Thursday, April 27, 2017

One of my favorite bedtime snacks

My mom use to make me rice with brown sugar, butter on top and then she'd pour milk over it all.
She liked it for breakfast, I liked it better for a bedtime snack.

I make it now for myself, but with brown rice since it's loaded of B vitamins and fiber, that are
stripped from the white rice. And I think brown rice tastes SO good! And feels a bit hearty.

Normally I just make it with the rice, brown sugar and a little olive oil, plus some kind milk. 
But last night we had an extra kiwi so I threw that in along with some raisins and walnuts. 

I like to make a batch of brown rice and then freeze it in serving quantities 
so I can just pull it out when we want it.

I recently learned how to make the brown rice in my crockpot. I add extra water so it will be creamy, 
but if I were using the rice for dinner, I wouldn't want it to be mushy like this. 
But with brown sugar and milk, it's perfect!

And just this week I heard on a radio program that we sleep better and longer if we eat good fiber 
before bedtime. I don't know about that, but I know this tastes good.

For the creamy brown rice in a small crockpot:
(like the one above my sister gave me for my birthday that is just 2 1/2 qts)

4 c water
1 c brown rice (not instant)
1/2 t salt
1 T butter

Cook on high for 4 hours, stirring it 30 minutes before done.
Then turn the heat off and let it set for 30 more minutes. 

Or if you get too hungry like I was last night....just eat it at the 3 1/2 hour mark. 
I put this all in the crockpot at 5 while I was making dinner, and it was ready to eat at 8:30. 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

How can she be so cheerful?

Back in the 1990s Tyler and I use to watch this program on the Hallmark channel called The Home
and Family Show. He was just a little boy so he probably wasn't really watching it, but he was with
me a lot back then, and did catch some of it.

The main host, Cristina Ferrare and her partner on the show, Michael Burger began to feel sort of like
family. That's what happens when you watch a program nearly every day.

After several years it disappeared, but came back in 2012. Of course Tyler was long gone and onto
bigger and better things....but I still will often watch the program for a few minutes most mornings
while eating breakfast.

So why am I telling you all this?

Five months ago Cristina was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. She is scheduled to enter The City
of Hope on May 2nd for a stem cell transplant.

I've been, for lack of a better word,...impressed how she has been sharing her journey on Facebook.
She even says she's going to film from City of Hope when she gets there next week.

She remains so positive and upbeat that it's baffling to me....I keep thinking, surely she knows
how serious this is....yet, how can she be so cheerful?? 

This is further proof we are not all cut from the same cloth. I get through hard things by venting. Not
her. And then one day on FB she explained why:

"Okay, here's the deal. Many of you have left me messages on my DM asking why I have not even as active on facebook 
and other outlets this past week. I had a teeny set back and was in the hospital this week. I have no immune system and 
caught a bug, kind of knocked me off my axis, but not for long! I'm home with my family and feeling better everyday, 
:) When I face a challenge I do so by retreating into myself to figure things out for a positive result. I don't know if 
that's a good thing or not but it is a coping mechanism. Also it is not my desire to become a person who complains about 
things that you can't control and be a burden to others. You just have to buckle up and get to work. It's extremely 
important to me to share this journey with all of you....."

Cristina put this video (link below) from her past on Facebook yesterday. I hope Tyler sees this. If he
doesn't remember this show, this may bring it back to him.

(and btw, the show was not usually this funny. I watched it for the book reviews, recipes, etc. Dennis
will tell you I'm not into comedy first thing in the morning.)

Monday, April 24, 2017

He'll explain later

My laptop is fixed, again, so now I'm working on a video from a family party last week.....

but for now, 
I want to share with you a poem I read this morning. I especially love the last line...

"If clouds instead of sun spread shadows o'er our heart
If pain inflicts us, never mind; we will soon know who Thou art.
Jesus guides us with His hand, and He will tell us why;
If we listen to His voice, He will tell us by and by.
Confide in God unwaveringly, and let Him us sustain;
Sing His glory endlessly, for later He'll explain."

from the lyrics of the hymn, “Not now but in the Coming Years” found in the Portuguese hymnal....
read at our General Conference this month by Elder Elisses Soares. 

I know so many many people who are going through hard challenges right now, including some 
in my own family. I do believe that when the day comes and we are on the other side, we will 
learn so much about our earth life and we'll say....So THAT'S why we had to go through that!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Hanging out with people better than us

I don't know anything about Hanya Yanagihara or who 
he is, but I love what he said here:

“You won’t understand what I mean now, but someday you will: the only trick of friendship, I think, is to find people who are better than you are — not smarter, not cooler, but kinder, and more generous, and more forgiving — and then to appreciate them for what they can teach you, and to try to listen to them when they tell you something about yourself, no matter how bad — or good — it might be, and to trust them, which is the hardest thing of all. But the best, as well.”
— Hanya Yanagihara, A Little Life

Monday, April 10, 2017

They banned my 91 year old uncle for life?

My Mom's brother, and only living sibling, no way no how deserved this. 

He's 91 and I know him to have excellent integrity. A very 
honorable man who was the managing editor of The Fresno Bee  
until his retirement. 

After all, he was raised by the same parents as my Mom.

So last week he sent me, and a few others, this email:
(I've removed his name for his privacy)

Family and friends,
As unsettling as the incident described below was, it has had one happy
outcome: I found a new pharmacy. Outwardly, its a Mom and Pop operation, 
 but Pop is a tall, 30-something named Mohammad. Hes smart, efficient and likable. He and his staff handled three transfers 
from CVS and did it in 24 hours, while smiling. He called me at 7 last night to confirm a med that costs $90 a month. I did. No 
personalized service like that at industrialized CVS. For Fresnans, the store is WellPlus at the southwest corner of Bullard and Marks. 

Heres my letter to CVS. In the unlikely event of a response,
Ill let you know.


In odd dispute over Rx signing,
                   CVS bans customer, 91, for life 
                                                                  April 4, 2017

CVS Health
1 CVS Drive
Woonsocket RI 02895
     Re: Store No. 9865
Dear Mr. Merlo,
On March 24, 2017, I picked up my wife’s prescription at CVS, 7096 N. West Ave. in Fresno. As a result, I got the “death sentence,” banished from that place forever. Here’s what happened:
The young clerk demanded that I speak with a pharmacist. The pharmacist, however, was at lunch (3 p.m.), to return in 20 minutes. My wife had taken the medication for more than a year and I insisted there was no need for consultation.
But the clerk persisted and was soon joined by another young employee who also loudly demanded that I wait for the pharmacist’s return. I am 91, it was past nap time and in no mood for waiting. The prescription was a refill transferred from another drug store. Since January 1, I have transferred eight other refills to CVS 9865 (lower co-pays) and not once was I referred to a pharmacist — never, until the clamor of March 24. 
There was  no co-pay for that refill. My encounter with your employees took
place away from the registers and signing devices. And the crucial point in this
incident is that no one asked me to sign anything. It’s as if the customer has to know the rules, not the pharmacy workers.
On the following Monday, the 27th, I returned to the pharmacy on my own volition. It was then that I learned I had committed a “crime” — nothing to do with the pharmacist but for not signing out. I would have signed gladly, but the
aides, obsessed about the pharmacist, were silent on that subject. 
When the pharmacy manager refused to consider my appeal, I asked to speak to her supervisor. She said she already had and that they decided to banish me — thus, judge, jury and executioner, with no chance to defend myself. No warning, not a second chance. Nope, an old man who takes 11 prescription drugs was thereafter unwelcome on their premises.
They were unfair, harsh, high-handed. They besmirched my good reputation. It weighs on me. My blood pressure is up, sleep is affected. I want this banishment lifted and I want my reputation back. You can do that, sir, and redeem yours as well.  

cc: California Board of Pharmacy

Friday, April 7, 2017

TV and children

Tyler got me started on TED talks, and here's another good one.

I especially like what this pediatrician said about Mister Rogers 
since my youngest two watched more of him, back in the day, than 
anything else.

My first two sons had no patience for Mister Rogers. Looking back, 
since I was a younger parent then, I wonder if it actually were me 
who did not appreciate him...until I got a little older. So maybe I
didn't promote him as much back then? I'm not sure.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

If we see it enough as acceptable...

There was this one idea I heard last week that bothered me.
It was on what I'd always considered a wholesome TV show.

They had an author reviewing his book on how to get the most from hotel stays.
Author segments are my favorite, so I cued in.

He was talking about how some hotels require 24 hour cancellation notice, or they will charge you 
for those missed days. Life happens and sometimes people don't have 24 hours notice. But who
wants to have to pay for a hotel stay that you don't even get to use?

So this author said he had a great solution. Here's what you do, he said. Call the hotel that morning
and tell them, "I won't be able to make it today, but I will need a room a week from now." Then
the next morning, the author says call the hotel and cancel that new reservation.

The hosts and other visiting guests on the show that day cheered him on, thinking this was a great

For 1/2 a second I thought....great idea. But then just as quick, I paused and said...huh? what??

How I wish someone on that show had the courage to say, "Wait a minute. That's dishonest." 

Fast forward to this morning at our church General Conference.

Joy D Jones, one of this morning's first speakers said, " today's world integrity has all but 

She also said, "Children are great imitators, so give them something great to imitate...

...Hold your little ones close. So close that they see your daily religious behavior and watch you 
keeping your promises and covenants." 

On a similar note I heard Dr Laura say last week on her radio program, "If we hear a lie enough 
times, we will begin believing it." I think the same can be said for lowering of integrity. If we see it
enough as acceptable,  it will become our norm too.

Life was no doubt tough back in the day, 

but distractions in teaching their children must have been less. 
I don't see a TV or the internet in that picture.