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My Blog - Inspired By My Pictures

Years ago I heard the advice, "Don't take pictures while on vacation, just focus on the experience."  This turned out to be terrible guidance for me.  In my late 30s I started taking more pictures.  This activity helps to cement memories that would otherwise be lost whether on vacation or just going somewhere on the weekend.  In this blog I share the memories and stories inspired by my pictures.  

Our healthcare system is broken. This isn’t news to anyone but I’ve experienced that personally over the last couple of weeks. I recently left my job. My family had healthcare through my employment and we were switching to the healthcare provided by my wife’s employment. We knew this would be a mess. Nothing with healthcare goes smoothly. I’d been with my old firm for 19 years and we had the same insurance provider for at least three years if not longer. It was phenomenal. At least that’s what I’ve always been told. I don’t really know. Money comes out of my paycheck and I go to the doctor when I need to. I get medication when I need to. I’ve been privileged. I remember a conversation with a peer four years ago very distinctly. He’d recently moved to my firm from a competitor. He said that one of the benefits that those at his old company always talked about was our healthcare coverage. I thought to myself, “Wow, our health benefits are so good that employees at other firms are talking about it!?” This was one of the many reasons that quitting was scary.


When my wife called her benefits center they said they needed an official notice from my company that we no longer had coverage there. I contacted my firm. I hadn’t been officially terminated yet. I texted my old boss. He hadn’t processed it yet. By the time he processed it and I was able to get a letter from HR it had been almost two weeks. The new coverage could be backdated so this wasn’t a big issue from an emergency standpoint. It was a bigger issue in the procurement of regular medication for my daughter. She takes three prescription medicines each day and one of those is incredibly expensive even with insurance. We were running out. Two weeks after my last day of work, we were supposedly in the system for healthcare coverage under my wife.


She immediately went to the drugstore. When the pharmacist tried to run things through the system, he said that my wife was covered but that my daughter wasn’t. My wife needed to contact HR again to try and identify what was going on. My wife asked the pharmacist what we could get without insurance assuming that things would be too expensive and we would need to wait. The pharmacist said that there’s a non-insured generic form of the drug that we could get for less than the price we were paying in the past through my coverage. What? This doesn’t make sense. Apparently some health insurance doesn’t allow for generic forms of some medications.


I’m not a doctor. I’m not a pharmacist. I’m not involved in the healthcare field, so I don’t know the details of what’s behind this structure, but I can’t find the logic. As a consumer, now that I was uninsured I could get medication at a lower price. I know that isn’t typical and being uninsured is an incredibly bad idea that one should avoid at all costs but in this case we actually benefited from it. We are lucky and we are insured again so maybe we’ll pay more for our drugs again. I don’t know. All I can do is what all Americans do, pay for insurance and pray that when things are needed we don’t go bankrupt trying to get the care we need. The reality is we have no idea how any of it works, but it doesn’t seem to work well.


There are so many stories more shocking and more terrifying than the results in what I shared above, but it's one additional example of the flaws in the system.


The daybreak attack on Amanvillers planned for the 9th of September was delayed somewhat, until the 2d combat team of the 5th infantry division with whom the attack was being coordinated could concentrate at Habonville. At 1115, the battalion military was alerted for an H-hour of 1315. At 1315, a 15 minute preparation, in which the battalion military fired 923 rounds was begun on Amanvillers and at 1330, the tanks moved forward. At 1400, a report came through that the forward movement of the tanks had come to a standstill in the open fields between St. Privat La Montagne and the objective. FO 2 tank was knocked out, but firing on enemy strong points continued through FO 1, the Air observer, and Btry B RO.
The battalion military fires called for by FO 1 forced the enemy to keep under cover and resulted in the withdrawal to safety of the crew of nearly all the knocked-out tanks. There was no news of the Second Combat Team. The supported forces withdrew somewhat to reorganize and little activity on either side took place during the night. After the preparation, 1542 rounds of supporting fire were sent out with considerable effect on enemy infantry, but with little or no effect on the concrete pill-boxes and fortress-like emplacements with which Amanvillers was ringed.

Sept 9, 1944

France,



My darling;

I better write you while we are having a little rest. My letters sure are far between aren’t they honey. That just can’t be helped.

Last Tuesday I saw Fred Maye. Bill and I went to a mobile shower unit and while there Fred came in. It’s the first time I’ve seen him since we left England. Had quite a conversation as all of us knew that you girls had been together lately. I wonder what you talk about. I really hope you had a good time.

A PARAGRAPH HAS BEEN CUT OUT OF THE LETTER HERE


Everything is the same with me. I guess I’ll always be taking care of this unit. Yesterday some Germans got behind me and I took one tank and 30 men and started after them. I don’t think we got any cause we only fired about five shots and yet we chased them three miles. Betty if you remember how to play hide & seek, well that is war without shooting.

Everyone in the unit is ok. It rains every day and we do get wet. And the last five nights it has really been cold. A little frost this morning on the ground. Paul just came by and claims he’s ready to return to the states. Well I’m ready too.

Well this is all for now. You know I’m ok up to now. If you see or call mom, tell her you received this letter. I’ll write her the first chance I get. I sure will be glad to stay in a nice warm and clean bed with you. This is all this time. Be good. I love you much.


All my love,

Jack


Close to the Bone: Widow’s Island Novella 1 by Kendra Elliot


This was another free Amazon Prime Reading selection. It’s a mystery which jumps right and therefore made me skeptical at the outset. A dead body is found on the very first page and the story itself is what I think of as a typical murder mystery. The lead character is a FBI agent. There’s a bubbling romance with the local Dr. Childhood trauma pushed the characters to where they are in their lives. They solve the mystery but don't worry, as this is novella number one, there will be many more to come.


Now there are some aspects to this world that appealed to me. There’s a couple elements of the fantastic. A local legend that may or may not currently still exist in the form of a supernatural ghost. Then there’s the romantic nature of the setting itself. The idea that there’s something magical about the island that calls to certain people and may actually heal them. I love this stuff. First, I’ll always take a touch of magic in my stories. Second, it’s probably the romantic in me, but I believe in the power of places. I’ve always been drawn to mountains and oceans. It may just be the fact that these are novel to me as I’ve always been a midwesterner, but regardless of the reason I believe in the ability for places to call to your soul.


Thumbs up.


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