreign health insurance companies, in contrast, must accept all applicants, and they can't cancel as long as you pay your premiums. The plans are required to pay any claim submitted by a doctor or hospital (or health spa), usually within tight time limits. The big Swiss insurer Groupe Mutuel promises to pay all claims within five days. "Our customers love it," the group's chief executive told me. The corollary is that everyone is mandated to buy insurance, to give the plans an adequate pool of rate-payers.

The key difference is that foreign health insurance plans exist only to pay people's medical bills, not to make a profit. The United States is the only developed country that lets insurance companies profit from basic health coverage.

In many ways, foreign health-care models are not really "foreign" to America, because our crazy-quilt health-care system uses elements of all of them. For Native Americans or veterans, we're Britain: The government provides health care, funding it through general taxes, and patients get no bills. For people who get insurance through their jobs, we're Germany: Premiums are split between workers and employers, and private insurance plans pay private doctors and hospitals. For people over 65, we're Canada: Everyone pays premiums for an insurance plan run by the government, and the public plan pays private doctors and hospitals according to a set fee schedule. And for the tens of millions without insurance coverage, we're Burundi or Burma: In the world's poor nations, sick people pay out of pocket for medical care; those who can't pay stay sick or die.

This fragmentation is another reason that we spend more than anybody else and still leave millions without coverage. All the other developed countries have settled on one model for health-care delivery and finance; we've blended them all into a costly, confusing bureaucratic mess.

Which, in turn, punctures the most persistent myth of all: that America has "the finest health care" in the world. We don't. In terms of results, almost all advanced countries have better national health statistics than the United States does. In terms of finance, we force 700,000 Americans into bankruptcy each year because of medical bills. In France, the number of medical bankruptcies is zero. Britain: zero. Japan: zero. Germany: zero.

Given our remarkable medical assets -- the best-educated doctors and nurses, the most advanced hospitals, world-class research -- the United States could be, and should be, the best in the world. To get there, though, we have to be willing to learn some lessons about health-care administration from the other industrialized democracies.

T.R. Reid, a former Washington Post reporter, is the author of "The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care," to be published Monday.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Hair today, gone tomorrow

So let's get you up to speed as to what's going on here.

Bugs is still at TacoMac. She doesn't like it. She misses the regular paycheck, as opposed to wondering how much she'll go home with in tips every day.
She came down with some sort of virus. Went to the doctor, who told her to take a few days off, take Advil for the aches and pains and let it run it's course.
She seems a little better today. Good for her, as she has a long day today.

The coming week will be the last for Boo to spend in Daycare for a while. I know she will miss it, she really seems to enjoy being around other kids, and playing all day.
But she is also coughing again, sounding a little raspy.

I had a serious talk with Bugs the other day. Told her I was no longer in a position to help her out anymore. After this week's daycare payment, the well is dry.

A segment of People's Court the other day (yes, I am becoming one of those couch potatoes who watches the JUDGE shows) there was a case about a mother in law suing her daughter in law for credit card charges.
I will not bore you with the story, but in the end the Judge shook her fingers at both the mom of the girl and the mother in law, and explained: You are not doing this girl a favor by being her friend and bailing her out all the time. She is an adult, she is responsible for her own life. Stay OUT of it!
I didn't completely agree with this, but I have to admit, she has a point there.

I asked Wheelie to stop me every time I am tempted to "help" Bugs out in the future; give her advice; suggest things; pay her bills...
Of course he shrugged his shoulders and shook his head. But I hope he will help me with this.

We shall see. Tough love, for everyone. Hmm..

The other night when we were getting into bed, Wheelie had his arms over his head and I noticed all his pit hair is gone. I jokingly asked him if he shaved himself for me. He looked...Huh!...He hadn't noticed.
We looked a bit further, and low and behold. He is losing ALL his body hair. He used to have a nice grey rough thatch on his chest...gone! The hair on his legs...gone! On his arms...almost gone!
The hair on his head is still there bit getting thin.
I wonder if it's the hormone treatments. After all, on my statements from the doc, it's called chemo. We're going on 2 1/2 years of treatment now.
It's just strange we didn't notice. Oh, I did notice more hair than normal on the shower floor now and then, but I just never question it, just cleaned it up.

Boo is becoming quite a character. Every day we discover something new. Or should I say: She discovers something new.
The other day I asked her if she wanted a sandwich, to which she replied: I wanna BAGEL!

It cracked us all up, as it came out so unexpectedly.

She now re-reads the books I read her first. She will sit and "read" the story, pretty much recalling every single word. Amazing.

She loves bulldozers and trucks and dump trucks. Guess we don't have to wonder about what to get her for Christmas this year.

As for me...after just watching part of the Kennedy funeral, I am a bit sad and wistful.
Another great man gone, a part of history gone.
I met Ted Kennedy in person when I was a very green young lady, just "off the boat", one of my first weekends in America. My uncle took me to the Democratic headquarters in San Mateo, where Ted was campaigning for his brother. He even shook my hand.
I had absolutely NO clue as to what the American politics were all about.

Our country is on the verge....of something....I can only hope and pray it's a change for the good.


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Welcome Back

For now I'll just say hello.
When my brain is back to normal (soon, hopefully) I will start writing again.