Mother Nature, Newburyport Tropics

Mother Nature seems to be clairvoyant.

Last year in the Spring there were little trees of every species growing in my backyard/green-stuff. It was as if Mother Nature in a second-sighted way, wanted to make sure that if the big trees didn’t make it, well, there were tons of baby trees on the way.

And sure enough, last summer we had a drought. I remember blogging about how my backyard/green-stuff was all wilty, crispy and grey, and how no amount of watering seemed to help the crispy, wilty thing.

Not this year.

No, this year, very few little trees. And this year Newburyport is downright lush, and at times appears to be some version of the tropics.

The good news is that my backyard/green-stuff is a gorgeous shade of green. The bad news is that it feels as if it continuously rains and my house and neighborhood exist in a sponge-like location. Sometimes I wonder if my lawnmower, when it’s dry enough to actually lawn-mow, would sink into the saturated, soggy earth.

MA Health Care, It Pays to Scream

It’s that time of year when I get the invoice from my health care insurer, telling exactly how much my healthcare would go up this year.

Most years I brace myself for a 10-15% mark-up. Last year, the first year of the Massachusetts (infamous) Health Care Reform, the premium hike was (I kid you not) 47%.

This year, when I called my health care insurer to brace myself for the always horrific news, I couldn’t believe it, it was “good” news. My health care premiums actually went down. And in fact they offered me a better plan for less.

I kept saying, “What?” “Are you sure?”

And finally when I asked “Why?” (because in all the decades this has never happened before) the answer was that it was too expensive for people and they could not pay.

No kidding.

So maybe someone in MA, got the message that the (infamous) Massachusetts Health Care Reform has the potential for bankrupting the middleclass and putting small businesses out of business of (see earlier post).

(And as a btw, from the responses from my various public representatives concerning my horror to premium hike-ups last year, Senator Steven Baddour got an F-. I still have his response from August 20, 2007 on my desk. And I glare at it, still.)

My premiums are more affordable. But are my premiums actually really and truly affordable? No.

It is a step in the right direction. But there are a whole lot more steps to go.

Thank you, particularly the Boston Globe, for writing very courageous articles on how the new (infamous) Massachusetts Health Care Reform would be causing so much anguish for small businesses, middle aged folks (the article about the woman eating popcorn for dinner, so that she could pay for her mandated heath care premiums) and the middle class.

Thank you to all those people who spoke up and continue to speak up. May this “downward spiral” be just the beginning of affordable and quality health care for everyone.

Paying Your Dues and All Things Newburyport

Jim Roy asked me why I said “all those nice things” about him.

a) They’re true.

b) And Jim Roy has “paid his dues.” This is not someone who has wandered into town for a few months or whatever, and decided to become an expert on all things Newburyport.

I looked up the definition of “paying your dues”–“Respect because you have worked hard.”

And in doing some research on the notion of “paying one’s dues” it became evident mucho quickly, that “paying your dues” has gone way out of fashion, as one article put it, it’s just “so old school.”

Sort of like the “wisdom” thing– another possible antiquated idea.

I like the old adage of “things take time.” (Adage–“A saying that sets forth a general truth and that has gained credit through long use.” There it is again, the time thing.)

But then there are the “having paid your dues” folks, writing, as I perused through one book, how important it is to grasp the concept of “email,” and to beware of “bloggers.” Yes, I understand, gives the “pay your dues” thing a bad name (and rightly so).

The “pay your dues” folks need to keep up and appreciate new technology as it continues to unfold. And a great example of someone like this, is Bill Moyers, someone who has really paid their dues, someone who cares passionately, is wise and also has his antennae up for “new stuff.” And as a result of that combination, is respected by the antiquated and non-antiquated alike.

So, yes, I like to see someone who has paid their dues start an alternative newspaper. But those other things (among many other things) are a good mix to be mixed into the stew. Otherwise it quickly becomes irrelevant, sort of like the buggy whip in the age of the automobile (to steal a line from Danny Devito in “Other People’s Money”).

1991–A long time ago, but still relevant.

Thunderstorms are Us, Don’t Rain on My Parade

Sunday morning, there’s sun, coolish air. Could it possibly be true. It might be nice for the Yankee Homecoming Parade. Yankee Homecoming could get a break here.

Yes, the fireworks went on Saturday night, after yet another thunderstorm, and before yet more rain. But sticky, humid weather in between the raindrops, could make enthusiasm somewhat sticky.

But on Federal Street after the fire engines, etc. roared by at full decimal, blue sky was on one side of High Street, and a big dark cloud was on the other. Ut Oh.

A young lady clicks her cell phone and looks at her friends, “They say it’s pouring back there.” Oh, dear.

And sure enough rain drops start falling and this blogger makes a beeline for cover.

And yes, a rip roaring thunder storm comes through, all yellow and red on the radar screen, right over High Street, Newburyport, MA.

But the show goes on, at least most of it. And when this blogger stuck her head back out, sure enough bands and floats were marching and floating up the soggy roadway.