The Clones of Langston receives a Readers Favorite bronze medal

I just learned this morning that The Clones of Langston was awarded a Readers Favorite bronze medal. :-) The competition is open to unpublished and published books, audio books and eBooks written or recorded in English. All award winners will be displayed in the Readers Favorite booth at the Miami Book Fair International, which is attended by hundreds of thousands of visitors.

Exasperated by everyday rip-offs

I am so very tired of being ripped off.

In September of last year, our drug benefits (through my husband’s workplace) were switched to a company called MedImpact. We received a letter, telling us about the change. It said we would soon be receiving new identification cards.

January came, and we still didn’t receive the cards. So I wrote to them explaining the situation.

In April, I had to pay a pharmacy $49 for Alendronate, because we still didn’t have our identification cards. I called MedImpact to say once again that we needed the cards, and to request a drug reimbursement form for the Alendronate. It took 45 minutes to navigate MedImpact’s menus and finally reach someone. Part of the problem – speaking to someone requires an identification number – which only appears on the front of the ID card.

A week later the claim form arrives, but I can’t fill it out because I still don’t have the card and the crucial identification number. The cards arrives a couple of weeks later.

Anyway… I file the claim form and wait. Then I receive a statement saying the claim has been denied.

So I call again.  “I don’t know why you received that,” said the customer representative (ironic term). “It says here your claim was approved. You’ll be receiving a check in about a month.”

So several months later, I’m calling again. I’m told that the patient is never reimbursed if they pay more to the pharmacy than MedImpact does. In most cases, the $10 copay is greater than the amount that would be returned to the pharmacy. In my case, I paid five times that – so I’ll receive no reimbursement.

So not only am I out $40 (and tons of time), but I now know that the vast majority of drugs should cost less than $10 for a one-month supply. In the case of Alendronate, the pharmacy is paid $7 for the $49 drug. So why am I not feeling better?

However, I was reassured that a few drugs cost hundreds of dollars. In those cases, the copay’s a great deal. (But most of the time we’re being ripped off? Still not feeling it.)

Meanwhile… My husband was trying to change the oil himself, and somehow managed to crunch the oil filter. He couldn’t get it off so we took it (against my protests) to the local Ford dealer. They said they could get it off, and would charge us $9.95 for the oil change. Hurray.

But then they told hubby that the tires were askew and that it would cost $95 in labor per tire to fix the problem. I wasn’t happy, especially when they called to say they’d be keeping the car overnight.

“They’re going to walk you up,” I said, “This $200 job will probably be $500.”

Hubby didn’t think so.

But first thing this morning Ford calls. The car is ready, but it took more time to fix than anticipated. The cost is now $360 – an 89% increase in the estimated cost.

I have no love for the place. Ever since they charged us roughly $285 for two keys and to replace a light bulb last year. And to add insult to injury, it took them all day while I sat in the waiting room.

I’m honestly not sure if our system is free enterprise or open theft. But I do know that it’s annoying to clip coupons to save perhaps $300/year, when these large companies will steal that same amount away in a matter of weeks. So I’m penny-pinching so I have more to hand the robber?

And then I read about Super-PACS, basically corporately funded, Supreme-Court sanctioned, campaigns for those seeking public office. Some are owned by billionaires. So I get to vote to select which company will represent us? Too Orwellian.

Scams 103-106

From:   THIS GIFT BELONG TO YOU FROM MRS SUSAN COLLINS. Greetings to you,My name is Mrs.Susan Collins from Netherland. I am married to Late Mr. Tom Collins.He was the Director of T.C Industries Cote D’ivoire. We were married for few years without a child. He died after a Cardiac Arteries Operation.Recently, My Doctor told … Continue reading

Scams 101-102

From: “PayPal” <> We need your help Dear PayPal member, We need now for you to resolve this issue. To give us time to work together on this, we’ve temporarily limited access and what you can do with your account until the issue is resolved. We understand it may be frustrating not to have full … Continue reading

Rejoice in an aging body?

Sam and I were talking about aging – how difficult it is to see our parents become frail, and to watch ourselves head down the same path.

But then something I read in Corinthians made me feel better. It said that the body is like the husk of a seed. The spirit germinates inside, until it starts to grow and is ready to be released.

Sometimes, a seed never germinates. It stays what it is, and decays without growth. Sometimes it starts to grow, but then is neglected or trodden upon. So the potential for growth is snatched away.

But with nurturing, the new growth breaks free from its husk and matures into something greater. Something more beautiful. In fact, it may assume a different appearance many times over.

If the body is my husk, then I should be proud of its signs of maturation. When a seed falls to the ground, it’s first shiny; oftentimes attractively patterned. As it finds its way into the ground, dirt stains the seed and hides its design. It becomes scuffed and scratched. In some cases, the shell must be damaged in order for life to emerge. Rain falls, and its outside is tinged green with algae. When the seed looks its worst, something greater bursts forth.

So my shell’s a little scarred; a little saggy; a little faded. But instead of seeing something lost, I see instead the promise of a life in sunshine.


The words from Corinthians, located with the help of

But someone may ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?”  How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies.  When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body. All flesh is not the same: Men have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another.

So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.

It took 49 days to receive 100 scam emails (Scams 97-100)

From: Mr. Amara Abedi” <   TREAT AS URGENT AND CONFIDENTIAL I am Mr. Amara Abedi, the director in charge of auditing and accounting section of Bank of Africa, Ouagadougou Burkina Faso West Africa. With due respect and regard, I have decided to contact you on a business transaction that will be very beneficial to both of … Continue reading

Scams 93-96

___ 1 From: MR. JOTAVIOUS SCOTT.” <> INTERNATIONAL DEBT FUNDS RECOVERY UNIT Department of the Treasury (U.S.A). E-mail: The enclosed information is STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL and is intended for the use of the addressee only. United states of Americacitizens and its affiliates disclaim any responsibility for unauthorized disclosure of this information to anyone other than the addressee. … Continue reading

A kitten in traffic

This morning, Betty started obedience school. I’ve already taught her a lot, but she becomes overly excited when she sees another dog. I’m hoping that being surrounded by dogs on a regular basis will desensitize her.

On the way home, I saw something crawling frantically away from multiple lanes of traffic. I thought it was a squirrel, but then I realized it was a gray kitten that had been struck by a car. One leg was twisted, and it was pulling the dead weight behind it.

I went to the next exit – it seemed I’d never get there – and drove back to find it. I went down the service road running parallel to the highway, but couldn’t locate the kitty in the grass divider. I made a second pass, this time using the outside lane of the highway. Nothing.

Sometimes I wish we weren’t so rushed. That we’d drive at slower speeds. Some animals would still get killed, but I’m sure many fewer. I don’t like the attitude that anything inconveniencing us should simply be plowed over.

I’m reminded of an incident many years ago. I was momentarily alone on a moderately trafficked road. Ahead of me, a mother duck was scrambling across four lanes. Behind her was her only surviving duckling.

I got closer, and she kept running. I came to a stop, since she was about to run beneath my wheel.

She was in front of my car; almost to the curb. A red pick-up came up behind me. Swerved around. As the mother leapt into the grass, its duckling disappeared beneath the truck’s tire.

The truck stopped a moment, and then drove on, leaving a glassy-eyed mother panting in the grass.

It still bothers me.

scam 92

___ 1   From: Dr Mrs Raul Benzi” <   From Western Union Money Transfer Attention To You Personally: Are you ready to pick up this $5,000.00 sent today. We have concluded to effect your payment through western union $5,000.00 daily until the $800,000.00 is completely transfered. Meanwhile, Our Office has western union $5,000.00 in … Continue reading

Ronnie starts dog school

Ronnie the cardigan corgi has started obedience training at the Little Rock Dog Training Club.

I feel lucky that the class he’s enrolled in doesn’t contain one aggressive dog. I took our two previous dogs to training, and we completed several courses. But no aggressive animals is a first.

All of the dogs were wagging their tails and grinning from ear to ear.

Ronnie already knew sit, and I’d just started teaching him down. But come-to-heel was new, and he didn’t understand. “Oh well,” I’ll train it at home.

The next day, I put Ronnie in a crate and let him watch as I worked Betty. Then places were switched and it was Ronnie’s turn.

But after multiple attempts, he still didn’t get it. However, simply by watching Betty, he did learn to play dead. When I make my fingers into a gun and say Bang, Betty falls over and lies still. Now Ronnie rolls onto his back and lies still – except for his tail, which swishes back and forth.

Today, we tried again. For breakfast, both dogs received half-portions. Then later I pulled out some cooked chicken. Betty went into the crate, and was rewarded with Ronnie whenever he did something right.

I asked Ronnie to heel, and he flopped over dead.  So I asked him to sit, and he got back up.


Grinning, he flopped down, paws in the air.

“Sit. Good dog.” Piece of chicken. “Heel.”

Slowly, ears back and grinning, he came to my side. He looked at me hesitantly. “Is this what you want?”

“Hurray!” He got lots of chicken and praise. He heeled a few more times, and we let Betty out of the crate.

As I left to clean up the kitchen, Ronnie trotted over to me, sat down, and looked up. “Can we do more,” he seemed to say.

But not today. Let’s end on success.