Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Thank Goodness for the Bird

Yesterday I went to Dunedin to pick up two pieces which didn't sell in the show. One piece did sell but it wasn't Mrs. Peanut so she has come back to live with me and I'm happy about that. The piece which sold was my opposing waves vase. It's the vase where I put texture on the inside and outside. I'll have to do that more often.

I met with Clara Ann Yarian, one of the instructors there, and she gave me a tour of the Dunedin Fine Art Center main campus which is in the process of doubling their space and under construction. This is the handbuilding room. There's another room for throwing, a glaze area, outdoor raku kinls, and an indoor kiln room. What a wonderful clay facility they have. There are classrooms for other media, a children's museum, several galleries, a cafe, a gift shop, and much more. There are also two other locations, the Stirling Gallery and the Cottage. I wish I lived closer, I'd take a workshop and I'd be closer to attend guild meetings and go to shows and art fairs.

Dunedin is 80 miles from here and it took two hours to drive one way, not to mention the cost of fuel. My leg was killing me last night from driving four hours. This morning we're reviewing our health insurance costs since it's up for renewal and it's increasing from $5200 to $6400 a year with the same $10,000 deductible before they pay even a dime.

We tried getting quotes for a lesser cost insurance on the computer and had to put in our phone number. Now health insurance computers from all over the country are calling leaving us messages. Yes computers are leaving messages, not people. The new healthcare won't help our situation, insurance companies have said costs will still increase not decrease. Food, fuel and other necessities are rising astronomically and will continue to do so. I hate to be pessimistic, but I think government and most laws passed nowadays actually benefit big business and not individuals.

With costs rising we really can't afford to keep our home, we need to move to a lesser priced place just to stay afloat. Just when we're all settled and I've got a good space for my clay work we really will need to move one of these days. I think we were fooling ourselves when we moved here. I wasn't thinking clearly back then because I wasn't doing well. Until I reach 66 my health insurance will cost me an arm and a leg and the cost will continue to rise along with everything else. Five more years and I keep thinking we'll be living under a bridge by then.

Gary has VA insurance but they 'recommend' keeping a supplemental insurance because if we were in an auto wreck they might be very slow to pay for the bills. I'd like to live closer to a bigger city, but Gary hates cities. But if we lived closer to services, fuel costs would be less to travel and there'd be more job opportunities. When we left California we downsized from there, but costs keep going up, the phone keeps ringing, and I feel powerless. We've been downsizing our possessions, and liquidating assets, in preparation for the eventual. I try to stay on the positive side, but sometimes that's not easy. Why does so much boil down to money or the lack of it?

The other day reading Meredith's blog about her sister Lee learning she has cancer makes me feel even more powerless against big business. My heart goes out to Lee and Meredith and Mark and Leslie. Seems much of America is in the same boat, costs for everything keep rising and income keeps going down. There are so many inter-related and convoluted variables to contend with in life nowadays. The huge metal sculpture above, which hangs near the gift shop at the Dunedin Fine Art Center, epitomizes all the variables I'm thinking of today.

If you missed Meredith's post you can go here to read about Lee's bird. Just when I was crying in my soup this morning, I looked out the window and saw this pileated woodpecker and was so happy to see him. I took the photo through the window. He was peck, peck, pecking on that stump in the ground. The bird being a woodpecker, well, how appropriate I thought. This morning all I can say is thank goodness for the bird.


  1. what a great clay center! too bad it's 80 miles from you.
    and those big woodpeckers are so neat to see...lucky you to get a picture.

    i feel your pain about health insurance. i have to make a decision about mine this summer. right now i have a 5k deductible, they do pay for office visits but anything else like lab work i have to pay out of pocket for until i reach that 5k. i am frightened to think of what my costs are going to be this coming year.

  2. Hi Michele, thanks, we got the higher deductible to reduce the monthly outlay thinking if we got seriously ill or hurt we'd rather have them pay 100 percent, gambling we will get hurt or sick and they're gambling we don't. a no win situation for sure.

  3. The whole health insurance scenario in this country is ugly terrain to navigate. I feel so badly for you, and for the way life seems to be getting more difficult for more people. It's a tough situation to be facing. My best thoughts to you and Gary as you look at your options. I hope a very workable solution will be found that allows you greater freedom to create and to follow your hearts path.

  4. It wasn't so many years ago that nobody had health insurance and doctors visits were reasonably priced so sick people could get well. Then BCBS made up this "need" which they sold to corporations as a benefit. The doctor's need extra staff to deal with the insurance, we pay for that extra staff person with the high price of the doctor's visit...
    Imagine if everyone in America said "I don't need/want health insurance."
    I hope your leg is feeling better.

  5. In the 1920s the oil companies were dubbed 'Robber Barons' because of the strangle-hold they had on the U.S. Today's Robber Barons are the insurance companies. I believe in a fair profit but not profit for the sake of profit at the expense of people who need a service. You should not have to suffer or endure this exploitation. It's just wrong!

    Florida doesn't have a state income tax but it has, I think, a brutal property tax. Any possibility you could re-locate? Some of the parishes around Baton Rouge and New Orleans have greatly reduced taxes and, with I-10 so close, have easy markets for you to access. I remember how excited you were when you bought your house and got settled in. It pains me that little over a year later circumstances are so negative. From the bottom of my heart, I hope you and Gary find a ray of sunshine that brightens tomorrow...and that your leg feels better. Hugs!!

  6. Sending you a big HUG Linda. I don't think there are many words to contradict what you are sharing. Seems like so many good people are having such a hard go of things. Sorry to say this for Gary's sake but I do feel being closer to city services would be more cost effective -you could even try and be near a market to sell your art without paying a gallery commissions. Having to drive all that way probably took the shine off of selling the vase :o( but congratulations because people like your work :o)

  7. oh Linda - I sure hope you and Gary don't have to move again -- seems like you've just started to feel settled.

    I wish we were organized enough as a group of people to say 'none of us wants this insurance!' But we have no voice to make changes.

    I can't believe that Lee's insurance won't pay for her treatments! That's not insurance - that's robbery! We pay and pay for years, never making claims and then when we really need our insurance - they aren't willing to help us. ARRRRGGGHHH

    I sure hope things ease up for you.

  8. I understand everything you are going through- life sure is full of ups and downs.
    But thanks for thinking about us.
    and good luck with whatever you decide to do.

  9. Linda~
    I admire your seeing beauty in nature to help lift your spirits a little...We are facing such difficult times in our country- I agree, everything seems turned all upside down. I hope things start to turn around for you very, very soon.

  10. The vase in the first photo is so lovely!! Congratulations, Linda! I'm sure your works are and will be loved by many people!
    You mentioned "costs keep going up" there. On the contrary, in our country, consumer prices have been falling. Deflation is a big problem here. Due to a prolonged recession, we have seen our wages stagnate and students have a hard time finding a job. We also have a tough time now. I hope things will take a favorable turn for you! Hugs!

  11. Thanks to each and everyone of you for all your well wishes. I am not sure what the future will bring, but it isn't all negative, we do want to travel and I think if we downsize to the bare minimum which was our plan, anyway, we can do that and I can still have a studio in a shipping container or an old garage or something somewhere or another.

    Teresa, thanks for your well wishes, yes I feel so bad for so many folks.

    Lori, thanks, the doctor's visits aren't too bad, it's the potential hospitalization that would be bad or a major health issue or an auto wreck or something. But you are right, if no one had insurance and just paid out of their pocket, hum. one of our neighbors opted to not have home insurance since he can't afford it.

    Cindy, thanks, yes I drove down there three four times, once to deliver, once for opening, once for sale and once to pick up the work, but I did get the exposure and the public got to see a good show and I got to meet and talk with so many great potters which was invaluable to me.

    Judy, thanks, we really don't have a voice, our democracy isn't a voice of the people.

    Meredith, thanks, I am thinking of you and your family and can't help but think so many others are in the same boat as we are and you are.

    Kittie, thanks, the property taxes and all the insurances are very high in this state for sure. one of those fema trailers may be in our future after all.

    Gary is looking for a job and I am looking for a part time job but most jobs are minimum wage since so many are out of work, there is much competition in the job market We are also working on other creative ways to make money as well so we shall see.

    We thought of Tennessee before we moved here, but this winter sure was cold and our old bones have gotten used to the warmer weather here.

    Sometimes the state of the economy in our country and in the world just gets me down; I see so many haves and have nots and so much hardship.

    The other day I went to the scrap yard and spoke to the owner and he said business was booming since people are cleaning up whatever they can find to get money to live on, copper, brass, iron, steel, plastics, glass, you name it.

    Kathy, thanks, it seems I am rewarded with a gift from nature just when I need it the most, I guess I am lucky that way.

    Sapphire, thanks, if only our prices would go down here it wouldn't be as bad, fuel prices and food continue to go up almost daily it seems, very few jobs available and those are all minimum wage, and decreasing wages and benefits for those that have them, well most, some such as executives and government workers wages go up and are at an all time high.

    I am ever so happy people like my work and I am continuing to progress in my endeavors, that is a true joy to me.


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