Friday, November 30, 2018

Medicare Advantage coverage

I've been living without any enhancement to my basic Medicare insurance for the past eight years or so.

We've managed without too much financial stress until this year when I got hit with incidental surgery center expenses from the previous year's cataract lens replacement and an insanely expensive trip to the ER and an overnight hospital stay when we mistook faintness from dehydration for a heart attack.

Also, I've become keenly aware that I'm losing strength due to lack of exercise and, yes I admit it, aging. I want to join the local YMCA to exercise and regain strength and fitness, but the cost is more than I want to take on. They do, however, give free memberships to folks whose insurance includes the Silver Sneakers fitness coverage.

So, mindful that the enrollment period for Medicare Supplement or Medicare Advantage insurance is looming - Dec. 7 - I've been under self-inflicted pressure to sign up for whatever reasonably inexpensive program will get me Silver Sneakers coverage.

I called the county senior services office yesterday to see if they could help me choose a plan, but they're booked solid through the deadline date.

"How hard can this be?" I asked myself. Surely there's help online.

Yes, there is, and it led me to sign up for Humana Gold HMO Medicare Advantage coverage with will actually save me money because it will cover my medications that I've been paying $29 a month to cover with Cigna. And I get dental and optical insurance included. All at no cost. How they make money doing this is puzzling, but it gets me to the gym for free, so what the hell?

I must have been really worried about this because I have an immense feeling of relief at having dealt with it.

Look for me at the Y after Jan. 1.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Musta shrunk

Unpacking boxes from our move back to Indiana the other day, I found my old Delphi High School letter jacket.

And I got a rude surprise when I put it on. Once I threaded my arms through the tattered taffeta sleeve lining, I was shocked to see just how much it has shrunk in the 55 years since it was my go-to winter jacket.

So much for fantasies about wearing it to my 60th anniversary reunion in five years.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Hey! My brother-in-law is an author!

My brother-in-law Kerstan Bayless just published his first book. It's available on in paperback, but not Kindle. I ordered a copy yesterday.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Mom's pumpkin pie!

My mother made the best pumpkin pie I ever tasted.

It was mellow, flavorful and not overly nutmeggy as lots of pumpkin pies turn out.

Happily, she left us the recipe and Maria has been able to replicate it perfectly on several occasions.

So here, as a Thanksgiving gift to everyone who checks in here from time to time, is Mom’s pumpkin pie recipe.


Sunday, November 18, 2018

Easiest crash ever

My computer crashed Friday, happily after I filed my last story of the week.

I noticed that it wasn't recognizing a USB thumb drive when I plugged it in, so I did a restart and ended up with this screen. I've seen it a couple of times before and it always recovered and launched Windows eventually.

Not this time. I let it go overnight and called Dell customer support on Saturday morning. I spent a couple of hours on the phone with a techie, trying various solutions and getting nowhere. He finally admitted defeat, declared my computer probably dead and said my best option was to let him send me packing materials and ship my computer to their repair facility in Texas where there was a high probability that they would wipe the 1TB hard drive.

That was somewhat distressing, but I realized I had backed up most of my photos to the Western Digital 2TB Cloud Drive I got earlier this year from the Amazon Vine Program.

I had never paid any attention to the Microsoft OneDrive until yesterday afternoon when I found that pretty much all of my photos and all of my documents were backed up there, meaning the only thing I could lose would be some programs (or apps, as we're supposed to call them now).

I moved over to Maria's desktop and created an identity for myself there this morning and installed Google Chrome. I was delighted to see all of my personalized Chrome features and bookmarks carried over as well, so it's almost like having my old computer again. We bought both desktop computers at the same time in September, 2017.

My biggest challenge at the moment is tracking down the installation CD for my most recent version of Photoshop so I can continue shooting and editing photos in Nikon RAW format.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018


My son Steve gave me this H1 Zoom stereo digital recorder for Christmas several years ago.

I wanted it to record live music, but have yet to use it for that purpose. Instead, I use it to record interviews and other news events, which spares me the hassle of taking notes and then trying to decipher those notes. It pairs nicely with my Bang & Olufsen H6 (second version) corded headphones. Transcribing is a breeze with my Logitech mechanical keyboard.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Scanning, scanning, scanning...

I'm evaluating the Epson FastFoto speed scanner for the Amazon Vine Program.

It took me a little more than an hour to set it up, mostly struggling with establishing a Wifi connection.

You feed it your snapshots, 40 or more in a batch, and it scans them at 300 dpi with blazing speed. I timed it at one point yesterday and it scanned 53 pictures in 30 seconds. In all, I scanned more than 2,000 photos in an afternoon. And they look pretty good. Certainly good enough for online use.

It's not cheap - lists for $599, sells for $529 on Amazon - but it's a great tool if you want to digitize a lot of photos quickly.

Saturday, November 03, 2018

I received a medical/honorable discharge from the U.S. Air Force 53 years ago today. Here I am with Flight 1499 of the 3703rd Basic Military Training Squadron at Lackland AFB a couple of weeks earlier. My career in the Air Force ended after 41 days with a medical discharge for allergies. But let the record show that I volunteered and was ready to serve.