Archive | November 2017

Dark Days Ahead

This week begins my annual decent into darkness. It generally starts around Thanksgiving and stays until after Valentine’s Day. So if I don’t post as often as I would like, that’s why.

Thanksgiving, because I’m reminded that I’m alone. My children and grandchildren are on the opposite side of the country, and while my wife and I are still married, that’s just a technicality. Her family has severed all contact with me.

December brings with it my mother’s birthday, followed a few days later by the anniversary of her death. Then comes thee gloom of Christmas spent alone, followed by New Year’s Eve spent the same way. January is usually pretty much of a blank, followed by February and the second anniversary of my father’s death.

All of which would be bearable were it not for my

  • General Anxiety Disorder
  • Social Anxiety Disorder
  • Seasonally Affective Disorder
  • Chronic Depression
  • Gender Dysphoria

Yeah, I’m a mess. But as the song says,

I get knocked down, but I get up again
You are never gonna keep me down

I still have my tea and my books. Oh, yes: and my blogs. They’re really my on-line journals, which I write in to keep my sanity.

I get knocked down, but I get up again
You are never gonna keep me down

Love and hope,

Robyn Jane

My New Glucose Meter!

I finally got my new glucose meter, and thereby hangs a tale.

My doctor actually wrote the prescription about 4 months ago, but I waited a whole month before I went in to her office and picked them up. I was going to get the meter and everything else I needed from the pharmacy next door, which is where I usually fill my prescriptions, but something held me back. I remembered seeing an advertisement on the Internet about qualifying for a free test meter.

A 10-minute search yielded results (thank you, Google), and after another 10 minutes, I had filled out the form and submitted it.

A week later I received an email telling me that I qualified for a free meter (more on that later). All I had to do was print out the email attachment and present it (along with my prescription) to the pharmacist.

The First Delay

Well, that was fine with me. Unfortunately, I don’t have a printer. My landlord, Ed, has one, but it was out of operation. Ultimately, it took me 3 months before I was  able to print out the attachment.

Finally, I got to the pharmacy and handed in the prescription, only to be told that while they didn’t have it in stock, I could pick it up the following day after 11:30 am.

Which didn’t happen. I’d handed in the prescription too late for it to make that day’s out-basket. So it was another delay.

I skipped the next day, figuring (1) I’d give them an extra day and (2) I’d call before going in to pick it up.

Which is what I did this morning.

I Give Up

This morning I called the pharmacy to check on the meter. YAY! It was there! So I grabbed the free glucose meter coupon and went into the pharmacy. I collected the meter, and when I handed the coupon to the clerk, she said, “Oh, all of your diabetic supplies are covered by your Medicare Part B, so there’s no co-pay.”

And to think that I could have been doing my tests for the past three months!

One Final Disappointment

I had asked for the Verio OneTouch Verio Flex meter, but they gave me the OneTouch Verio meter—which I didn’t discover until I got home. And I am too exhausted to go through any more delays. The main difference between the two units is that the Flex has the capability of sending my test results and all related data to my iPhone. Maybe in a few months, I’ll try this again, but for now, I’m a Happy Camper.

The Truth About Free Meters

For those of us blessed (or cursed, depending) by Medicare Part B, your diabetes supplies—including test meters, lancets, and test strips—are ALWAYS free.

And for the rest of you, allow me to recommend the Verio Onetouch system.

You Say You Want a Revolution?

Reading the November 2017 issue of The Empty Closet caused—as it usually does—me to experience mixed emotions. Joy, because of the stories about adoption and other loving family issues, and fear because my own government refuses to recognize my right to even exist .

Having grown up in the ‘50s and ‘60s, I bought into the lies everyone else did. As Pete Seeger so memorably sang,

“What did you learn in school today,
Dear little boy of mine?
What did you learn in school today,
Dear little boy of mine?
I learned our government must be strong.
It’s always right and never wrong.
Our leaders are the finest men.
And we elect them again and again.
That’s what I learned in school today.
That’s what I learned in school.”
”What did you learn in school today,” by Tom Paxton

That dream was shattered when the nation ran headlong into Viet Nam, assassinations, and Watergate. The past 40 years have taught me that our government can’t be trusted to tell us the truth, that politicians—at least at the national level—exempt themselves from the laws they impose on the rest of us, and that we haven’t learned a damned thing from history. How are we supposed to react when the enemy is not at the gates but rather occupying the seat of government.

40 years ago I didn’t even know what “transgender” meant, much less the fact that it applied to me. But now we’re in the 21st century, when the spelling of the word “bigotry” has changed into “sincerely-held religious beliefs,” and we have both an occupant of the White House (I refuse to call that orange monster “president”) and an Attorney-General who both tell me I have no right to even exist, much less be treated with the same rights as everyone else in our country are.

What will be the fate of our nation if the very people who are sworn to protect and defend it “against all enemies, foreign and domestic” are themselves domestic enemies? Or are we as a nation no longer worthy of those freedoms and liberties we fought for in 1776, 1812, 1860, 1914, and 1941? Is this, as Jack Nicholson’s character asked, “as good as it gets?”

“And I don’t know a soul who’s not been battered
I don’t have a friend who feels at ease
I don’t know a dream that’s not been shattered
or driven to its knees
But it’s all right, it’s all right
We’ve lived so well so long
Still, when I think of the road
we’re traveling on
I wonder what went wrong
I can’t help it, I wonder what went wrong.”
–Paul Simon, “An American Tune” Copyright © Universal Music Publishing Group

Am I the only one who thinks these thoughts? Am I crazy? Or am I thinking clearly?

I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical….An observation of this truth should render honest republican governors so mild in their punishment of rebellions, as not to discourage them too much. It is a medecine [sic] necessary for the sound health of government.” – Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, Paris, January 30, 1787 (Emphasis added)


YANWT: Yet Another New Writing Tool

What can I say about Bear? Yes, it’s a writing app. Yes, it’s specifically for Mac OS and iOS devices. Yes, it’s free. And yes, I bought it.

Wait! WTF, Robyn? It’s free and you bought it? Well, yes. That’s how apps are marketed, right? The basic app is free, but if you want all the bells and whistles, you have to buy the app. Or, in Bear’s case, a subscription. Here’s what its creators have to say about that:

Pricing model

The core version of Bear for iOS and Mac is free.

Bear Pro offer advanced features, including sync between all your devices, application themes and exporting, which can be unlocked via a single subscription that covers all your devices.

The Bear Pro subscription comes in two variant $1.49 monthly or $14.99 annually.

Prices may vary from location to location due to local taxation laws and conversion rates from U.S. Dollars.

So the free version runs on one device (although you can install it on more than one), and the paid subscription allows you to sync all of your projects on all of your devices.

For me, it’s important to be able to synch my iPhone and my iPad. Evernote is a great app, but the storage space on my iPhone is limited, so I only have it on my iPad and my laptop. And where Evernote keeps its data files on both devices, Bear uses the cloud for storage. In plain English, that means Bear only takes up 22Mb on my iPhone, as opposed to Evernote’s 105Mb (and climbing).

I Don’t Use Bear For Writing on my iPhone

I used to have several blogging apps on my iPhone. I’ve replaced them all with Bear—saving even more space. I used them to jot down ideas for blog posts. I never actually write any blog entries: the iPhone keyboard is too small for any lengthy typing. And I don’t write with Bear on the phone, either; rather, I use it to jot down notes  and ideas for articles and blog posts. Once I’m home, I can either compose an article on my iPad, or export the notes in a format I can then edit on my PC using LibreOffice.

This also lets me free up space in my purse, since I don’t have to carry a notepad and pen with me: Bear has also replaced them.

Bear features at a glance

  • Advanced Markup Editor that supports and highlights over 20 programming languages
  • Rich previews while writing so you see prose, not code
  • In-line support for images and photos
  • Use Cross-Note Links to build a body of work, quickly reference other notes, and more
  • Quickly add to-dos to individual notes to keep yourself on task
  • Multiple themes to offer a style for everyone
  • Multiple export options including HTML, PDF, DOCX, MD, JPG, and more
  • Smart Data Recognition of elements like links, emails, addresses, colors, and more to come
  • Hashtags to quickly find and organize notes however you like
  • One-tap formatting on iPhone and iPad with a custom shortcut bar
  • Focus Mode hides notes and other options when it matters
  • All your notes are stored in plain text for the ultimate in portability
  • Effortless, secure, and private multi-device sync via iCloud
  • Regular updates to keep you and your writing current

The Learning Curve

Because Bear is a powerful writing tool, with many capabilities, the learning curve is rather steep. But if I can do it, anybody can!

Summing Up

If you’re looking for a powerful writing tool for your Macintosh, iPhone, or iPad, you can’t go wrong with Bear. Give it a try.