Tag Archive: freedom

Trying New Things

Painting, gardening and crafts

As I continue to define my role in life as a disabled retiree, I have tried several alternative directions. I have tried tutoring, sewing, painting, care-giving, volunteering, and gardening. Oh yeah, I blog. There just hasn’t been anything that cranks my tractor yet. I know I have a hidden talent that is just waiting to be found.

Tutoring went well and I enjoyed it.  The point of tutoring is to get the student to the point that they don’t need to be tutored.  At first, I got several calls a week requesting tutoring. I had 4 or 5 regular students for 3 or 4 sessions.  Each student became confident enough to end the sessions.  The school hired another math teacher and I quit getting calls.  Guess I was too good for my own good! I even tutored a few adults that wanted to learn different technology. While I enjoyed that, adult students taking private lessons can be truly demanding and required too much babying.

I thought I knew how to sew.  I made pillows and seat cushions.  I even taught a friend to sew.  We made at least 5 summer dresses and tops.  She wears the dresses all summer and they look great on her.  They just look like sacks on me!  I tried to make my great-nieces clothes.  I only saw them wear them a few times.  I suspect their mother made the girls wear them then.  I left wads of elastic in the waistband because I couldn’t get it back around to cut it off.  The seams were too large making the legs tight.  Honestly, I wouldn’t wear them and I won’t even display them here!  And my bloody fingertips became too sore.


crafts displayed on a table

Countless hours and burnt fingertips produced an array of crafts to sale.

My latest effort was crafts.  A local church was having a bazaar and you could rent a booth for $20.  Great. I was excited. A friend of mine decided she would do it with me. We spent a week gluing, painting, and tying.  We collected craft ideas and were diligently preparing to sell our first million, or a 100 at least.  I found it very painful. Hot glue and hands that shake or drop things should not be in the same room together. I think I lost the fingerprints on at least two of my fingers. The big day came and we went to find our booth.  It was at the very end of the booths, behind the musical equipment for the band that was playing.  And it was farther from the door than any other.  I think we sold $120 but spent $60 on materials and paid a $20 booth rental.  We cleared about $30 each and I got rid of those pesky fingerprints!

So far I haven’t found my next calling, but I am certainly going to keep looking. The desire for individuality and purpose is uniquely human. As long as my fingers hold out, I am going to keep searching for what I want to do with my life when I grow up!


Re-Purposing Myself

Re-purposing is all the rage these days.  Bing returns over 2 billion results for “repurposing.”  We turn used plastic bags into purses, old ladders into bookcases, and even suitcases into chairs!  It seems we can give everything a new start.  What happens when we must give ourselves a new purpose?

A lot of the younger basuitcase chairby boomers are in the position where they have to change directions.  They are the boomers that have lost their jobs due to down-sizing, the economy or health issues. A lot of them worked for one employer the past twenty years or more and their salaries had risen too.  Retirement was on the horizon, but not yet an option.  From a business point of view, I can understand why it makes financial sense to lay-off the more costly employees.  Why pay someone $80,000 when you can get someone young and hungry for $30,000!

Unfortunately employers rarely hire anyone within 10 years of retirement. My friends say company interviewers always ask when you plan to take retirement. If you are honest and say less than 10 years, you can bet you will never hear from them again. One of my friends told an interviewer that he was going to work till he died in order to pay off the debt from being unemployed.  A retired military non-commissioned officer was laid off from his civilian job just after building a new house.  The result was a heart attack.  Knowing that no one would hire him now, he put the house on the market and prepared to re-purpose his self.  Me

I now face my own re-purposing.  What do I want to be when I grow up?  So far I’ve been a daughter, a wife, a mother, a procurement clerk, a typesetter, a secretary, a teacher, a manager, a computer technician, commissioned artist, training manager, certified facilitator, graphic design artist, webmaster, and a host of other things. Not much left to choose from now.   I am not able to physically hold a job so I think for the first time in my life, so I will just be me.

Maybe I will take out my past purposes and play with them now and then. Maybe I will travel, paint, sing, or play.  We are embarking on a new adventure with exciting challenges and freedom.  I say embrace it and take it one day at a time.  Now is such a wonderful time.   Let’s re-purpose ourselves just to live in the now.

I take methotrexate injections. My regular pharmacy is a large chain drug store and do not carry this drug. They said that it was no longer being manufactured. A small locally owned pharmacy had the drug and has been able to get more for me when needed. My insurance, however, will not pay for the drug because I am injected it on my own. If I went to a doctor’s office and they gave me the injection, the insurance would pay. This has caused me to wonder who is responsible and why this situation has developed. One can only decide that the insurance and pharmaceutical companies are primarily responsible, but politicians have allowed these companies to have total control.

Medication and syring

According to The American Society of Health-System Pharmacies these shortages were caused when manufacturers ceased production of the drug. APP Pharmaceuticals application to manufacture methotrexate has sat dormant since 2010. The New York Times reported there is a backlog of applications for new generic drugs at the F.D.A. because the government does not have the money to hire enough reviewers to analyze the applications or inspectors to visit the facilities. The generic drug industry proposed providing the agency with $299 million in annual fees to finance the review process as they grew tired of waiting for Congress to fully finance the F.D.A.’s generic drug office. Looking at the Food and Drug Administration’s website it would appear that current drug shortages are primarily generic drugs. The reasons listed are consistently either high demand or manufacturing delays. Could the true reason be greed? There is obviously more money in the brand name drugs than generic.

I have health insurance coverage with a major national insurer. This insurance will not cover my methotrexate unless I go to the doctor’s office and they give the injection. If I give myself the shot it works out to about two dollars a shot. If I went to the doctor’s office, it would cost much more. According to the online Health Affairs Journal physicians purchase products from wholesalers or directly from manufacturers, administer them to patients, and then charge insurers at prices much higher than those they paid. This practice undermines any insurer effort to extract volume price discounts from manufacturers. When accompanied by large price mark-ups, this gives financial incentives to physicians to prefer high-price, office-administered drugs over products that can be obtained through independent pharmacies. So I wonder who benefits from non-coverage of self-administered drugs.

So who is in charge of our health care and the drugs we need to stay healthy or even to live? Amy Klobuchar, US Senator has said that “over the past five years the number of life-saving drugs in shortage has increased dramatically – from 55 to 231 reported drug shortages in 2011. A female doctor This is a crisis that has grown to such proportions that current drug shortages have impacted individuals all across the country, forcing some patients to delay their lifesaving treatments or use unproven, less effective alternatives. In some cases, drug shortages have even resulted in patient deaths. This is a national public health crisis that must be addressed.” However, any government intervention in health care is met when fierce opposition. Why? We have had price controls and subsidies for milk, corn and soy beans. According to The Daily Caller, under current law, milk processors must pay a federally mandated minimum price for unprocessed milk. Where is the outrage over this government intrusion?

Our health is too important for government not to intervene. Of all the crisis we are facing as a country, insurance and pharmaceutical reform must be a top priority. If the health of our citizens fail, who will fight our wars? Who will lead our nation? Who will be able to work at a full-time job? Is the fox watching the hen house? Our representatives and senators seem to be listening to the insurance and pharmaceutical industry lobbyist more than they hear the private citizens. We are losing our voice as citizens. Voters have less influence than they do. It seems we need to speak louder.

Family and Friends

What a beautiful, beautiful Fourth of July we had! For two days we had both our sons at home. For us empty nesters it is such a joy to have our family together again, and yes, some relief when they leave. Our son and his wife came home from Mobile. Our oldest son was off work for two days and stayed home with everyone. It was very nice.

On Friday we had a cookout with a very mixed crew. Our son invited his friends and their children. We had our neighbors and their children and grandchildren. All together there were at least 30 people. While it is a lot of work to get that many people together and fed it was well worth it. I smiled and laughed till my face hurt.

Since the fourth is my mother’s birthday, we had another cookout at her house Saturday. My father died in 1996 so my family is just my mother and my brother. But my brother has two daughters and four grandchildren. My oldest son and my brother’s youngest daughter both had to work on the 4th.  They were both missed.

I hope everyone celebrated with family and friends. Only in America do we have the freedom to celebrate occasions in whatever manner suits us. Although there are government celebrations, we can choose to celebrate with whomever, wherever, in whatever manner we want. As we enjoy this holiday, let us all remember why we celebrate.