Thursday, January 31, 2013


I wanted to watch "The Americans" last night, but I forgot.  I was reading the reviews and it was mentioned that they played this song.  I was so excited to be reminded of it!  It makes me feel young again!  I marched with the band when I was in high school, so this brings back so many memories of practicing for hours and hours, out on the field.

(You have to wait a minute for the band to come on.)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Traveling In My Mind

This is what it looks like where I live today.  Cloudy, dreary, rainy.  No wonder we get the winter blues!

So, I went back through my photos and found some images from our vacation in Mexico.

I feel a little warmer now.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Ads I Hate

I really don't like commercials on television.  I don't think anyone likes them much.  Is it my imagination, or are there more of them per hour than there used to be?  If they want us to buy their product, why do they make them so annoying?  

Oh, there are a few that are cute or clever.  Most of them, though are just annoying.  Many are way too loud, with blaring music and grating voices.  There are a few that I really, really hate.  One example is shown above.  An aging football player talking about his prostate and how he always has to look for a bathroom.  Here is my reaction every time I see this:  I don't want to hear about your prostate!  

Okay, that was my rant for today.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Navigating the Maze

I just got my Medicare card.  When my husband lost his job, we lost our health insurance, so Medicare here I come!

I've decided I will need a Medicare Supplement.  So, I look at this chart to decide which plan I want to buy.  This has to be purchased from an insurance company.

Not all plans are sold by all companies in all geographical areas, so you have to find the right one for your circumstances.  Also, you have to consider how much premium you want to pay.

Okay, then you need a plan to cover prescription drugs.  That means you have to purchase a Plan D plan.

Part D is more confusing than the other parts.  I haven't quite mastered it yet, but at least I know what a web site is (see above).  Not all plans are sold in all areas, and different drug companies have different formularies.  What are formularies?  Well, that's a whole different question!  Each insurance company lists all the drugs in its formulary, then groups them into tiers based on their price.  Tier One drugs are the least expensive and Tier Four are the most expensive.  Sorry if this is boring, but I'm just learning about it.  I used to live in blissful ignorance about all of this!

To make a long story short, you list all of your drugs, then plug them into each plan available in your area, then find out how much it's going to cost to buy Part D.

Then, after a while you hit the "donut hole".  That's a period of time where Part D stops paying and all of your drugs are paid for out of your own pocket.  Look at the diagram below.  Does this make sense?

I spoke to a Medicare adviser and found out my donut hole expenses are going to be really high!  So now I've been looking up all of my medicines to see if I can switch to generic versions.  I also found out there are coupons and discounts you can use while you are in the donut hole.  This is a whole new world for me.  I have found a handful of discount cards and coupons that I can take to my pharmacy.  It remains to be seen how much I will be able to save when I hit the donut hole!  But at least it gives me hope that there is help out there.

I've been experiencing a whole new learning curve, spending a lot of time, doing research and making phone calls.  I keep thinking about how naive I used to be, not questioning that I had health care coverage, just walking into the doctor's office or the pharmacy and handing them my card.  It was all taken care of, just like that!  All of a sudden, that safety net has been taken away.  It's eye-opening.  Now when I hear politicians talking about what to do about health care coverage in this country, I come to attention!

A friend of mine had a pillow that said "Aging isn't for sissies".  Well, now I really know what that means!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Our Little Feral Colony

I've got kitties on my mind today, so I've decided to post some of the photos of the little colony of feral cats that live in our yard and on our back deck.  We have had them all spayed or neutered.  We have adopted three that were particularly "people friendly".  The rest aren't tame enough to come in the house, but they come up to our door to be fed, and sometimes they will pose for me.  They all get along together, as you can see.  

I guess some people would call me a "crazy cat lady".  But who could resist these faces at the door?  

Katie 1/15/01 to 1/23/13

This is Katie.  We adopted her in Philadelphia, then we moved to Kentucky and adopted three feral cats. She adapted quite well to having three new cats in the household, but she never let them forget who was boss.  Katie was the "diva" cat, queen of her domain.   I could never persuade my husband not to feed her tidbits from the table.

We named Katie after a song my grandmother used to sing to me:

"K-K-Katie, K-K-Katie, you're the only g-g-girl that I adore;
when the m-m-moon shines over the cow shed, I'll be waiting at the k-k-kitchen door"

Wednesday morning we were reading the paper in the living room.  Suddenly we heard a piteous yowling from the other room.  We ran to the kitchen and found Katie lying on the floor.  It was clear that she was in pain.  We took her to the vet, who told us she was "throwing clots".  I didn't know what that meant.  The vet said it was like a stroke, that there were blood clots going to her legs and she couldn't stand up.  I asked her if that was causing the pain, and she said yes.  She told us it would not get better, so we decided to have her put down rather than die slowly and in pain.  I know that anyone who has had to do this will understand how we felt.  We had to say goodbye to Katie.

Katie will be missed.  The other kitties were looking around for her last night.  I could tell they knew something was amiss.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

They Grow Up So Fast

My niece, age 13, going to the Father-Daughter Dance at school last week.  When we moved here, she was just a toddler.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Last Quote For A While...

I promise I will return to regular blogging after this.  I saved this quote for last because it is the most relevant for me at this time in my life.

"Now more than ever do I realize that I will never be content with a sedentary life, that I will always be haunted by thoughts of a sun-drenched elsewhere."
Isabelle Eberhardt

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Quote For The Day 3

I think this quote is a logical follow-up to the one I posted yesterday:

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.  Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime."
Mark Twain

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Quote For The Day 2

This is one of my all-time favorite quotes: 

Friday, January 18, 2013

Quote For The Day

I don't have much to say today, so I will quote someone who says it better than I could.  I think I will post more of my favorite quotes in days to come.

This one is from Bertrand Russell:

"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt."

I also noticed when I posted this that this is my 1,000th post!  I think I will have a glass of something to celebrate.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Medicare? What's That? I'm Too Young!

To me, Medicare was always somewhere in the future.  It was for older people.  Like Scarlett O'Hara, I would think about it tomorrow.  Then my husband lost his job.  No more employer sponsored health insurance!  Suddenly I had to get serious about Medicare.  I wasn't quite prepared for that, because he had planned to retire later.

Medicare Part A is automatic; they send you a card when you turn 65.  There are no premiums to pay.  It covers hospitals.  Then you need Part B, which isn't automatic; you have to sign up for it.  You also have to pay for it.  If you are receiving Social Security, they deduct it from your check.  Then there is Part D, which also requires you to pay a premium. There are plans you can buy from private insurance companies to cover what Medicare doesn't pay. There are Advantage plans and Supplement plans.  Of course, they charge premiums too.

The maze begins when you have to decide which coverage you need and which coverage you can best afford. There are charts that show about a dozen different plans, what they will pay and how much they cost.  It's a bit overwhelming.  It's not easy to predict what your needs will be in the future, so you make an educated guess.

It's shocking to realize you have come to a different stage in your life.  It's no longer possible to tell yourself you are a middle aged person.  You get lumped into a category called "seniors".  Ack!  I wasn't ready for this.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The HGTV Effect?

The house I grew up in had one bathroom.  It was shared by the whole family.  My father established a "bathroom schedule" and posted it on the door.  We each had ten minutes in the morning.  When our ten minutes was up, we had to be out so the next person could go in.  Heaven help the daughter who took longer than her ten minutes!  My parents' bedroom was a little bigger and had a double closet with a sliding door.  There was no such thing as an "en suite" then, no attached bathroom.  They shared the one hall bathroom with the rest of us.

I shared a bedroom with my sister.  We each had a twin bed and one small dresser.  There wasn't room for more. Our closet was tiny, just about the width of the single door, with a shelf on top.  We each had one half of the closet. Our clothes were jammed in so tightly that it was a struggle to put anything in or take anything out.  My two younger sisters also shared a room.  They had bunk beds, one dresser and one desk.

The rest of the house consisted of a living room, dining room and kitchen.. that's it.  No family room or extra room at all.  My father read in the living room.  We watched TV in the living room.  We listened to music in the living room. We did our homework in the dining room.  We were always on top of each other.  If one wanted to escape, one went and sat on the porch swing on the front porch.

I don't remember so much fuss being made about kitchens in those days.  The floor was linoleum and the counters were Formica.  The cupboards were painted metal, and the appliances were either avocado green or mustard yellow.  For my mom the kitchen was just a place to cook.  For people these days, I think it can be a status symbol. Why else make such a fuss about what the finishes are?

When I was first married, we lived in a series of apartments.  Buying a house was out of the question when we were just starting out.  The apartments were spartan, with tiny kitchens and metal closet doors.  One especially depressing one was in a basement.  When finally buying a house, we pretty much accepted them the way they were.  It never occurred to us to knock down walls, rip up flooring, or gut the kitchen.  We used the appliances that came with the house.

Eventually, when I was in my forties, my husband and I bought a house that we loved.  It had large rooms, high ceilings, crown molding, a separate family room, and two and a half bathrooms.  Our bedroom had an attached bath and a walk-in closet.  We even had three fireplaces!  We loved that house.  We kept the floor coverings it came with, the curtains it came with, and the appliances it came with.  We didn't change much; we just moved our furniture in and were happy.  When we sold that house to a young couple, of course they planned to change everything!

Now, when I watch HGTV, young couples buying their first home have very different ideas.  Everything has to be perfectly suited to their taste.  They all want hardwood floors, preferably wide planks and dark wood.  They must have granite counters tops, stainless steel appliances, and an island in the kitchen.  Crown molding and high ceilings are a must.  En suite bathrooms are taken for granted, including double sinks, soaking tubs and glass showers.  There must be huge walk-in closets.  Even if a house has all these requirements, they usually find fault. The marble is the wrong color, the hardware is too old-fashioned, or the neighbors are too close.

They seem to be fond of knocking down walls and "gutting" things.  As I watch the show, a kitchen or a bathroom might look perfectly fine to me, but they walk in and immediately declare "this is a total gut job".  I can only watch so much of it.  I get so tired of them complaining about things and finding fault. Sometimes I want to yell at them and ask them why they are being so picky.  It seems there is no such thing as a "starter home" any more.  Do they get all these ideas from HGTV?  Do they get it from watching "Real Housewives" or the Kardashians?  When did everyone become so entitled?

Saturday, January 12, 2013


Well, here is my new attitude.  Time to adapt to changes.  Monday morning we have a conference call with our Medicare adviser.  Thursday we have a meeting with our retirement financing adviser.  We are not going to take my husband's job loss lying down.

I have been doing the last bit of putting the Christmas decorations away.  When I got these out in December, my husband still had a job.  Now he doesn't.  Oh well, we will manage.

Here are some of my favorites:  Gurley candles from the fifties.

Snowmen... kind of "Fosse-esque" don't you think?

Rudolphs with their red noses and their little white fawn spots.  I had thirty of them all in a row, and they reminded me of the Radio City Rockettes.  I pictured them in a line, kicking their legs up in unison.  (Sometimes my imagination gets the better of me.)

Munchkin and Tiger were checking out a length of pine roping I took down.

Munchkin, wondering where the Christmas tree went!  "But it was right here!"

So here is another of my inspirations for today... reference the title of my blog.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Good Grief, Charlie Brown!

I have always felt a kinship with Charlie Brown.  He's a sensitive soul and often misunderstood.  Recently, though, I'm afraid I've been acting a little more like Lucy... grumpy and short tempered.

I don't handle change well.  Since my husband was laid off from his job, our lives have suddenly changed. Retirement.  Social Security.  Medicare.  So many things to figure out.  I feel as if one life has ended and another is being thrust upon us.  I'm not prepared for it.  There are so many things I don't understand.  At the same time I've been helping my mom with a lot of things she doesn't understand.  Her husband died in October and she is facing changes too.  Legal matters. Financial matters.

I have always felt more or less in control of my life.  Suddenly there are so many things I don't understand.  I find myself with my head in my hands, just blanking out, not knowing what to do or how to do it.  I need to find my fight, my motivation to take on the world and tackle it.

My husband used to travel for work.  When he wasn't traveling, he was in his home office working or on the phone.  His company took away his computer and his phone.  He's in a new place too, without a clear plan for each day.  We are struggling together to make sense of this new life without work.  We are on a decluttering and organizing effort in the house, and sometimes our priorities clash.  What should we do with this?  Will we ever need that?

I've been angry a lot, too.  For one thing, I watch too much news.  I like to know what's going on, but sometimes I think I would be better off not knowing.  I see our government talking about cutting Social Security and Medicare, just when we are approaching a time when we might need it.  I think: "isn't there anything else they could cut?"  I see Senators and Congress people who have guaranteed health care and pensions.  How can they understand the rest of us?  Shouldn't they receive the same benefits they legislate for us?

Most upsetting of all, I see the arguments about gun control.  I don't see anything wrong with sensible rules and regulations when it comes to owning and using guns, but I read internet comments of those who have VERY strong feelings about this, who are afraid someone is coming to take their guns away, and who sound like they are arming themselves for a civil war.  It frightens me.  They are actually making threats to go out and create mayhem.  What are we coming to?

As you can tell, I really need to lighten up.  I should see life as an adventure and count my blessings.  I need to stop watching the news, go outside for a walk, and commune with the trees.  Good grief!

Friday, January 4, 2013


I've been taking the Christmas decorations down.  I think Tiger isn't ready to let them go!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Looking Back At Christmas

In the days since Christmas, I've been so lazy that I haven't downloaded the photos from my camera yet.  Now, on the third day of the new year, I finally got around to my Christmas photos.  It's nice to look back.

My cats all seemed interested in the Christmas tree.  Here is Katie keeping watch over it.  This was a couple of days before Christmas.  Outside on the deck you can see the igloos where the feral kitties find shelter.

My niece, Erin and her boys were here from Ohio.

My sister and my niece Aubrey.  I gave her the shirt that says "Go Away, I'm Reading" because she often has her nose in a book.

This is my niece Molly, in her colorful best.

Sammy, the Wheaten Terrier, investigating a package:

Just lots of Christmasy things everywhere:

Here's what happened after Christmas.  We woke up to five inches of snow!

The holidays are over and winter has settled in!