“Rainy days and Mondays always get me down.” Remember that old song by the Carpenters back in the 1970’s? Today the weekend’s events in Paris fill my heart with sorrow.

What causes some humans to lash out at other humans—to inflict death and destruction on those whose culture and beliefs are not their own? Where does that righteous desire to “cleanse the world” come from?

Now we in the “civilized world” believe we must retaliate to take out the extremists. Religious zealots must learn they cannot force their beliefs on others through terror. Justice must be done, we say.

However, let us remember—this is NOT a war on Islam. Millions of Muslims practice their beliefs in peace.

Those of you who read my last blog post about our aggravating situation with the drug insurance company will find this note of interest, I think.

Friday morning, Robin called the company again and talked with a woman higher up the chain of command. He confronted her about them NOT following their own clear guidelines in their formulary book about notifying their clients 60 days prior to any change in their formulary and also about NOT providing him with a 60-day supply of his medication on Friday, Oct. 16.

The woman told Robin that his drug was not on their formulary, but Robin insisted that it was. “You’ve already filled my prescription two times this year,” he said, “once in March and once in July.”

“I’m sorry, sir,” she said, “but your drug is not listed in our formulary.”

“I know it’s not on your formulary NOW since you withdrew it. But I do know it was on your formulary earlier this year. I received the drugs at the formulary price in March and July, and I have the receipts right here!” Robin’s voice began to rise a bit now from its calm and controlled tone.

“Sir, what I’m telling you is that your drug is NOT listed in our formulary for 2015.”

While Robin was on the phone, I went to our files, pulled out the 2015 formulary book, and searched the alphabetical index at the back.  Guess what? She was right! Robin’s drug was NOT on their 2015 formulary list!!! We had no idea, of course, because we’d been getting the drug with no problems. However, it must have gone off their list at the beginning of the year.

So now we have a new mystery. How did it happen that we were able to get the drug at the formulary discount two different times this year? Apparently, that was their mistake! Also, now we wonder what will happen to our request for “an emergency refill” that Robin’s doctor sent to the company?

Robin still has an appointment with his doctor on Tuesday to explore options for transferring from this drug to another one, and he’ll still have to have enough of his current medication to taper off safely. However, Robin did apologize to the drug insurance company rep he talked with.

What a crazy development this has turned out to be!

Frustrated and Mad

Every one of us has experienced a time when someone does something we think is unjust or unethical, something that completely ignores what is in our best interest. We want to strike out and make them stop!

Last Friday, I went to our pharmacy to pick up a prescription for Robin. “That’ll be $479,” the clerk said.

“What?” I couldn’t believe what I heard.

”Your drug insurance is no longer covering that,” she said. “It’s no longer on their formulary.”

“How can that be? How can they drop a medication in the middle of a contract year?”

“Well, all I know is that this is the cost now for a 30-day supply.”

I left it there and came home to talk with Robin.

On Monday, he contacted our Medicare Part D drug company. During a two-hour marathon, Robin explained to different people up a chain of command that he must have the drug. It’s necessary and one that he can’t just stop “cold turkey.” Even if he could switch to another drug to take its place, he’d have to have enough pills to taper off.

At last he talked with someone higher up who agreed that if Robin’s health care provider completed a form confirming that this was “an emergency situation,” they would work with him to provide the drug for him at the formulary cost the rest of this year.

Next he called his doctor and talked with his nurse. “They will be faxing you a form. Please let me know when you receive it.”

Tuesday we received no call, so Robin called again and left another message with the nurse.

Wednesday, he had still not heard from the nurse! Robin called once more, but he still sounded calm and polite. When he got off the phone, I fussed at him. “You should have upped your tone,” I said. “She needs to know how urgent this is. You only have enough pills to last until the end of this week!”

Thursday he finally got a hold of the nurse. She did receive the fax, she said, the doctor had signed it, and they were faxing it back to the drug company. She would call our pharmacy and ask them to sell us just enough for ten days.

Robin picked up those ten pills yesterday. Each one cost over $7.00. Meanwhile, we’re hoping that our drug company will be adjusting their actions toward us before those ten days run out.

Our drug company states in their formulary book that they will give a 60-day notice if they change their formulary in the middle of a year. Also, they state that if a client comes in for a refill of a drug that is no longer on their formulary, the client will be able to pick up a 60-day supply at the same cost. That has NOT been our experience!

We’ll continue to deal with all of this. Robin has an appointment with his doctor next week to discuss the possibility of transitioning to a different medication before the end of the year. And we will also be exploring the possibility of going with a different drug company for 2016.

What a frustrating and maddening situation this has been!


This morning at breakfast, Robin and I talked about today, September 26, being the birthday of our baby daughter, Sharon Ruth. We were absolutely thrilled when our third child was a girl. Not that we didn’t love our two boys—they were wonderful. But to have a little daughter was so exciting! Robin brought me a beautiful bouquet of yellow roses. And today, Sharon still brightens our lives, just like those roses!

September is a special month for many of you too– the onset of autumn, cooler days and nights, gorgeous foliage, college football.

Do you remember that old Mother Goose rhyme? “Thirty days hath September, April, June and November…” We talked about that this morning, too, but neither of us could remember the rest of the rhyme. I googled to find it. “February has twenty-eight alone. All the rest have thirty-one. Excepting leap year, that’s the time, When February’s days are twenty-nine.”

Many years ago back in the classroom, I taught my fourth graders another way to remember which months have 30 days or less and which have 31. Do you remember this little game?

Hold up your two fists. On the backs of your hands, begin pointing to each knuckle and valley between the knuckles, starting on one end and naming each month of the year. Your first knuckle is “January” having 31 days. Then the valley is “February” with 28 or 29 days. The second knuckle is “March”– 31 days– and the next valley is “April”–30 days. “May is the next knuckle, and “June” is the next valley. The last knuckle on one hand is “July.” When you begin counting on your other hand, the first knuckle is “August” having 31 days, and “September” is in the valley. You can continue that way right on to “December.”

Enjoy the rest of your “valley days” in September!

Love Story Photos

Here are a few photos from the weekend.  Thought you’d enjoy seeing these!  : )Sharon says YES, Sept. 12, 2015

“She said YES!”  Then the happy couple posed for the camera.

Sharon and Mike, Sept. 12, 2015

Sunday night, Sharon and Mike took Sharon’s girls, Libbey (13 years old)  and Emily (17 years old), out to celebrate.  Soon Sharon will have four sons and two more daughters!  What a crew that will be!

Mike and girls, Sept. 13, 2015

A Love Story

Yesterday, our daughter Sharon surprised us. Actually, it was Mike, her significant other, who first broke the news. My phone rang, and a man’s ecstatic voice shouted, “She said YES!” For a moment, I couldn’t make sense of it—who was this? Then I laughed! It was Mike, he had just proposed marriage, and Sharon had said yes!

He and Sharon were in Starkville, Mississippi, at the Mississippi State vs. LSU game. They both love football, especially State football, since both attended State during the 1980s. Last year, when State was on its amazing winning streak in the SEC, they often drove long distances from their homes in Franklin, Tennessee, to attend the games, loving every minute!

Once again, Sharon and Mike had arrived in Starkville during the afternoon, and they strolled around campus, snapping photos. As they crossed the open drill field, Mike stopped Sharon, dropped down on one knee, and proposed marriage right then and there!

Sharon was shocked—but absolutely thrilled! She flung open her arms and rushed into Mike’s embrace! And he presented her with a beautiful ring.

Passers-by stopped, and spectators cheered and rang their cowbells! One young woman even caught the moment on her camera phone. She came over to Sharon and Mike and asked for their phone numbers so she could send them her pictures.

More happy news is that Sharon has just sold her home in Franklin, so now they can go ahead and purchase the larger home in Franklin that she and Mike will eventually share. Both have children from previous marriages—Sharon has two teen-aged daughters, and Mike has six children!

They each share custody with their former spouses, but sometimes all the children will be in their new home together. Of course, Sharon and Mike have spent many months, letting the children all get to know one another, and fortunately, all the kids get along, so the adjustment may not be quite as overwhelming as it might have been. They’ve already shared many happy times together.

Now it looks like we’ll have our very own “Brady Bunch” in the family. What fun!


Summer Fires

With hundreds of raging fires now spreading across the West, I recall another fire—a smaller one, to be sure, but one that could have killed my mother, dad, my little sister and me.

During the summer of 1948, our family camped in the Rockies. Dad had purchased an old army surplus tent, which he dutifully packed up, unpacked, pitched, and packed up again at each stop along our way. Other gear included a Coleman stove for cooking and a large kerosene lantern for light. However, after spending several cold nights at the higher elevations, Dad thought we needed another kerosene lantern for heat, so the next day he drove down the mountain to buy a new one.

That night, as Cathy and I lay cocooned in our woolen sleeping bags inside the tent, Mom and Dad mumbled outside as Dad wrestled with the new contraption. He vigorously pumped the fuel, determined to make “this darn thing” work.

Suddenly, a loud explosion and bright flash illuminated the wall of our tent. “Fire!” Dad screamed. Cathy and I burst into tears, zipped to our chins in our bags! “Fire!” Dad screamed again, “Get water! The trees, the trees!”

I heard him scrambling down the bank to the mountain stream below.

Several terrifying moments passed. Then the flickering light went out as quickly as it began. All was dark again—and quiet. Back from the stream, Dad asked. “What happened to the fire?”

“I threw our drinking water on it,” Mom said. “It was right there, so I just used that.”

There was no response. I guess Dad was completely stunned.

In the morning, Cathy and I saw the charred lantern on the picnic table. Limbs of nearby trees hung directly above the table. I think about that now as I watch the news.



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 78 other followers