Tag Archives: United States

I just can’t help it

Maximum Out-of-Pocket Premium Payments Under PPACA
Maximum Out-of-Pocket Premium Payments Under PPACA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am not a highly political person.

It isn’t that I don’t care. I do.

The reason I don’t like to talk about politics is this: Arguing about politics makes little difference to anything. Arguing does, however, raise everyone’s blood pressure and that isn’t good if you are of a certain age. No one wins. Politics is all about winning.

So I just can’t help myself about this business at hand.

Here’s the thing about this “Affordable” Care Act. The computer’s website doesn’t work. It doesn’t. We all have October until March to sign up and already the entire month of October is a wash out because NO ONE can sign up.

Think about this number: $600,000,000. Six Hundred Million dollars! That is what has already been spent on making this website work. Our money, yours and mine, that is gone, done, flushed.

(Wasn’t there some money go missing from Iraq when we were looking for Saddam? I believe it was less than $600,000,000. So Obama trumped Bush on spending losses here. Does that mean he won?)

The experts have spent weeks and weeks looking for the problem. They haven’t found it.

Here is my take on this: The website will never work for OBAMA-CARE as it stands today. Why? Because computers are logical. They work on logic. They run on logic.

Apparently OBAMA-CARE does not compute.

My prediction is that somehow this massive failure will be the fault of the Republicans.

Perhaps we should all just eat more fiber.

 

A Priceless Sight 13

From my mother’s journal 1970:

July 30 (cont’)

We are now on 401 highway in Ontario Canada. mileage 55,995. Gas is a whopping 56 cents a gallon. wow.

Kingston, Ontario mileage 56,088 gas is 57 cents a gallon. Goodness, it is getting worse!

We read in the newspaper back at a rest stop that N.Y. has been warned that smog content is dangerous.  Just seems natural that this would be true but they have to put that in the paper? All along the Ontario and Quebec highway there has been a haze of smog covering everything. Perhaps it is the lack of wind and sultry atmosphere.

I especially enjoyed the “sign-language” signage along the roads. A leaping deer, a spoon and fork, a picture of a fire with a line through it. The line through it apparently means “not permitted”. Also every sign in English is in French also.

We ran into another camper at a rest stop who had been in that park with us last night. He is from N.Y. He said that park was the hottest and buggyist park he’d ever been in.

We came through a small rain shower but it just wasn’t enough to change the temperature, or do much good. Heavy smog is in the air now just past Calborne. R. said it was smoke. It seems to be smog from Toronto. We stopped at the Waterfalls Private Campground about 7 P.M. near Brompton, Ontario, Canada. ($3.00)We noticed that the restrooms weren’t too clean and no showers. I was really mad because of this as we had such a hot place last night with no showers. An English lady nearby must have overheard me complaining because she offered the use of her shower in her self-contained camper. (Her husband was being transferred to Ontario.) It felt so good and made all the difference.

God’s blessings on all the kind people in this world. (B. and M. Spears of Merriway Lane, Cincinnati, Ohio.)

It was cool in the night better than in Montreal. After breakfast we packed up and left, after we told our new friends goodbye.

Friday. July 31

Left at 11:15 A.M. That park would have been beautiful, if the sites with water and electric had some shade and the restrooms had been clean and included showers. There was a swim pond, but algae coated the water. There were two pretty waterfalls but no where to swim there. Also a quarry with clear water but rocks lining it were to sharp for kids to swim.

Stopped at a fruit stand and got some fruit and 1 gallon of peppers and red onions. ($1.91) The apples were great and so were the yellow plums. I’ve never seen yellow plums.

 

drove past a line of cars waiting to see Niagra Falls. Police were checking cars. We felt sorry for all those people sweating in their cars.

mileage 56, 316 and gas is 56 cents a gallon.

In Guelph, Ontario, we discovered two separate Waterfalls Parks in Brampton in our book. So the mistake was ours. We went to the wrong one. We drove to Guelph Christian Campgrounds. There was no place to put a trailer  but it is a very pretty campground. We drove on, to rest, to eat, to find a place to set up camp. The rain came down, heavy. Thunder, lightning, unending and scary.

Found a motel – “Prudehomes’ Garden Centre” with motel and swim pool and trailer parks. Stayed in the motel and ate at Beacon Hill Motel Restaurant. It was a very expensive buffet supper but very tasty. ($30.23) I had hair curlers on my head so was a little embarrassed and felt rather silly. No one took notice. The weather was so terrible outside perhaps that’s the reason why.

This motel was right on Lake Ontario and the water was choppy in the storm. We got a good night’s sleep and ate a good breakfast the next morning at the motel ($6.35). Still hot and sultry despite the storm last night.

Saturday, August 1.

mileage 56,723 gas is 58 cents a gallon.

The high humidity is unusual for Canada, I understand. We specifically brought heavy clothing to wear in Canada but didn’t need any of it. We dressed and drove to see the Welland Ship Canal Lock.

We watched big ocean liners being raised and lowered from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario. (.50) The water in the lock was filthy. I think Lake Erie is called the dead lake as there can be no fish in it anymore. Took several pictures (see PAGE of Photos from 1970 vacation).

The fruit that we’ve gotten at fruit stands and that we’ve eaten in restaurants in the local area are bursting with flavor. The early delicious apples we’ve been buying taste like apple cider. Got some more just now. 6 for 35 cents – seems very reasonable.

We drove the scenic route to Niagara Falls. Stopped and saw Niagara Gorge – the green churning water surrounded by high rock banks. Saw a clock set into the bank made of flowers. A nearby horticultural station had a round flower medallion in front.

Stopped at a large park and golf course to eat lunch at their restaurant. Sandwiches. Stopped at Niagara Falls and saw the falls. The water was a deep green with white crests and reminded me of green glass with white swirls. The horseshoe falls were best seen from the Canadian side, whereas the American side was also pretty but couldn’t see the true shape of the falls, more like a straight line across. Mist from the falls blew across our windshield. We parked and walked along the railing right above the falls. The roar was incredible. We didn’t even hear the rain come until we were soaked. We ran into the gift shop to get dry.

The rain ended and we got quite a few pictures from the American side of the falls. On the Canadian side we saw a round hole with dirty brown water pouring out and mingling with the falls water. Looked like pollution to me. The brown  spread across the river.

The falls were a breath-taking spectacle. Afterwards we drove back to the motel and got clothes ready for the washateria while kids went swimming. We discovered that the maid had take our personal pillow cases off our pillows. These were expensive permanent press cases, they had been replaced with cheap muslin ones. It made me mad so R said he would say something and see if they would be able to find them.

Souvenirs while waiting for rain to stop (spoon $1.31, film $3.41. condiments $2.15, post cards .95, bone ship $1.79, fudge candy $2.15, other things $11.56.) Motel for 2 nights – $37.80. Toll on Hamilton Bay Bridge Shipway .25.

Who can put a price on the experience of seeing Niagara Falls for the first time?

Viva La Icky Snails 12

From My Mother’s 1970 Journal:

July 27

On Monday morning R called a dentist and got a 9:15 appointment. The dentist drilled into the tooth to relieve the pressure (it was a tooth our dentist at home had worked on and had anticipated trouble). Also gave R some prescriptions. Very nice young man, R said. What was so surprising was – no charge from dentist. This is a real nice thing as we are on a budget and dentistry would surely be expensive.

R has gone to get ice. (.90) This H. Johnson’s is one of the nicest we’ve ever been in. Surely the most comfortable beds we’ve found yet. It is better than the one in N.Y though it was $5.00 more per night.

While waiting for R, I spent the morning writing letters – and the children wrote a few postcards before Jon went swimming and Becky and Jeff watch T.V. Jeff is upset that he can’t go swimming because of his mastoidectomy last May. He is not to get his ear wet. He did go in at the pond in Boxford, Mass with his cousins, but kept his ear dry.

I discovered I could not get into my bathing suit. That was a shock. I knew I was getting fatter but I didn’t know I was that fat.

Left motel at 1 in afternoon. Ate lunch (of ice cream – $3.70) right before we left. They did not charge us for extra 2 hours. This motel has been here 5 years and was as clean and new-feeling inside as if it was just built. On highway saw a sign on a farm “Bought, and Prayed For”. The name on the sign was Clarence & Louise Currier” – the sign makes me happy. It was such a neat and tidy farm with a barn-typed building that was about 3 stories high, each story with open windows. We don’t know what this is – perhaps for hay.

Now we are stopped, and gazing at an amazing sight. Logs about 4′ long – thousands of them – floating downstream on a swift current. It is a wide river, near Skowhegan, Maine. I think it was the Kennebec River. So far we haven’t seen where the logs are coming from.

Jeff says he has noticed a lot of homes have moose or deer antlers over their doors. We’ve also noticed almost every other car is pulling a camper-trailer. Isn’t that something?

Today we’ve been on the road a full four weeks. Mileage 55,510 Got 10.2 gallons at 41.5 cents per in Farmington, Maine. Stopped at a few tourist attractions.

After a twisting mountain road through very pretty country we entered New Hampshire. The highways are much smoother here. We are seeing very pretty white birches and stop to take some pictures. A lake we passed stunk. It was filled with gunk and algae. Why was it so polluted?

Stopped for supper groceries ($10.55) and then at White Birches private Campground.($2.50) This could be very nice – but there is no hot water, and the restrooms stink. One shower for men and one shower for women.

Found some dead birch trees and cut them up to take home for souvenirs.

The restrooms are not tolerable, so we only stayed the one night and left at 11 A.M. on

July 28

Highway 2 is really a travel trailer highway. New Hampshire’s very much like a resort place. Very neat and picturesque. People from Florida we talked to in campground last night said the Adirondack  Mountains in N. Y. were so crowded. Campers would sit all night in cars waiting for someone to leave campgrounds.

I can’t understand people coming into a campground after 11 P.M. but 3 separate groups showed up last night and camped so close to us that I could hear them talking very clearly. One was a group of boy scouts – nice clean kids. They were just lucky to find a spot late at night with the thousands of campers on the highways.

Ice (.75) At St. Johnsburg, VT. We stopped at the Maple Museum. It was lunch time so factory was closed from 12  to 1. We went to the gift shop and got souvenirs. ($3.51)

We have now been across the Great Smoky Mountains, Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian Mountains, Endless Mountains, Pocono Mountains, White Mountains, Greene Mountains, and let’s see where we go from here, right?

There was no hamburger place in St. Johnsburg so we drove to Montpelier on a twisty mountain road. Finally in Burlington, VT we stopped and ate lunch. It was 4 P.M. There was a Howard Johnson’s so we checked in because it was raining. ($38.10) Had a beautiful room and comfortable beds.

July 29

After breakfast (we waited one hour for it) we packed up and left. On highway 89 driving up to the Canadian border noticed large white dome things on mountains. We think they might be radar or observatory things. Went off here to go to St. Albans to get lunch stuff. We’ve noticed up here in north how highways are carved out of solid rock layers and it is interesting to note the various colors in the earth strata.

Left 89 to St. Albans, VT and ate at the Cornerstone Restaurant. Excellent food and service there. Perhaps the best lunch we’ve had all along the way. Mileage 55,751. 6.8 gallons at 43.9 cents in St. Albans. Exchanged two $50 American Express checks for $103.00 Canadian.

Very neat town but had to leave highway 89 to get to it. Signs say “EXIT (SORTIE)” and “NO U TURN (PAS DE VIRAGE EN U)”

Had to unload my suitcase to show customs the car and trailer title plus the Insurance certificate. “ARRET – STOP!” and “LENTEMENT – SLOW” and TERRAIN (Private) DRIVE.

Notes on Montreal: several bridges. Pont this and that. We thought Pont was a new thing not the word for bridge. We drove across the same one many times because we couldn’t figure out which way to go. Sadly, it was a toll bridge. (5 X .50)

Finally found St. Catherine’s Park to camp ($2.00) We were issued a spot way out in the middle of a field under a punishing hot sun. St. Lawrence River runs along this campground. Public swim beach at the entrance, filled with people. The park is hot and dry and no campfires allowed. Heat wave is on. 90 degrees in the shade. Unhitched trailer and opened top. Then drove into city of Montreal.

Went to Eatons Department Store and got 2 china cups and saucers as souvenirs. ($7.52) Problem now is how to keep them from breaking on the trip home. Back to car as we only had 35 minutes to shop. Drove to LaRoma Cafe for delicious Italian supper. Becky just had to have the snails. She shared. Ugh, chewy car tires with garlic. I suppose they are great to people who like snails.  ($27.70) Back on street noticed many policemen on corners. A mounted policeman was very picturesque. A lot of folks walking on street. They didn’t look afraid of thugs, etc. This is a nice change. The parking was expensive ($2.15) for 5:45 to 6:15. We saw the Metro Underground subway but didn’t have time to take a ride.

It is still very hot when we get back to our campsite at 8:15. The gnats are driving us crazy. They along with the heat are almost too much to bear. The smell from the St. Lawrence seaway is like wafts of dead and rotting stuff. There was a swift current at one side and we could hear the roar of the water rushing past from where we were. Finally temperature got down to 75 but with a humidity of 91 – it was as bad as Houston!

July 30

In the A.M. things were no better – still too hot and too many gnats – wo we got ice at the camp store ($1.00 for two dinky pieces) and started out with no breakfast. The park is on an island and as we rounded the curve in the road we could see that the drawbridge over the seaway was up and an ocean liner was being taken through the boat locks. We was it being lowered to the level of the St. Lawrence River. The french holler “GET BACK” in french and not too nicely. All this without our morning coffee!

We finally cross and find a little restaurant – after coffee – all seems better with the world, even as we sit here reeking of bug spray.

The buildings in Montreal seem clean-cut and shiny. There are a lot of tiny parks and spots where flowers bloom. All the restrooms we were in were clean with not a bit of toilet paper or paper towel on the floors. A lot of concrete bridges along the road. I noticed in the suburbs that people had locked mailboxes. This is a good idea. We read in the paper that the mailmen were not delivering mail in the 90 degree heat. Not like our postal service, huh? Rain or shine, sleet or snow, etc.

So down the road, and down the road we went.

The interstate highway 20 out of Montreal towards Toronto appears to be much like the highway between Houston and Beaumont – flat and smoggy. The radio announcer has just announced that the fish in the St. Lawrence River contain high levels of mercury – and unsafe to eat. Jon and Jeff couldn’t fish anyway. The water was too wild. Gas here is HIGH – 45 cents a gallon, however, their gallons are larger than ours. Liters??

So finally out of French land – though out dealings with the French were cordial.

Lunch, trailer stuff, and lock for gas cap ($12.02).

There are so many hippies wanting rides along here. Dirty, unkempt, smelly hippies. We noticed a great many of them in Montreal. Probably all of them filthy draft dodgers from the U.S. We also noticed on a downtown bldg that the Canadian Quebec flag was pristine but the U.S. flag was dirty and wrapped around the mast. Are they trying to be obnoxious? Don’t they know how we feel about that?

From Hallowed Grounds 7

From my mother’s journal the summer of 1970:

At the Natural Bridge Caverns there were some chimes playing hymns. I felt like singing they were so lovely, but I’ve never felt confident enough to sing in public. So I kept silent. I wonder how God feels about my lack of courage?

We purchased some more apple candy to send to Bobby and Nannie. It reminds me of some candy I was given that had been made in Washington State. That taste takes me back to about 30 years ago.

A rainstorm has caught up to us. The wind is pushing against our car and trailer on the road. The gusts slap against us. The wind carries a whistling sound. We see a car with a camper attached stopped in the emergency lane. The jacks are down as if they are setting up camp right there. Two Texas cars pass us pulling campers, too.

July 9

Driving all day in bad weather. Nerves wrecked. Night is approaching so we pulled into a Quality Motel in Winchester, VA. The family room for six is clean and new. (Charged $24.96) It is cheaper than the Holiday Inn. The heavy rain seems unending. Must do laundry ($2.40) We ate a delicious chicken supper at the motel’s restaurant ($5.41)

July 10

Breakfast at motel restaurant – really good. The sun is shining today. Virginia is a pretty state. So is West Virginia. The Interstate 81 isn’t as nice as the Parkway but R said the parkway ended when we entered VA. Stopped at a Montgomery Wards and bought R a jacket ($6.23 cash). Stopped at a dime store to send package home, get cold drinks, and ice.($5.10) Farther down the road we stopped at Stuckey’s to get some gifts for Glenn and Caroline, souvenirs, state spoons, etc. ($14.24)

We passed through Hagerstown, Maryland but never saw a single “Welcome to Maryland” sign. In a little while we saw a sign “Welcome to Pennsylvania”. It was weird entering and leaving a state without signage letting us know about it. Our mileage is 53,485. We stopped for 13 gallons of gas (5.45) We ate lunch at the Red Barn. Drove through Caledonia State Park but decided not to stay (1.75) We stopped at Greenwood Hills, PA where R remembers he visited as a boy. It seems like it’s mostly old people. Roger Dunkerton Jr. was there – looks like my cousin Gordon Dunkerton did at the same age.

We set up the camper there at Greenwood Hills Conference grounds. They had a restroom, etc.

July 11

Got up and drove to Gettysburg, PA. Took the auto tour ($1.00). It was long. I sure hope it helps the kids with their history. The national cemetery is so quiet. The birds don’t even sing there. My impression is that there are many men buried in the tomb of the unknown soldier here. Lincoln was so great. I don’t know why they don’t say more about him on the tours here.

Went to the Cyclorama. It was very interesting. All those pinpoint lights were men. The room was full of the lights. They were white at first and as the battle progressed the lights turned red signifying that they had died. At the end the red light bathed all the people in the room.

The town of Gettysburg itself has had a terrifying year. There were three churches that were burned to the ground this year. Arson. The culprit is in jail. Something to do with race relations. It seems so peaceful to us. Just goes to show how we can be fooled by outward appearances.

Went to the Charley Weaver Museum. Filled with wooden carved scenes with sound and lights. Good. Delicious lunch at Pennsylvania Dutch Cupboard. (11.18) Becky just had to order shoo-fly pie.

We’ve decide to spend our nights here at Greenwood Hills while we explore the area. Five nights at Greenwood Hills (ck for $15.00), groceries (6.08), white gas (1.10)

July 12

Went to Sunday meeting (Plymouth Brethren) at Greenwood Hills – many old people. How are they going to survive? There were a few teenagers who led the singing. G. Bull was an excellent speaker. Roger was in charge of the food for the conference this year. We stayed to eat there at noon. ($10.10) It was okay, but not great. R went to the afternoon meeting while kids and I relaxed. In the evening we went for a hamburger supper at the Red Barn  (3.80), and got ice for the camper (.50). The Greenwood Hills night meeting was held in the chapel by the road. The seats weren’t as uncomfortable as the meeting hall this morning.

We said goodbye to the Daltons from Ft. Lauderdale, FL. They promised to visit us in Houston with their Airstream trailer. We said goodbye to the Dutch people from Holland (I think they live in Long Island).

This is what I know about saying goodbye to my brothers and sisters in Christ – I know I will see them again. If not here, then THERE.

Durn Politikin’

Edmund Burke
Edmund Burke (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This past Tuesday morning a lady came to the door and asked for me by name, so I said “This is Me.”

“You’re voting straight Democrat in this election, right?”

“Nope.”

“You mean you’re voting for the Republicans?”  She sounded aghast.

“Yep.”

“Well, go blow it then,” she said in disgust, walking away.

I had to laugh.

Edmund Burke (1729-1792) once wrote about conciliation with America, “Magnanimity in politics is not seldom the truest wisdom; and a great empire and little minds go ill together.”

Thing is, we gave ’em a chance. We would have given ’em a couple of more, except the last two years have been close to devastating for too many people. All those bail-outs. Banks didn’t go under but they certainly weren’t giving out any loans where people needed them either. The banks were bailed out of desperate times, but turned a deaf ear to people who were living the desperate times.

If Freddie Mac and Fanny Mae had been allowed to break … then and only then could there have been a possibility of fixing something. Because they are still floundering (yes, that’s a flat fish flapping around on the dock before it dies from lack of water). I’ve checked with the Houston Housing Authority, the Harris County Housing Authority, and several others, the waiting list for available housing paid with government assistance is closed with no possibility of filling out paperwork, getting in line, nothing. What happens to people who lose their house to foreclosure?

Now, I’m not sold on the Republicans doing anything amazing. Call me a skeptic, I’m not thrilled about this election. From where I stand what I see of Democrat or Republican is – they’re like two sides of the same plug nickel. They get up there to Washington and pass a bill or two, maybe three, and they get fat, either in the wallet or literally. Seems to me very few actually communicate well with their constituents. Maybe I’m wrong. But I watched the town meetings where the state representatives tried to sell the health-care agenda. I don’t think any of them knew what the bill was about. Few could address specifics, and those didn’t know much of what the bill included. Made most people furious is what I saw.

Here’s what I would say, if I could.

First. What we want is for our roads to be re-poured, for crumbling bridges to be rebuilt, for those who can’t find work to be able to work rebuilding America’s infrastructure. This would be a good job for our military service people coming home to NO jobs and facing homelessness. Shame on us. Those who volunteered to go over and fight a war or to keep peace to no avail and then come home to – what? No wonder so many recruiters are committing suicide. Shame on us.

Second. What we want is the same insurance that you have. That’s right. It’s real simple. We want your medical insurance.

Third. We want you to finally do something about term limitations. We think six years is plenty of time to change the world. You have a lot of power at your fingertips. Show up to vote, for every bill. And vote for term limitations.

Here’s another quote from Edmund Burke. “Society is indeed a contract …l it becomes a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead and those who are to be born.”

I usually try to stay out of the political discussion. I’m just not that serious about party politics. I don’t mind others being serious about it. All this has impact on how we live and function daily. When politics collide with everyone around me is when I have to speak up. Even if I don’t really want to.

Edmund Burke is attributed with saying, “It is necessary only for the good man to do nothing for evil to triumph.”