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Family and Friends is my everyday journal. Captain's Log is where I pontificate on religion and politics.

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

WC092723: How I shake off a bad mood.


Today's challenge is how I shake off a bad mood.


Dr. Gray mentions that when men have a problem that they are having a hard time solving they go into their cave, and that a woman needs to leave them alone until they've solved the problem.

My wife calls it getting moody and brooding.

I have a hard time sleeping when something is bugging me, which really bugs my wife as I get up and go into another room so she can sleep, but somehow this doesn't help her sleep.

Fixating on it can be self-defeating, the more you think about it the fewer options you have come up with to solve it. This is where Archimedes comes in. He had a problem and couldn't sleep so his wife told to take a bath. When he got into the bath and he saw the water rise from displacing his mass, that was the problem he was working on and it solved the problem and he left the bathtub and ran naked across Syracuse yelling "Eureka, Eureka" (I found it.) 

I usually can't sleep because my mind is fixated on the problem, so I listen to an audiobook, that way I can stay in bed and not disturb my wife. Hearing aids are hooked up to my phone.

During the day and I'm still brooding on the problem I turn to comedy. If you start laughing problems seem to melt, get put into perspective and a solution comes, or I accept it and move on.

I had a particularly bad principal one year who was on my case and my blood pressure was rising. I was wondering if I would be standing on a streetcorner with a sign "Will Teach For Food."

We went to see The Addams Family, which kind of dates this problem and when we left the theater I told my wife, "I needed that." It lifted the burden I was carrying off my shoulders. 

The next day in the teacher's lounge a special ed teacher told me, "She's temporary, you're permanent." That helped too.

When the principal finished my evaluation, she mentioned I wasn't working with the students. Shorthand for outside the classroom. I told her I was sponsor the Rodeo club and Youth and Government. She backed off but was left with a pissed off teacher. Oh, how good it is to be retired.

When problems arise, we have the complete Becker with Ted Danson on DVD, and we sit and laugh. There's The Fifth Element, which we just say Big Badda Boom, and know it's time to watch and escape for a few hours.

An earlier post I mentioned the problems I've been having getting a doctor's appointment for the last six months. When I got the call with a date and time, even though it's another six months away, again a burden was lifted. Sometimes the problems don't get fixed right away. I found ways to relieve the stress in that time with various coping mechanisms.

Friday, September 22, 2023

The supplemental trap

 When I retired the Educational Retirement Health Care Authority offered two choices for a provider. BCBS or Presbyterian. BCBS worked with all medical facilities and with Pres you were locked into just their doctors.

I chose BCBS and then Pres announced they would not honor BCBS. That stuck me with Lovelace, which doesn't have as many doctors or facilities as Pres. I did get good doctors and needed little more that treatment for diabetes.

When I reached 65 and went on Medicare the choices were a lot more. BCBS offered the only supplemental plan, Pres, United Health, Humana have advantage plans.

My mother was on the supplemental plan, it cost more, but everything was covered that Medicare didn't. I've been pretty happy with it until the doctor I had was so tied up I couldn't get in to see him and he's left Optum which took over Lovelace. 

Oak Street Health recently came into New Mexico and was advertising. I got an appointment last February, had an initial consultation and did a blood test. In March when going over the results the doctor was concerned the prostate test was too high and could be cancer. He said he'd do a referral to a urologist. I told him not to book one with Pres as they don't take BCBS.

For five years the Optum doctor never did a blood test for prostate cancer for a patient over 65!

In May I get a referral to a Pres doctor. I declined telling someone in Virginia to contact the doctor and get a referral to Optum. I called Optum and was told they don't have a urology department. Let that sink in, the second largest medical provider in this state doesn't have a urology department!

I scheduled an appointment with the doctor in August, since I was getting nowhere on getting a referral to either UNM Hospital or NM Cancer Center for an appointment. I explained the problem again about BCBS. 

August 21 I've got a referral, and it said if I haven't heard anything from the doctor named to call thier number and let them know. I called the person in Virginia who said they'd do another referral. I wait two weeks and getting someone else they said contact the doctor to get the appointment. I did.

I now have an appointment for March 1. It's taken a full year to see a doctor about possible cancer.

Part 2.

I got the packet for open enrollment for this year. The same offerings are there, and I planned on taking the poison pill and going with Pres, but I looked over the other Advantage Plans. Pres does not have a supplemental.

BCBS supplemental is $240 a month. Pres Advantage 1 is $98, but there are copays, but $2,500 max for the year. United Health's Advantage 1 is $46/month with copays half those of Pres, and $2,500 max/year.

I calculated the 240 I paid last year against United's 46 and even if I maxed out for the year, I paid 52 dollars more for a plan that I barely used for the last five years. Nearly 200 extra month I've been paying.

Now I know just as I might be getting to the point of maxing out the plan.

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

WC: Would You Move to a Mars Settlement?


Today's challenge is, would you move to a Mars settlement.

That's easy. Not at my age. I'm not moving anywhere willingly.

Wednesday, September 06, 2023

WC: 060923 Song lyrics I've misheared.


Song lyrics I've misheard.

Oops, somehow my link to Long and Short Reviews got my email not my name.

My brother and I in front of the Record Music Company around 1962. My baby sister had a Nipper a stuffed dog. FYI, Nipper was the dog in front of the gramophone bell that was the RCA logo.

My grandparents owned a music store in Pueblo, Colorado. It sold .45's, LP's, band instruments, the first color TV's in town, late 50's early 60's. My aunt and her family took over the business and my father got a job in Albuquerque, but I'd spend summers with my grandparents in Pueblo. 

We would go fishing and ride around the state, but between those times I'd spend time in "The Store" behind the counter selling mostly .45's for 95 cents plus a nickel tax for a buck.

I read the entire Lord of the Rings the summer between 7th and 8th grade. That's how little I had to do at times those summers.

I learned early how to count money back to the customers and it irks me to this day to have a clerk hand me a handful of change at check out.

The buyers would want to hear the song first and I would play them on the turntable on the counter. Sometimes they'd even buy a record I recommended. I got paid in the records I wanted to keep. Came back with lots of them, aunt only let me have singles not albums.

There were times when someone would hear a song on the radio and come in asking for that song.

The most blaring mishearing of a song I remember was someone wanting, "Bones falling apart in the street."

It turned out to be Boneparte's Retreat," by Glenn Campbell.

It was fun when everyone wanted the song "Feeling Groovy," by Simon and Garfunkel. AKA "The 59th Bridge Street Song."

Usually, the song had a repeated phrase in a chorus, but the title came from an opening line.

Best off the top of my head right now.

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

WC: Weirdest Thing I Loved as a Child.


The weirdest thing I loved as a child.

Define weird!
Stuff I love is perfectly normal to me, to someone else they might think it weird.

Today with all the crazies in NRA running around with machine guns strung on their back while shopping in Wally World, I find that kind of weird. Who are they afraid of?

That's it, as a kid I grew up on Roy Rodgers, Hopalong Cassidy, The Rifleman, Have Gun will Travel, Bonanza etc. I was the kid in A Christmas Story dreaming of the Red Rider BB gun.
I had party pooper parents and never got the BB gun. I got cap guns, toy rifles, and other kinds of guns, but nothing that expelled objects. I kind of recollect a large rubber pistol that shot a ping pong ball when you squeezed it.
If whatever cheap plastic toy gun I got, fell apart and it was a while before my birthday, or Christmas I made do with a stick. I entertained myself shooting at imaginary outlaws or whatever.
You'd think I grew up to be gun crazy, and I did buy a .22 pistol and a .38 pistol, a .22 rifle and a 12-gauge shot gun. I was working at a department store selling guns in the sporting good dept. in Plainview, TX.
I found a farmer that would let me go into his field and fire them. Even with ear plugs do not fire a .22 magnum! Like an icepick in both ears.
I liked plinking at tin cans with the rifle and shot a few shells to get used to the kick of the shotgun. I left the job at the department store and became a security guard at a meat packing plant. I got the shot gun because the state announced pheasant season first of October that year and on the other side of the fence I knew of a cock and three hens nesting there.
Come first day of hunting season I was scheduled to work 11pm to 7am. I watched 20 guys show up at midnight looking for that lone rooster. So much for hunting.
When going through my divorce I needed cash and I sold he .22 and .38 for cash. I kept the rifle and shotgun until I remarried, and my son was born.  Sold both of them as I didn't want a gun in the house with a small child.
Years later my father was diagnosed with dementia. Mom asked me to take his guns away. He was an ex-marine and worked before becoming an elementary teacher bouncing in bars. I took his S%W .38 that was older than me, and an AK47 that his veteran buddies convinced him that Bill Clinton was going to keep him from buying. I took them to a pawn shop. He paid $600 for that AK and I got $50 as there were eight of them on display behind the counter. He went out and fired it at the police shooting range and I went with him. I fired the .38 a few times. When he fired that AK it scared the hell out of me. The power of that bullet is horrible.
It sickens me that people use something like that to kill elementary children.

Saturday, August 26, 2023

Memories on my birthday


You have no idea how hard it was to get a picture of this book!

I'm traveling down memory lane today. I turned 70.

I've reached the three score and ten mentioned in the Bible as the life expectancy of man.

Way back in 1976, as a fresh graduate of college and living in student housing at seminary in Fort Worth, just after first wife and my one-year anniversary (there wouldn't be a second), I joined the Science Fiction Book Club. I got a few books for free and was only required to buy four over the next year. This was one of those free books.

It was June, classes wouldn't start until September. I was working at a bank as a file clerk for four hours a day and in the evenings walking around a drug store keeping the shoplifting down. I'd get home, have a bite to eat. Spend time with wife before she went to bed, and I'd read for an hour or so before joining her. 

I got this book in the mail and started reading. I finished it at 8 in the morning. It was a Saturday so no need to go to the bank and I went to bed. Wife was not happy, and I could hear her talking to the neighbors in the apartment next door asking where I was, and she told them I spent all night reading a book. The wife next door told her (this was seminary housing) "Get used to it, when classes start this will be the norm."

The book is about a man ejecting from an escape pod right before his ship is destroyed by enemy fire. His pod lands on an alien planet that is not space flight capable. He's taken into custody and taken to the chief of the village. The area he's in is at war and he's treated with suspicion, but the war lord of the area sees his importance and give him a female to teach him their language. He then lends a hand in helping the war lord win the war, but the woman he fell in love with dies in battle.

This is 1976, the plot was new to me, it was well written and captivating hence reading it through the night. I've read many books in one sitting, but never through the night, it's usually an all-day kind of thing.

I started getting a lot of books from the SF book club, I focused on Asimov, Heinlein, Poul Anderson, Arthur C. Clark, Anne McCaffrey and others. 

Marriage broke up, seminary was over, and I returned home to Albuquerque and civilization. Texas is a good place to be FROM.

Took a bit to get divorced, and meanwhile while doing odd and ends kind of jobs I had a lot of time in the basement of my parent's house to read and read and read. I read everything I could get my hands on by Harlan Ellison, Harold Robbins, Isaac Asimov, barely made a dent in his works, all the dragon books and Crystaline Singers of Anne McCaffrey and hit a stone wall trying to read everything by James A. Michener.

I got remarried (coming up to 44th anniversary). In the summer of 1980, a mini-series was advertised to be coming out in a few months called Shogun.

I was working at diesel repair shop as shop clerk and handling warranty. I finally bought the book by James Clavell. I'd been reluctant to buy another book that thick after banging my head against the wall by Michener. I decided to read it before the mini-series which wouldn't come out until October.

I start reading it and all of a sudden, the plot is familiar. Granted it is much more involved, has tons of history and huge culture clash. It does read fast while Michener plods and is dull and dry at times. 

It hit me. Brothers of the Earth, in a much simpler form and set in outer space.

Shogun came out before Brothers. I could see where CJ borrowed the plot and extrapolated it as science fiction. 

Recently I looked Ms. Cherryh up on Amazon. She's now 80 and has over 80 published books and other writings.

For some reason her used books are much cheaper than e-books and they're not on unlimited.

So, I went across town to a used bookstore. It's actually an exchange, you bring in a sack full of paperbacks or hardbacks, they give you credit for them and then pay the difference for the sack full of books you're buying.

I used to raid my parents' library in the basement I used to reside in and could get lots and lots of books for around a buck and change. This was in the 80's, and I lived not far from the store. The daughter now runs the place and it's still there, one of the few stores left on that stretch of a main street. Almost all the others have been bulldozed down and there's nothing, but dirt left for a few blocks.

Anyhoo, I stopped by and found six books by CJ in hardback. No longer had an account with credit and didn't think to clean out my paperback library so they cost twenty bucks. About what one e-book of hers would cost.

I don't like reading hard copy anymore. I just bought a Super Jumbo Print NASV Bible from Amazon to use at church.

I've finished her book Rimrunners and have five to go. She reminds me a lot of Andre Norton, and her style of SF is in that mode. If you're into early Asimov, Norton, and the great writers of the 40's 50's, 60's she's right up your alley, even though she didn't start publishing until the 70's she's carried on that tradition.

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

WC082323 Three Fun Facts About Me


Hoo Boy! Three Fun Facts About Me?

1. I have a great sense of humor. I love hearing or reading jokes and telling them. I've learned over the years to censor the jokes I told years ago in the locker room, but I still have a lot of jokes to tell.

A man walks into a bar and says, "Bartender, give me a Martinus."

The bartender looks perplexed and answers, "You mean a Martini?"

The man says, "If I wanted more than one, I'd ask for it."

What do you get when you cross and police officer with a flamingo? Pink Fuzz.

Two guys were playing golf, one hit his ball into some flowers and the other into shrubs. The first man swung his club and tore up some buttercups. The Goddess of the Glen appeared and said, "You've ruined my buttercups, for the rest of your life you can't eat butter. He yelled over to his buddy, "Where are you at?"

His friend said, "I'm here in the pussy willows." The first man yelled, "Don't hit them! Don't hit them.

I prefer to watch comedies than any other types of entertainment. The Marx Brothers, Bob Hope, Red Skelton, Jackie Gleason, Abbot and Castello, Laurel and Hardy, Steve Martin. Lily Tomlin, Grady Nut, Chonda Pierce, Rita Rudner, Phylis Diller, etc. I grew up watching sit coms from I love Lucy, Dick Van Dyke Show, to WKRP in Cincinnati, Cheers, Becker, All in the Family, Happy Days That Girl, Mary Tyler Moore Show. Was there ever a cast better than the Carol Bernette Show? The first five years of Saturday Night Live, even Hee Haw and Rowan and Martin's Laugh In. You could watch and laugh your head off. 

I couldn't get through half an episode of The Office, Big Bang Theory or any sit com since Becker. I have the complete box set of Becker DVD's and whenever we're in need of laughs we watch them. No matter how many times we watch them they are funny. The Thanksgiving episode of WKRP in Cincinatti is the funniest show ever filmed. Abbot and Castellow's "Who's on First," is the greatest routine ever done.

They were funny and clean. Groucho Marx once said, "If you have to be dirty to be funny, you're not funny."

The eighties and nineties the sit coms were all about putting each other down, insults, pranks. The movies think being gross is funny.  Okay off my soapbox.

2. As an English teacher who also taught psychology, I am great at analysis. It drives my wife crazy. We watch murder mystery shows and I've figured out who did it before the first commercial. Somehow that ruins it for her. It came in handy when working for an attorney. When a new client hired him, he had me look over all the documents and organize them. I'd read all of them while scanning them and write a synopsis of the case. Helped him sometimes, others he'd fill me in on what the law thinks against common sense.

3. I love trivia. I'm a fountain of knowledge on the most arcane and useless information out there. My wife refuses to play trivial pursuit with me. She likes Scrabble, she can beat me at that.