Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Free Tuition? What do you think?

I read a recent post that said "democratic presidential hopeful and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders just introduced a bill to make public 4-year colleges tuition free in the U.S., modeled after the way many European nations handle the costs of college by using tax money to invest in their youth rather than treating them as profit centers."  

I was intrigued by the idea so I re-posted on Facebook and boy did I get some backlash.  I guess I didn't realize how many people resent paying taxes.  Of course I don't necessary love them but I'd much rather pay taxes that would be invested in our future and the best way to do that is by educating young people.  If we continue on our current course higher education will only be available to a few leading us to an elitist society.  Bye Bye middle class..............

The bill plans to cover these costs by initiating a Robin Hood Tax on Wall Street. A .5% speculation fee will be charged on investment houses, hedge funds, and other stock trades. Additionally, a .1% fee will be charged on bonds, and a .005% fee will be charged on derivatives.

Several years ago when I was in school I wrote a paper on mandatory military service.  I no longer support that idea but I would support some type of mandatory civil service in exchange for tuition.  Many of the Indian tribes, including my own, provide college tuition and living expenses in exchange for one year of service to the tribe per each year of school provided.  Say you become a dentist and it took 7 years to get your degree.  You would work in a tribal clinic for 7 years, while getting paid of course, to repay your debt.  It's a win/win situation in my opinion.  Why couldn't the government have such a program?

It just seems to me that people just want to argue and point fingers but nobody wants to work together to solve problems.  I'm so tired of the hateful rhetoric that I've decided to unplug from facebook.  It's just a platform for extremists to vent their negativity.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Busy weekend

First the Affordable Care Act survives and then marriage equality for all.  I thought some of my conservative friends heads were going to implode.  Some of the responses on the internet ranged from sarcastic to flat threatening bodily harm to all liberals.  It was quite a range of hate filled warnings threatening the end of time and the world as we know it.  WOW  how do they do it?  How do they mange to keep people so worked up?  With a 70% divorce rate I think we have done enough to discredit the sanctity of marriage don't you?  Let the gay community give it a go and see if they do better than the rest of us.

Last night Ron and I were called in to action to help my daughter find her 15 year old deaf & blind dog.  Sophie had somehow gotten out of their fenced yard and wandered off.  My daughter was hysterical...that dog is her child.  My other daughter and son-in-law came to help as well and just shortly after dark Ron called and said to meet him in the driveway...he had found her.  She had actually gotten quite a ways from home and Ron found her behind someone's house where she had become disoriented by a brick wall.  It's just a miracle he found her.  But all's well that ended well and Ron is the hero once more.

Saturday I was so full of energy I got up and cleaned out kitchen cabinets.  Then I moved on to cleaning closets.  By mid-afternoon I wanted to mow the yard so I headed out to do that.  While I was mowing our neighbor came over and Ron told her he was afraid to see what I would start cleaning after dark.  I can see he is getting nervous about retirement.  He said he may have to find a job just to get him out of the house.  I'm just so happy to be able to move and do things again that I can't stop.  It's great to be pain free.......


Friday, June 26, 2015

The ACA is here to stay & Rapid Ramen Noodle Cooker

Hooray Supreme Court for doing the right thing.  The Affordable Healthcare Act survived yet one more attack.  Call me stupid but I still don't understand why anyone would be against it in the first place.  Shouldn't we want all the citizens of this country to have access to affordable health care?  I realize that their are those whose rates increased.  Mine was one of them but I like to blame our governor for refusing to create our own network and also refusing the Medicaid expansion.  But that's another story.

If I am being honest I hope this is just the first step to a single payer system.  I don't believe it will happen in my life time but for future generations I hope it becomes a reality.  Healthcare should not bankrupt anyone.  It should be available for everyone including mental health services.  

Now, if we could just get some traction on gun control.

Mike asked me to fix him his special spaghetti so I had him come over for dinner.  A while back I purchased the Rapid Ramen Cooker thinking it might be something Mike could use.  Once I learned how awful Ramen Noodles are for your health and the fact that they have MSG I knew they were out.  But I decided to see if I could cook other noodles in it.........it worked perfectly!  

So, I had Mike fill the cooker with water to the fill line.  I then had him put the egg noodles in the cooker and microwave for 6 minutes.  Perfect noodles!  So now I'm going to make a bunch of spaghetti sauce for him and put it in pre-measured containers and freeze them.  I can stock his freezer with sauce and he can cook his own noodles anytime he wants spaghetti.  (I haven't figured out how to cook spaghetti pasta yet but he seems to like the noodles even better).   This will be great for him when Ron and I take our trip to N. Carolina.  It's a great little noodle cooker for one person.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Clearing the Cobwebs

Now that we have all of our personal business taken care of for the retirement process I am now trying to get everything completed at work.  I want to get all my filing done (which I hate) and everything worked on my desk so I can leave in good order for my predecessor.  I've already started taking personal items home so I don't have a big moving job on the last day.  I've never been a pack rat and I really didn't do much "nesting" in my office so there hasn't been a ton of stuff to take home.

When we first moved into our new hospital Ron bought me a painting I had coveted for a long time to hang above my desk.  It is fairly large so I'll take it home the last day.  And finally the beautiful Lilly I received from the staff when my mother died.  I have it sitting on a plant stand in the corner. That will be the final step.  All the other little personal pictures have already gone and my office is beginning to look quite sterile.  It's really weird to think the last 28 years of my working life were condensed into two boxes.

I really didn't want to have a retirement party because I get very uncomfortable with good-byes and being the center of attention.  For one thing I know I will cry and it will probably be an ugly cry to boot.  Unfortunately I'm not being allowed to just turn in my keys and slip out the door.  I saw the list of people (former employees, my family, former bosses, etc. who are being invited.)  Mike will love being invited but I'm very concerned about him getting emotional especially if he sees me cry so I'll just have to keep it together.  Fortunately Ron will be there to help Mike.

So, only 37 days left!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

One ringy dingy

Lily Tomlin

Now I realize that in today’s technological world we have the ability to avoid solicitous phone calls that were unavoidable in my youth.   When I was a kid you had no idea who awaited you on the other end of the line.  Now we just watch the TV screen and when the phone rings we automatically weed out all calls that say “caller unknown”.  I understand and it’s a great way to avoid talking to salesmen or anyone soliciting donations.  But at the same time………I miss the excitement of surprise.

I remember once when I was a kid the phone rang and my father answered.  “Simpson’s residence” my father stated when the phone rang followed by a short pause. 

“No thank you” my father said.

“No thanks, they’re just too ugly” my father responded matter- of- factly.

By now he had our full attention.  Who’s too ugly?

“No, we are all just too damn ugly, came my father’s reply once more followed by but we thank you for calling.”

By then we were all anxious to hear who he had been talking to. 

Finally our mother looked at our dad and asked, “Who in the heck were you talking to?”

My dad nonchalantly replied, “Olan Mills, they wanted to know if we wanted to have a family portrait taken.”

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Best Friends

Recently through the power of Facebook I reconnected with my childhood best friend.  Last night we talked on the phone for the first time.  It was so wonderful to hear her voice and it took me back to being 8 years old again.  We had lost touch for the past 40 years but I'll never let that happen again.

She and her husband live in Arizona and you can imagine where I want to go asap.  First we have to go to N. Carolina to see Ron's daughter and then the next trip will be Arizona for sure.

We usually only have a few people who become life long friends even if we never see them.  They are just in our hearts forever and that is how I feel about Karma.  She was the best thing about my childhood!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Father's Day

For Father's Day my daughter wrote a beautiful post to her step-father on Facebook.  It read "Happy Father's Day to Ron Phillips!  My biological father chose to not be in our lives and was never a father.  Ron has been there for us through surgeries and helping put together our classrooms each year.  He has helped us move from house to house.  He takes care of our mother and spoils her rotten.  He is the most patient, caring, and sweetest human being and has been a true dad to us both.  Thank you Taylor Bender for sharing your dad with us!"

Needless to say it brought a little tear to Ron's eye.  

The girls came over and we all had a cookout in Ron's honor.  My wonderful son-in-law braved the heat and manned the grill.  The girls made the fix-ins and Mike thought the whole thing was another birthday party for him.

Mike's cognitive skills are taking another set back.  He is now unable to count money.  He tried to count his money 6 -7 times on Saturday and came out with a different amount each time. He was up or down by as much as 50 dollars.  It really made me feel sad and so sorry for him.  Fortunately he seems to be relatively unaware of his declining skills.  I'm glad because I don't want him to feel afraid.

Only 6 weeks remain until retirement!  We have signed up for Medicare part B and have picked our supplemental insurance.  I think we have all our ducks in a row but we'll be double checking ourselves several times I'm sure.

If I had any doubts about retirement they were satisfied this weekend.  I learned of the death of a friend's younger brother, he was only 59 years old.  Then another friend 58 was killed in a motorcycle accident on Saturday and another friend our age retired last month but died on Sunday.  That's enough for me..........this is the right time and we need to enjoy each other and savor every day we have left together!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Self tanners

For a person who is 1/8 Choctaw I'm the whitest Indian I've ever seen.  Everyone is my family, with the exception of my dad, has dark skin, brown eyes and black hair.  Me, not so much.  I got the blue eyes and fair skin.  I've never tanned and couldn't if I tried.  Freckles are all I get from a day in the sun.

Well, this fair skin won me the pasty legs contest here at work.  A title I wasn't that thrilled to receive I might add.  But I accept my fate.  But this year I decided to try a self tanner... I was afraid of some of them because I am so white..I thought they might streak and be a real mess.  So I bought the Jergen's lotion that just gradually gives you color.  Well, when you are paper white there is no gradual to it.  Within an hour of application I could see a big difference.  After using it a week.....well I'm not white but I can't tell you what color I am.  It's kinda gold highlights.....but my skin doesn't match the color of my socks anymore and that's a good thing.  No one thinks I'm a nurse wearing white hose.  So I'm satisfied.

The bad part about self tanners when you are my age is that they darken your age spots first.  Something I'd rather have fade in the background.  But you can't have everything.

In this day and age I'd rather be safe than sorry.  Skin cancer is something I'd like to avoid.  

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Rain, Rain, Go Away............

We are expecting 5 - 10 inches of rain this evening due to tropical storm Bob!  Oh my the flash flooding will be intense.  There just isn't anywhere for the water to go with everything as saturated as it is.

Ron and I are supposed to go out to dinner with friends this evening but I bet we all decide to stay in and stay dry.  That works for me because I'm tired.  I worked until 8:30 last night and I'm dragging a little today.

I've been thinking about the upcoming democratic primary and even though I'd love to see a woman in the White House I'm also interested in Bernie Sanders.  I've always liked what he has had to say on issues like income inequality, climate change and especially campaign finance reform.  I've always felt that if we could get special interest groups out of the business of buying elections we'd have a better chance of electing someone to honestly represent the people.

Well, we have a long way to go so learn as much as you can about the candidates before you make your decision on who you want to support.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Ducks in a Row

Well, Ron and I were up and in line at the Social Security Office this morning an hour before they opened.  Yet we drew number 73.....Fortunately the wait was not long and we got all our questions answered.  It is amazing though......we signed up for Social Security online.  Ron's went smoothly and then when I signed up in April I thought it had gone smoothly.  A young man called me after I signed up with a couple of questions.  I answered them and thought we were squared away. But today when we met with someone face-to-face it seems that mine was not squared away as I thought.  In fact the young woman said she didn't know what the guy was talking about.  But, we got the right forms and everything is ok now.  All in all we talked to 5 different people and got 5 different answers.  Go figure.  Guess it's a government thing!

If I had known how difficult it is to retire I'd have started the process 10 years ago...ha
One thing I forgot to mention about Mike's birthday bash.  When he asked the waitress to sing happy birthday to him and she said they couldn't.  Well, we decided to sing it to him and everyone sitting within ear shot started singing too!  That touched my heart and made Mike thrilled out of his socks!

There are still good people in this world!

I think I made Ron nervous as a cat last night.  I started making a list of all the projects I want to complete after we retire.  I could see him starting to sweat in his recliner!  I was actually shocked at how many things I want to do....the list just kept growing and growing. 

My idea of fun is painting bedrooms, cleaning out closets, etc. etc.  Ron's is sleeping late and going to any kind of sports event known to man.  I think our retirements are going to look very different.

I did find a list of 50 free things to see in Oklahoma.  We plan to take Mike to as many places as we can.  These are the first 10.....some of them we have already seen.  We took Mike to Pop's last year for the 4th of July.

#1 - Historic Route 66   (done)

Oklahoma is home to the largest drivable stretch of Route 66 in the nation. Immerse yourself in the nostalgia of this old highway, remember days past and discover quirky roadside stops along the way as you travel down the historic Mother Road.

#2 - Blue Whale & Totem Pole Park

The Blue Whale of Catoosa and Totem Pole Park of Foyil are wonderful outdoor attractions along the eastern stretch of Oklahoma’s Route 66. Pack a picnic lunch and take advantage of a great photo-op at these fun, out-of-the-ordinary Route 66 pit stops. 

#3 - Round Barn & POPS  (done)

Uncover what central Route 66 has to offer by visiting the Round Barn of Arcadia. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this unusual piece of Oklahoma architecture is certainly unique. After the sun goes down, travel down the road to POPS to view its iconic, giant soda bottle illuminated with dazzling LED lights.

#4 - Oklahoma City National Memorial  (done)

Travel to downtown Oklahoma City to see the site of the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. Wander through the grounds of the Oklahoma City National Memorial and reflect upon the outdoor Field of Empty Chairs, the massive bronze Gates of Time and the Survivor Tree, a testament to the city’s strength and perseverance. 

#5 - Martin Park Nature Center

Immerse yourself in the beauty of Oklahoma’s central woodlands and take a calming outdoor break at Martin Park Nature Center. This free Oklahoma City oasis features a variety of winding nature trails, a beautiful creek that runs throughout the park, a bird-observation wall and an on-site nature museum. 

#6 - Keystone Ancient Forest

Explore a serene haven dotted with 500-year-old post oaks and 300-year-old cedars within the Keystone Ancient Forest in Sand Springs. Open during select Saturdays, this 1,360 acre nature preserve offers well-maintained hiking trails and plenty of opportunities for wildlife watching on the banks of Keystone Lake.

#7 - Conoco Museum

With numerous computer touch screens, a 40-seat movie theater and a replica development laboratory, it’s a wonder the state-of-the-art Conoco Museum is free.  Take advantage of the free admission and learn about Oklahoma’s oil boom days at this high-tech museum located in Ponca City.

#8 - Route 66 Vintage Iron Motorcycle Museum

Visit this motorcycle museum located directly off the Mother Road in Miami and enjoy browsing through 40 vintage motorcycles on display, plus a 2,000 sq. ft. gift shop.  During your trip to Vintage Iron, don't miss the ever-growing Evel Knievel collection.

#9 - Oklahoma State Capitol  (done)

Take a free tour of the Oklahoma State Capitol and marvel at the building’s impressive Greco-Roman architecture as a tour guide leads you throughout the structure. Make sure to point your gaze upward to see the magnificent detail work on the inside of the capitol dome. 

#10 - Oklahoma Governor’s Mansion  (done)

See where Oklahoma’s governor resides and get a taste of Oklahoma elegance on a tour of the Governor’s Mansion. Wander through beautiful gardens, view stately architecture and even catch a glimpse of an Oklahoma-shaped swimming pool.

#39 - Cavanal Hill  (done)      This hill was in our parent's backyard.  In fact our father played on Cavanal when he was a kid and wanted his ashes scattered from the top after his death.

Instead of hiking to the highest peak, try hiking to the top of the “world’s highest hill.” Cavanal Hill in Poteau stands 1,999 feet tall and features breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside.

So we have lots to see and do and I can't wait to get started!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Yesterday was Mike's birthday so we took him to dinner.  My daughters and our other brother and his wife also joined in the celebration.  Mike was like a kid in a candy store.  He loved being the center of attention.  He wanted the waitress to sing happy birthday to him but she said they didn't do that at their restaurant.  So we sang to him instead!
Mike's 67th birthday bash!

Happy belated birthday to Olga!  Another Flag Day baby!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Ventriloquist with live dog!

You gotta watch this!

 This is precious!

Live in the moment.

A co-worker and friend found out last week that she has a serious form of skin cancer on her shoulder then yesterday found out she also has breast cancer.  The breast cancer is invasive so she will be undergoing a mastectomy and has decided she will have both breasts removed.  She had also accepted a new job just days before receiving all this news and will be leaving her employment here on Thursday.  I feel so bad for her!

She has been planning to retire from state service in 5 years.  She and her husband purchased land in New Mexico and they plan to build a house there when they retire.  Her medical issue reminds me that we never know what may be around the corner.  We plan life times but never know what may happen to alter those plans.  You just have to live one day at a time.  But that's what life is about, being fully present in the moment.

As a friend we sometimes struggle to know what to say to someone dealing with a crisis or grief.  I've learned over the years that it isn't about saying the "right" thing.  In fact, words aren't even that necessary.  Just being present for a person and willing to listen or just sitting quietly with someone.  I can't remember the words spoken to me after my father's death but I remember every person who was there.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

I just learned about an assault that took place just around the corner of our house.  A young woman was asleep on her sofa and at 1 am there was an intruder who attacked her while she was sleeping.  He stabbed her 27 times.  She somehow managed to get away from him and made it to a neighbors house to get help.  The attacker was not apprehended.  The woman did not know her attacker.  The paper called it a home invasion.  

Now, that's a big unnerving and too close to home. (literally)

There should be a college course on Medicare.........

I consider myself a reasonably intelligent person.  I went to college and I studied hard.  But no where in my educational process did I ever learn enough to understand Medicare.  Now I have the part A figured out and the part B.  I've decided on the right supplemental plan but then we got in to the part D.   Oh my goodness what a maze.  Between the formularies and the donut hole I was confused as heck.  If I had known how much there was to learn about getting old I'd have made other arrangements. ha   Oh, and have you tried to talk to someone in the flesh at Social Security?  I waited on the phone for over an hour.  I tried online but couldn't get the answers I needed.  We are going to our local SS office next Tuesday and I guess we will just wait for as long as it takes.

It sure makes me feel bad for those seniors who are totally dependent on Social Security.  That little ole check just doesn't stretch very far and I don't see any change on the horizon as long as Congress doesn't have to participate in the system.  Not much incentive on their part to change it.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Here comes the bride!

On Saturday night we attended the wedding of a friend's daughter.  The couple had her little dachshund, Charlie, serve as the ring bearer.  The little dog walked down the aisle and immediately went under the bride's dress and poked his head out and went to sleep.  Cutest thing ever.
 To say the least, he stole the show!

Me and my handsome husband!

Friday, June 5, 2015

Busy time this weekend

Boy this is a busy month for Ron and I.  Between trying to make decisions about Medicare supplemental insurance and setting up our retirement accounts we are going in a million directions.  

In addition we still have storm damage to contend with.  Two of our large trees lost some huge limbs that have to be cut up.  Don't know when we will get to that.  We are also waiting for the new roof to be put on the barn.

Now, I'm a person who likes to have projects to do but my husband, not so much!  He'd be content to watch old movies all day and sleep in his recliner.  I have to have something to do.  That is why I have applied for two jobs after retirement.  I applied with our local school system.  One job is at the high school around the block from our house and the other is at a grade school also a short distance from our house.  I'd have summers and holidays off so it sounded like a good deal.  Now to wait and see if I even get an interview.  Either way I will be substituting for my daughters in their classrooms when they need me.

Today I am going to pick up Mike's meds.  The pharmacy has a new call-in system but it is a crap shoot if they will get the order right.  Mike takes 14 different meds and some of them are the "big Kahoonas" as he calls it... He is very paranoid about his meds.  so I have to be very certain that they are filled correctly.

Tomorrow night I have a date with my husband to go to a wedding.  I'm looking forward to getting dressed up for a change.  Ron is quite dapper in a suit and tie if I say so myself!  

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Don't dig on the Duggars

Whether you are a fan of the Duggars or not the fact that juvenile records were somehow released to the public is horrible and especially for the victims who were minors at the time the events took place.

I think it was probably a bad idea for the family to start filming a reality show in the first place.  From what I understand the abuse took place just a short time before filming began.  Anyone who signs up to be a public figure takes a huge risk that someone will do anything to dig up dirt on you.  They shouldn't have taken that risk for 5 young girls.  The girls deserved to be protected from the very thing that has happened to them now.

I hope that this doesn't become political fodder for those who want to attack the conservative right.  I'm a liberal democrat but a line has to be drawn when it comes to innocent victims. They aren't running for office and they don't deserve to be used as ammunition.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015


Well it has been interesting watching the reaction to Bruce Jenner's transformation.  I don't know why some people feel it is their duty to judge and ridicule another person.  Or why they think that another person's decision to do something to correct what they feel was nature's mistake in some way impacts them at all.  It baffles my mind.

Using religion as an excuse to judge others is just so darn hypocritical.  Drives me crazy!   

I read where a young woman wrote how God doesn't make mistakes.  If he made you to have a male body he intended for you to be a male.  That really got my attention as I look at the sweet adorable faces of the children we treat at our hospital every day.  Children who were born with every type of syndrome or difficulty you can imagine.  Some have cerebral palsy, some just simply born with some genetic mutation.  So, does this young woman believe it was God's intention that they be born to experience pain?  Was it something they did that made God decide to punish them in some way?  Or maybe God was just punishing their parents.

As wonderful as the internet can be...like making friends you would have otherwise never met, it is also a vehicle for some of the most vicious and vile rhetoric spewed by cowards who have the luxury of anonymity.  Evidently they never heard the saying, "If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all".

My impression of Caitlyn Jenner is that she looks beautiful for her age.  And I hope that she is happy.  I give her a lot of credit for handling the situation in the only way possible.  She is presenting herself on her own terms and not leaving it to the paparazzi.  As a public figure she had no choice.

I was born a woman and I don't look that good!

Monday, June 1, 2015

We received 5 new hospital beds today and they are fancy.  They will weigh patients without having to get them out of bed.  Pretty snazzy.........at least for our little hospital.

This got me to thinking about my projection clock.  My clock projects the time and temp. inside and outside on the ceiling. What if it also projected my weight each morning on the ceiling?  And then scrolled either messages of inspiration to get my fat butt moving or threatened to scroll my weight across the front of the house if I didn't loose weight consistently.  Of course all I'd have to do is unplug the clock...but then it has a battery reserve...and it might turn into a rouge clock that takes over the world.........