The Final Week of CSA Veggies

Well it’s hard to believe but four weeks went by quickly for my free CSA (Community Share Agricultural Project) veggies!  These are all certified organic and were sooo good!  But, for a household of two more than I could eat.  I did get to share with neighbors, work colleagues and that was great to introduce others into the organic vegetable trend.

The best part of the last two weeks were the cantaloupe and watermelon!  So good, sweet and fresh.

If you ever get the chance to try organic vegetables through a food share like this or just from a local farm do it.  You will not regret it.  I even got to try veggies I normally would never buy such as Fennel which tastes like licorice, Japanese Peppers – not hot at all, and of course to have more of my favorites beets, eggplants, lettuce and scallions.  Thanks again to Sang Lee Farms for offering this experience and the Southold Public Library for their monthly raffle.

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The Peace Walk – Utah Version

Base of snow canyon from Red Mountain Resort On the way up - Petrified Sanddunes, Snow Canyon National Park

When the stress of your day has gotten to you, fifteen minutes walking outside or if you must inside, can lower your blood pressure and give you a whole new perspective.  My offering is both physical and mental – take a walk.   I try to get out and walk about 2 miles four times a week.  Recently I got to travel to Utah, #RedMountain Resort and Snow Canyon National Park.  A lovely place to take a walk.  I walked from a mile to four miles a day out there.  Sometimes, hiking up petrified sand dunes.  Like stepping stones or paving stones in many ways. You should try it sometime. I call it the peace walk. First written four years ago.

We begin slowly, putting comfortable clothes on, sneakers or walking shoes,

We then migrate to the outdoors.  Gently flex your feet, stretch your calves and feel the tension ease.

We put one foot in front of the other and before you know it we are walking.  Bright sunshine welcomes us.

Breathing takes over where tension had locked.  Easy on the eyes, sights of nature bring us forward,

Birds are flying overhead, the wind is strong but warm, and the gentle waterway is near.

Deer can be seen on the lawns of homes as you pass them by, the pine trees bend in approval back and forth.

Finally we reach the waters edge, minnows still know how to swim, and already I am lighter in spirit and frame of mind.

The land across the water is straight ahead, the wind ripples the water as you gaze forward, breathing calmly.

Peacefully walking, you must try it sometime…

MY PERSONAL DAY WITH THE ACA (AKA NYSTATEOFHEALTH)

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It’s three months into the new year. How we doing?  Ed Koch had that quintessential phrase follow him around for years.  He had the nerve to ask people and they told him.  Since January I’ve been overwhelmed with the antagonistic nature of the new health insurance that is mandated.  My old insurance which I had for five years was a PPO.  Not great but covered everything I needed it to and though there were glitches in time where a doctor or two didn’t accept it, in time all the doctors I needed to see did.  That’s not the case with this new insurance regime.

First of all: New York State created their own health marketplace instead of opting to use the Federal health channel.  Citizens of New York be heard “You cannot have a PPO as an individual member.”  Options are gone. Although there are different insurance agencies that offer coverage – all benefits are the same – all are HMO’s for individuals and no more sole proprietor status.  Sole proprietors are now lumped into individual category which were always those who didn’t work, or couldn’t work, and had a higher premium attached to it than a sole proprietor.  Promised last fall by the insurers that if a doctor of hosptial took their current HMO then they would take the new one through the healthmarketplace.  However, not so. Come January 2014 this health debacle unfurled a nastly reality. All is not the same.  Doctors were being told “they could not participate”, or they were in fear of even lower reimbursement rates than medicare participants so they opted not to take it at all.  It was three weeks before I ever got my ID number and that was after calling three different times and waiting an hour and fifteen minutes each time to speak to a BCBS representative.

If it wasn’t for my tenacity and persistence I would have been like thousands who just never got the ID card or number for the month of January. One thing I will say they are up on is sending out the monthly premium bill.  In fact I got two for the month of January!

Why isn’t this mess on the evening news a few days out of the week? This is something I don’t understand.  New York State screwed its citizens with or without the Cuomo administration knowing what was going on.  According to the New York State Attorney General’s office there are thousands a week filing complaints regarding lack of coverage or misleading information that led people to believe they had one coverage then the insurance companies turned it around and changed provider networks. Blue Cross Blue Shield is the largest  health insurance carrier in New York state and has had the most complaints. All Blue Cross Blue Shield across the country is now under Wellpoint a public company that seems to care more about its stock price then the care hundreds of thousands who signed up for coverage with them expect.  Changes are a coming. How we doing?  Not well.

Happy Holidays! You have more cancer… (Original post 11/10)

  Not really the greeting anyone wants to hear.  Anytime of the year bad news hurts.  It concerns, it worries, it makes people breathe less, bite their nails, become silent, sleep less, exercise more or less and overall stresses.  When it comes to holiday time and by that I do mean between Thanksgiving and Christmas time of year it stings all the more.  Why?  Well, it is Holiday time!  You know, the joyful time of year that is made  of eating, cooking, family and joy on abundance.  No one has the perfect plan, the perfect meal or the perfect family in retrospect but at Holiday time we are all supposed to.  That is stressful enough in and of itself but when you get a bad diagnosis, it brings you down to the ground all that much faster.

Recently my dad got this bad news.  Why now?  Why this time of year which seems to emphasize the emotional side of it all so much more?  It isn’t my calendar or my wishes and the lack of control over such things is part of the difficulty in dealing with it.  If I were to plan such things, this would happen just after his birthday in April, spring time.  Why?  The weather would be warming up, the landscape a little more enjoyable to view and take in.  What is that saying, ” Now is the winter of our discontent”, a famous literary phrase.  Seems apropos in this instance.  What comes next?  Some more tests, diagnosis, and perhaps a treatment.  Everyone must face their ending at sometime on this earth.  How to deal effectively, positively and with faith is the challenge.  All one can do is prepare as much upfront as possible before the final diagnosis is given.  You want to leave a strong foundation and reputation if you care at all about your legacy. 82 years is nothing to sneeze at, in fact it is something to be glad of.  You should be proactive about your own health care and if you don’t get answers or the right care from any physician, move on, find one you can easily talk to and most importantly trust with your life.  Trust should be earned and not given freely.  If you find an untrustworthy physician and you feel you are being taken advantage of – speak up, complain, and let those who are in authority over them know what has transpired.

Happy Holidays!  Not really. But, we can still take in the joy and peace of the present, before the future arrives.  There is peace in the present and memories still to be made and enjoyed and that in itself can be a Holiday.

(My dad passed away three weeks after I wrote this two years ago.  He had Hospice care.  We never knew how long  he had but I certainly didn’t expect 3 weeks.  They are some of the most amazing people you will ever meet those in Hospice care.  For anyone going through serious illnesses at Christmas or Holiday time, I can relate and hope that this post resonates empathy with you.)