Archive for September 2014


I felt cheated. I mean, who wouldn’t like to see a review as nice as this one that appeared on my blog.

 “I just finished reading Figs & Pomegranates & Special Cheeses, and wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed it. I particularly liked how you skillfully told the riveting story of how Dara evolved and grew over the years. The story is wonderfully grounded by Dara’s love for Job, and her bold words and actions. I enjoyed seeing how you handled the tensions that emerged as Dara sought to understand her role and her husband’s God.”

At my request the author agreed to post it on and did everything right. Found “Figs & Pomegranates & Special Cheeses” and clicked on “write a review.” Completed the information to establish an account. Then was told one wasn’t allowed to post a review since there had been no purchase made with that account. No, it wasn’t necessary to have purchased that book, but just something.

I trusted my fellow blogger. Still, it didn’t seem right to me, so I called amazon. It’s true. If you haven’t purchased anything with your account you can’t use it to write a review. “It’s for your protection,” I was told.” Suppose someone wanted to ruin you, he could just establish 100 accounts and use them to write bad things about you.”

Huh? OK, does that mean this person who hated me so much could buy a $0.99 kindle book with each of those accounts. Less than $100. Not a bad investment if you’re really out to get me.

I suspect there might be a better way to protect me.

As it stands, I guess that means every time someone buys a book from me, I should ask whether or not he or she has ever bought anything from amazon. If the answer is “no,” then I should include a check for $0.99 with the book in case they want to write a review. That would give them the wherewithal to purchase something allowing for the review. OK. I confess I’m being snarky.

The words used when I first heard this are not acceptable to the nice people here in the Midwest. “Oh, my, now I have to work on forgiving them, I thought.” On second thought, though, it wasn’t a personal attack on me, though it felt that way. It’s a policy that ends up hurting me.

And amazon really does provide a number of helpful services.

So, forgiveness process ended at the first step. It wasn’t really an offense against me.

But disappointment remains. Reviews of “Figs & Pomegranates & Special Cheeses,” (or any books, for that matter) are really important to the author.




Imagine a world where we really care! That was the theme of my last blog as I longed for intense concern and effort to keep our world healthy. The kind of enthusiastic dedication we had during WWII when we fought against potential disaster of a different kind.

Well, here’s one opportunity we can each afford, a step in the deliciously right direction.

Even if you are a denier, I’ll bet you can join in the desire to feed everyone with healthy options



I dreamt we really cared about our earthly home. I thought I was struggling to sleep, but my watch said it was time to get up. So, was I dreaming or longing?

I do know I was remembering the days of WWII when we were all dedicated to fighting for a just cause. It was scary, but it was magnificent – flattening our cans for re-use, counting food ration coupons to be used in the most efficient way, planning limited driving trips to make maximum use of gas coupons, drawing our black shades at night so as not to help the enemy find us, watching Times News before the movies (two for the price of one), singing patriotic songs, and “When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again” as the end approached, knowing we were fighting for the freedom of those who were suffering invasion by cruel forces. (It was only in later years I became aware of our own cruelty in turning away refuges and depriving our Japanese citizens of freedom and property.)

We were dedicated in spite of the fact that we were pretty sure no bombs would drop on us. We had the ability to see that the problem was bigger than our own private domain.

Well, I wasn’t driving and purchasing groceries – too young for that. But I remember. My best friends father was the Air Raid Warden for our neighborhood. Mostly it was his job to walk the area and be sure no light shone through the windows. He often allowed my best friend Hallie to carry out that duty, so the two of us walked the neighborhood in the dark together. (No one worried about our being kidnapped or raped.)

We were in the 4-H club, one duty being to spot for enemy airplanes. It’s a good thing none attacked, because I couldn’t tell the difference between a flying mosquito and an airplane, say nothing of distinguishing between friend and enemy. Fortunately Hallie’s vision was more acute.

We worried about my brother and my brother-in-law as they were off to war. My big sister volunteered in the nursery school that made it possible for mom’s to build war equipment. (disbanded at the end of the war so mom could be sent back home “where she belonged.” More on that in a subsequent post.)

Magnificent? Yes. We were dedicated to a life affirming cause. This morning in my half dreaming state I imagined how wonderful it would be if we all fought as hard now for the earth – the home we all share. I thought of how we would be free of reliance on foreign – or even domestic – oil if we had pursued programs begun in the Carter administration. How glorious it would be if we recognized the dangers and mobilized to fight them.

And then I remembered my own frequent childhood bronchial colds, gasping for breath – wheezing, they called it. I wasn’t allowed to ride in the rumble seat in the teacher’s car who drove us to kindergarten because I might catch a cold. And then I thought again of how magnificent it would be if we cared enough about our atmosphere to spare so many children the asthma lifestyle marked by fear of death and reliance on inhalers, carried like we used to carry pens and pencils in our pockets.

Yes, I dreamt I dwelt in a world that cared.

Medicare and “Yearly Wellness visits.”   21 comments

I have other posts ready in my head to be set down on paper, like “A Healthy Woman is a Crazy Person,” but this is new and, it seems, more urgent.

Several of us have recently had the same problem. If you are not on medicare, you may still want to know this for friends and family who are.

Recently on the notice from my physician to go in for my annual checkup, I ended up getting a Medicare rejection for the $343,00 they will be billing me. Many phone calls later, to many people, I have established the following “facts.” As far as I can tell, this is a new (and personally expensive) ruing.

When I called the medicare number, I was greeted with the cheerful announcement that we are now entitled to a yearly wellness visit. Here’s what that means. (Please do your own explorations to double check what I’m telling you here) And who knows, maybe it varies from state to state.

As my source said, the yearly wellness visit is like a hands free car wash. It is a no hands on interview with your doctor who will ask a series of questions like, “Are you able to dress yourself?” (Honest, that’s what she said.) The doctor is not to touch you or measure anything like blood pressure. It’s all talk, and an opportunity to renew your prescriptions.

If she listens to your heart and lungs and takes height, weight, and temperature, you are then billed for a physical which, as indicated above, is very expensive.

I don’t blame the doctor. She doesn’t have to keep up with the latest medicare ruling. She reports what she did, and someone else does the coding. But do beware.

If, on the other hand, you have a headache, or something specific, you can schedule an office visit and she can test you for things that might be related to a headache, but don’t add more stuff that might get it coded as a physical.

Oh yes, you can get one complete physical when you first turn 65. That will be reimbursed.

The next piece is my supplementary insurance which piggy backs on medicare, so they will not reimburse any of the bill either.

So, I’m paying $343.00 to do things most of which I could have done myself – measure hight, weight, temperature, BP. I suppose the good thing is she could prescribe tests, including mammogram, bone density test, and a number of blood tests. I haven’t received word yet, but apparently they are covered.

And, of course, you can’t have the latter tests if they aren’t prescribed by the physician, so I guess I will be paying $343.00 for the piece of paper that goes to the lab so I can have those tests done.

I’ve had a nice relationship with my physician, but I guess I won’t be seeing much more of her. How will I get the bone density test? I guess I have to schedule an office visit to tell her my bones feel like they are getting holes in them.

Am I confused? Yes, and not at all happy with the situation. Fortunately I can afford to pay the bill when it comes, though I will work out a payment plan so they won’t get it all at once.

The people I’m really concerned about are those who can’t afford such a sum. They will get to see a physician only when they are sick. Never mind staying well.

To summarize

When you turn 65 and go on medicare, you can have a thorough physical which will be covered.

After that, you can schedule “office visits” for particular problems. They will probably be covered.

Otherwise, you are entitled to a “yearly wellness visit” which is a hands-off series of questions.

And check your supplemental insurance to see if it will cover annual physicals without pigging backing on Medicare. It will cost you an additional premium.

I’ll be happy to see comments — maybe contributing additional information



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