2014 in review

Thanks so much to all visitors and fellow bloggers for taking the time to visit my blog. A special thanks goes to my most interactive and frequent comment makers: D’aller Naturel, Levi Thetford, connorphoto, Viktoryarch, and ubecute. Your constant support is invaluable to me! May I continue to bring you solid and entertaining content in 2015!! 🙂 🙂

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,300 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 22 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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An Unforeseen Race

 

Pure craziness now surrounds the world of healthcare. This has probably been the case for quite some time now, but it has recently become painfully evident to me. The chaos that is now a part of securing proper medical coverage, simply can’t be made up. I wish that it could but it’s a very real scene for many people; a reoccurring nightmare. It has become a dirty rat race where the people winning certainly are not the recipients of the much sought after ‘care’. The chase is on and many are finding themselves in a vicious cycle that is marred by nasty customer service people and incorrect information. People have become little hamsters running on their tread wheels, forever chasing the ‘illusive affordable healthcare’ programs and getting nowhere fast.

I recall a time, when I wasn’t in the least bit concerned about healthcare. I had a decent job and had worked at the same company for many years. So, healthcare was never an issue for me. But, like in so many instances, life happened and changed my plans. One bad bout with illness can land you in the ‘disability’ pot where you are introduced to all kinds of unsavory ingredients that don’t blend well together. I know all too well because it happened to me.

I don’t know anyone that desires to be in the ‘disability’ pot. Especially, when you’re use to working. Suddenly, you find yourself in a health crisis and can no longer do many of the things you once were capable of doing. Your income is now limited, so you find yourself having to settle for healthcare that has been more or less decided on for you. Honestly, I’ve learned more about healthcare in the past 18 months than I care to know and I must say, I was not prepared.

Just when you think you have the right plan in place, one that satisfies all your medical, dental and prescription needs, the ‘state’ decides to make new change(s) and everything hits the fan all over again. Obviously the people that come together to make these rules and decisions on how healthcare plans will be administered, have not had to run on the tread wheel themselves. Or maybe they’ve forgotten what it feels like. It’s painfully disheartening and disappointing to be kicked while you’re down. It seems the more you need particular components in your healthcare plan, the more options become unavailable to you. It’s like someone is turning a knife slowly in an existing wound, while watching you bleed out slowly. We might as well sign our names in blood. After all, that seems to be the cost to stay healthy nowadays.

I can’t end without mentioning the skimpy dental plans that seem to be becoming more and more streamline by the minute. And heaven help you if you are heading towards your senior years. Do these people not deserve to have comparable and appropriate coverage, just as they would if they were 20 years younger? Do teeth become a non-issue or less important when people become older? I beg to differ. Don’t the ‘powers that be’ realize that if proper dental care isn’t made attainable for everyone, regardless of age, that more people than ever will be in need of affordable health insurance because dental issues can surely result in other health issues. Once again, back on the vicious cycle and around an around we go.

What should ‘we’ the people do? Should we gather names and sign petitions to express our extreme dissatisfaction? Do we write to our politicians? And if we do so, will they hear us? Better yet, will they even respond to us? Who knows what the answers are but there has to be a better way. We live in a great country with so many liberties and freedoms, but many of us are at risk of not fully enjoying these privileges because we are slowly losing our rights, ability and support to stay healthy. If our neighbor Canada can offer free healthcare to its citizens, than why can’t New York State do the same?

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

Life in a Bubble

For as long as I can remember, I’ve heard people complain about living in Upstate New York – Rochester to be exact. The negative comments range anywhere from the shrinking economy to gripes about the winter weather. I’ve always defended my neck of the woods and I’m always more than happy to give the ‘up’ side of living here in the midst of all the hemming and hawing.

There are many cities that are faring far worse than Rochester New York. Especially, in terms of weather. The recent news coverage of our Western New York neighbor Buffalo, has kept everyone abreast of the winter pummeling that that region has undergone. Unfortunately, this is only the beginning, and it’s nothing new. It seems that every year, weather reports outline the havoc that the winter season wreaks on our ‘sister’ city. How Rochester manages to miss the bulk of much of the snow is quite amazing. It’s almost as if there’s an invisible bubble that shields us from the worst of the winter weather, while it makes its presence known to our nearby neighbors, Buffalo and Syracuse.

I guess you could say that we experience a little bit of every kind of weather here and to me, that’s great. The four seasonal changes are second to none. I love the ‘renewal’ affect that the ‘spring’ season brings. Everything is revived and comes back fresh and new. I enjoy summer for many reasons. One being that the days are longer. Secondly, some of the most spectacular sunrises and sunsets can be experienced during this season. If I had to choose a favorite, it would be the ‘fall’ season. Nothing reflects nature’s beauty more than all the brilliant colors that the foliage takes on at this time of year; also know as ‘autumn’. Last but not least is ‘old man winter’. Yes, this season has its drawbacks, but the snow is pretty to look at.

While having a problem tire on my car addressed earlier today, I picked up the newspaper that was sprawled out on a little table where it’s last reader had left it. The front page caught my attention: Why Rochester? I swelled with pride as I continued to read. The article listed five reasons why Rochester is a great place to live, work and raise a family.

      1. It was named the third best place to raise a family in Forbes Magazine in 2010, which I was unaware of. I love it when I learn something new.

      2. Rochester’s ‘sister’ cities Buffalo and Syracuse get hit much harder by snow fall than Rochester. Just a couple of weeks ago, snow removal crews left Rochester to go and assist with some of the snow removal in Buffalo. Oftentimes, a storm will be pointed right at us. Yet somehow, Rochester seems to be positioned in a way that often allows us to escape the brunt of many storms, and thankfully so.

      3. Wegmans grocery store is one of our proudest home-grown businesses and now operates 85 stores in 6 states: New York = 46 stores, New Jersey = 7 stores, Virginia = 6 stores, Maryland = 7 stores, Massachusetts =3 stores

      4. Many Rochesterians are huge fans of the Buffalo Bills and consider the team as much a Rochester team as it is a Buffalo team. For the last several years, Pittsford New York’s St. John Fisher College has been the designated location for the Bills training camp. The Bills may not have had consecutive wins in a long time, but during the 1990s, they held a dominant streak. They were the first team to make it to the Superbowl in 4 consecutive seasons. Bills fans set a single-season NFL record of 635,889 in attendance during the 1991 season.

      5. Rochester is small in comparison to some of the bigger cities, but where it is smaller in size, it definitely makes up for in culturally diverse events. This city is big on the arts and pays homage by way of numerous festivals, concerts, etc. throughout the year. In doing so, Rochester provides a little something for all the different people that come out in droves seeking that perfect mix of cultural diversity to satisfy their varying individual tastes.

There truly is a lot to discover and experience here in Rochester and I am amazed at the things I’m still becoming aware of, even after having lived here all my life. All in all, I’m happy in my little corner of the world. Life in a bubble certainly has its advantages.

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

December 2014
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