“The bottom line is this law is working and will work into the future,” President Barack Obama said of his signature Affordable Care Act on Tuesday. It would be easier to believe the president if he hadn’t said in 2009, “If you like the plan you have, you can keep it. If you like the doctor you have, you can keep your doctor, too.”
One million Californians who lose their individual plans in 2014 know that’s not true; when many saw their new premiums, they experienced “sticker shock.” Next comes “doc shock” - the revelation that many folks also won’t be able to keep their doctors.
Meet Chico, Calif., attorney Kenneth Turner. His wife found out that she has breast cancer two days before they received their cancellation notice. She’s scheduled for surgery Dec. 20 and will hear the prognosis Dec. 30. Two days later, she loses the doctor who will have operated on her, as well as other doctors she has seen for decades.
Do you have a bucket list? I don’t, and I feel guilty about that. From what I read and hear, anyone with normal desires is expected to have a bucket list - an array of things he/she wants to do before dying.
A movie called “The Bucket List” came out in 2007. It starred Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson as two terminally ill men assigned to the same hospital room. They became friends, and gradually revealed the things they’d like to do before the Man in the Red Nightshirt appeared. The film told how well, or poorly, they lived out their dreams.
The movie triggered a lot of commentary about bucket lists - how to compose one, how to plan its execution, and - to a large degree - why each of us should ideally harbor goals and dreams that we’d like to realize in our remaining years. As I thought about my own bucket list, I was appalled that I don’t have one. Never did, never will.
Looking for a new roommate is uncomfortably similar to dating. Without free dinner or movies.
Recently, a certain Clearwater Beacon editor (who shall go unnamed) decided to ruin our peacefully shared arrangement by moving in with her girlfriend. I say recently, but the decision was made over the summer amidst less than tolerable indoor temperatures. The woefully inefficient air conditioning that failed to cool the apartment until the entire unit was replaced wasn’t even the deciding factor in her commitment to leave the complex.
Still, I held out hope that she might delay the move away from me a few months later, maybe until after Christmas. Instead, she ended up leaving a week before our lease ended.
One problem that all humans share is of how to face the day. As we awake, before we move any other muscles except those that govern our eyelids, we’re confronted with these questions: “What shall I do today? What MUST I do? What is my attitude toward life? Where is the ‘off’ button on that @#!!% alarm clock?!! Who is John Galt? Who kicked Nelly in the belly in the barn?”
Following are some ideas I have found helpful in meeting each of these 18-hour sessions we call life.
THE ATTACK MODE. Each day, even the best ones, brings duties, questions, dilemmas and deadlines that we must meet. One approach is to get out of bed in a fighting mood. “I will attack every headache I face today. I will demolish, outlast or outwit every enemy, foreign or domestic, that I encounter. Nothing shall daunt me. I am the master of my fate, dadlemmit!” This frame of mind will get you to at least until 10 a.m., most days, unless you have not been fired, arrested or threatened with divorce in the meantime. The attack mode can be tricky.
“In space, no one can hear you scream” was the tag line for Ridley Scott’s breakthrough 1979 sci-fi flick, “Alien.” With the Federal Communications Commission’s decision to revisit its 22-year ban on using cellphones in flight on passenger planes, that could change.
Oh, joy, was my first thought. That obnoxious Alec Baldwin wannabe who makes the crew nag him until he turns off his toys is going to have his loud way with everyone from boarding to landing.
The past few decades have seen a transformation of the friendly skies. With smaller seats, tighter rows and shrinking food, cellphone usage could be the final element that turns air travel into the equivalent of taking Bay Area Rapid Transit. You want to read the newspaper, but it’s hard to concentrate when a nearby passenger is barking orders to his staff, a young stud is lying to his partner and another passenger is talking about absolutely nothing - but loudly.
Across America, the way we celebrate Thanksgiving Day is changing.
While the traditional gathering of family and friends around the great feast of food is still center stage, and collegiate and professional sports still dominate the television schedules, holiday shopping is easing its way into the Turkey Day line-up
It used to be that grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations and restaurants and, businesses that catered to visitors (like here in Tourist Mecca St. Augustine) were all that opened on Thanksgiving. That’s been slowly changing the past decade as competition heats up among retailers for a successful holiday season despite economic woes.
Now we’re at Thanksgiving, and I will tell you what I’m grateful for. I’m grateful for the companies that keep telephoning me, expressing concern about (A) my hearing, and (B) the likelihood that I will fall down somewhere and not be able to get up.
It’s so grand that these unselfish persons have my welfare in mind. I’m not sure how they learned that I’m getting slightly deaf, which I am. I must assume that the Dum-Dum Ear Drum Co. has access to my private files and learned that I was born just after the Second Battle of Bull Run and therefore am getting a little wobbly in my ears, knees, brain and God knows what other attachments I rely on.
Or the Dum-Dum people may have canvassed my neighborhood, asking, “Do you know of any doddering, rickety old fogies to whom we can direct harassing phone calls?”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told “Meet the Press” on Sunday, “Democrats stand tall in support of the Affordable Care Act.” Not in her backyard - in the nearby delta counties, some Dems are trying to distance themselves from Obamacare.
Last week, as Bay Area Democrats voted against a GOP House bill to allow insurers to sell plans that don’t meet Obamacare mandates, Reps. John Garamendi, Ami Bera and Jerry McNerney joined 36 other Democrats to pass the Keep Your Health Plan Act by Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., in a 261-157 vote.
The most startling deserter is Garamendi, a former state insurance commissioner who voted for Obamacare amid much fanfare as a freshman congressman in 2010.
Ask Your Educator
LARGO - Ask Your Educator: Panel Discussion on Diabetes – Thursday, Dec. 12, 10 a.m., at Bardmoor Medical Arts Building, Conference Center, Room 120, 8839 Bryan Dairy Road, Largo. Two certified diabetes educators will answer questions about diabetes. To preregister for a health seminar, call 953-6877, or visit www.BayCareEvents.org.
Breakfast Optimist Club meeting ST. PETERSBURG - The Breakfast Optimist Club meets each Thursday, 7:30 a.m. at Kissin’ Cuzzins Restaurant, 951 34th St. N., St. Petersburg.
LARGO – Free vegetable, herb and tropical fruit garden tours will be offered Thursday, Dec. 19, 9 to 11 a.m., at Pinellas County Extension, 12520 Ulmerton Road, Largo. Advance registration is required. Call 582-2500 or visit www.eventbrite.com/event/6241882639/eorg.
Attendees will learn more about growing their own food as they marvel at the eye-catching array of culinary, medicinal and aromatic herbs, trees and flowers in Extension's Florida Botanical Herb Garden. Guests will wander the brick paths between the Egyptian, Mediterranean, Asian and beverage plantings and learn how the featured plants can be used in the home.
Visitors also will learn more about the tropical fruits that do well in the Florida climate including many varieties of bananas, figs, papayas, mangoes, avocados, sugar cane and citrus as well as little-known fruits that are not usually considered by the home gardener including jackfruit, carambola, Buddha's Hand and pomegranate.
The tour features a diversity of plantings including a wide variety of ground covers, bromeliads, palms and power-line friendly trees can be used in home landscaping. These tours, recommended for adults, are limited to groups of 14 to 16 people.
Holiday cartooning card workshop
SAFETY HARBOR – The Safety Harbor Public Library will host a holiday cartooning card workshop with local artist, Leah Lopez on Thursday, Dec. 12, 2:30 p.m., at 101 Second St. N. Learn how to draw with holiday flair and design your own special holiday card. All ages are welcome. Call 724-1525, ext. 4112.
PALM HARBOR – Italian lessons are offered by The Central Gulf Coast Lodge No. 2708, Sons of Italy on Thursdays at the Palm Harbor Library, 2330 Nebraska Ave.
Beginners classes are at 5 p.m. and intermediate classes at 6:30 p.m.
For further information, call 787-3344.
LARGO – A Overeaters Anonymous group meets Thursdays, 10:30 a.m., at Aldersgate Methodist Church, 9350 Starkey Road.
Overeaters Anonymous is a program of recovery for eating disorders.
For information, call Jeanette at 392-3108. There are no dues and no fees and a list of meetings may be viewed at oapinellas.org
Palm Harbor Toastmasters meeting
PALM HARBOR – The Palm Harbor Toastmasters Club meets Thursdays from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at The Centre, 1500 16th St.
The club is open to all who are interested in perfecting their public speaking skills.
For more information, contact Jack Lynch at 542-6100 or email email@example.com.
Retired Teachers Association meeting
The South Pinellas Retired Teachers Association will meet Thursday, Dec. 12, 11 a.m., at the Teppanyaki Grill and Supreme Buffet, 391 34th St. N., St. Petersburg.
The buffet costs $6.99. The meeting will begin at noon with an activity planned by the hospitality committee. The December meeting will feature a white elephant auction and seasonal music.
Meetings are open to all who have worked in the field of education whether here in Florida or elsewhere, including teachers, support personnel and administrators. The group meets second Thursdays from October through May.
CLEARWATER – Morton Plant Mease Memory Disorders Clinic and the Aging Well Center are teaming up to offer CarFit, a free, new safety program designed to help older adults learn how the “fit” of their vehicle affects their driving and how to use their vehicle’s safety features.
The CarFit event will take place Friday, Dec. 13, 10 a.m. to noon, at the Aging Well Center at The Long Center, 1501 N. Belcher Road.
Older drivers are considered safer drivers because they are more likely to wear seatbelts and less apt to speed. However, they are more likely to be seriously injured or killed from a car accident due to their bodies’ fragility and improper fit in their cars, CarFit program organizers say.
“As people get older, changes happen in vision, strength, range of motion, weight and height that can cause less comfort making it harder to have control behind the wheel,” said Celisa Bonner in a press release. Bonner is clinic coordinator at Madonna Ptak Center for Alzheimer’s and Memory Loss at Morton Plant Mease. “The CarFit program is a good opportunity for a driver to find their safest fit with their car and to increase the driver’s safety on the road as well as the safety of others.”
Drivers who attend the free community event will have a 12-point checklist done in about 20 minutes that includes checking if the driver: is sitting correctly and positioned at least 10 inches from the steering wheel; can reach the pedals easily with one’s foot instead of toes causing slower reaction time; and has the flexibility to adjust mirrors and minimize blind spots.
Trained volunteers will recommend car and driver adjustments after the inspection.
Drivers interested in having a CarFit check are asked to preregister. Call 724-3070.
CarFit is an educational and safety program created by the American Society on Aging, and developed in collaboration with American Automobile Association, AARP and the American Occupational Therapy Association.
Overeaters Anonymous Amigos
ST. PETERSBURG – Overeaters Anonymous Amigos, a program of recovery for eating disorders, meets Fridays, 11 a.m., at Beacon House, 2151 Central Ave.
The newest Pinellas OA group features a bilingual message.
For information, call Margie C. at 828-9711. There are no dues or fees and a list of meetings may be viewed at oapinellas.org