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Shelfari: Book reviews on your book blog

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

January 2010 Update

Ok, so I'm a little slow at getting back to blogging. It has been a wonderful past few months. Life couldn't be better. I am truly blessed with all that I have and for such a wonderful family. I have transitioned from short stories to books, non-fiction books to be more precise. I have set up my shelf on This site is where you can add books you'd like to read, ones you have read, and ones that you have read. So, if you have been paying attention, at the top of my blog it shows the book(s) that I am reading currently. This has been changing as quickly as I devour another book. While I try to give my review, I always end up thinking that my explanation just isn't up to snuff. But I try. I just got Buy Ketchup in May and Fly at Noon yesterday in the mail. I got it dirt cheap on It is quite a fascinating book to say the least.
My ipod touch has also been keeping me entertained. I am finding some fun apps for it. I have just subscribed to Genealogy gems podcast and absolutely love my Ipod!

Friday, September 18, 2009

It's a Beautiful Life

Well, the Summer is over and now I'm back for one last semester of school. I am thoroughly enjoying my two classes: Personal Finance (a much needed course for me) and Business Presentations. My presentations class has been fun to present on what I want to and enjoy teaching others. I will present next on the healthcare industry and then for my persuasive presentation discuss the new Utah Health Exchange.
A miracle happened today.
I have been trying to see if I could be eligible to get my every-eight-week infusions done here at home. In the insurance world it is called "home health care". When I called IHC Home Healthcare they informed me that because I am not "home bound" that my insurance carrier, SelectHealth, would deny my claims. So some phone calls to the insurance carrier, a written appeal, waiting for weeks, and then a phone call today - they preauthorized me to have my treatments done here at home on my schedule - nothing short of a miracle. When it comes to insurance carriers they must have been having a really good day. I was expecting the typical automatic rejection and so I almost fell out of my chair at work when they called.
This means so much more to me than just getting my insurance provider to preauthorize my infusions: It means that I don't have to give up the equivalent of 4 PTO days each year just to get my infusions. It means that I dictate when I get them done, which for me will probably be in the evening when I can be with my family and not be strapped to an IV (which I will still need to have done at home) in a place where I get depressed looking at all of the patients who are getting their chemo treatments. It means that I won't have to pay to sit in a chair for 3 hours and be billed for everything from the Tylenol and Benadryl that I decline to take each time to the janitor who cleans up each evening. Yes, it will be much less expensive to have it done at home.
There will be a nurse who will do the infusions - Kari and needles don't mix no matter who is getting poked.
While I categorically don't fall under SelectHealth's typical home health care patient they did indicate that there were other factors they looked at to determine if they would approve the care. Two of those were cost and frequency. They did state that they are preauthorizing me but would only preauthorize on a case by case basis.
Lastly, I would like to express my thanks to my wonderful co-workers who are each experts in their respective fields and who urged me to move forward on this no matter what I thought the outcome would be. First to Serena and Holly for helping me understand how best to navigate the dark corridors of member services (not that member services is dark and bad...) as well as helping me through the pre-authorization process. You both are fabulous because you deal with claims day in and day out. Next, to Marisa and Kym for urging me to submit a written appeal which I believe helped make the difference in this case. You both are optimistic and helped me when I didn't think it would work. Next, to Aliece for sharing her wisdom and expertise in how to get through the insurance red tape. Lastly, to my beautiful and wonderful wife in providing me with my daily strength to continue to cope and deal with this disease and try to be a good husband and father.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Current Projects Keeping Me Busy

I have been so busy with Summer activities that I haven't had much time to post, let alone be reading any short stories lately. I am almost done with John Updike's best short stories so there are a few more of his I need to add. I have been reading three or four other things at the same time. They include Underground by Haruki Marakami which is a collection of stories of the victims of the 1995 sarin gas attacks on Japan's subway system. It is a riveting read so far... I am also reading The Coming of the Lord by Gerald N Lund which is also a fascinating read. As always, I am reading up on my monthly issues of Reader's Digest, as well as HR Magazine which has this year's 50 best small and medium companies to work for in America. I am also working on typing my missionary journal into the computer in case the house goes up in flames - it would not be good to lose all the great memories and thoughts while on my mission. Aside from that there are the ubiquitous projects of yard work (which never seems to be completely finished - ever) as well as the current project of building a room upstairs for our new washer and dryer room. Other projects that I am also working on that I wish I only had more hours in the day to do them is digitizing mom's photo album (I think I am on #4 of 6), as well as sundry family history documents. Lastly, but not least, I am currently using the New site in preparation for it being opened up to Idaho and Utah. All in all, I would say that there's always something that I can be working on.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

His Finest Hour by John Updike

From the first line we are trapped into this story: "First they heard, at eight pm, the sound of a tumbler shattering." George and Rosalind are neighbors of the Irvas. The Irvas frequently become violent with each other. They had grown accustomed to these violent spats, especially when he would be the angry one. It was George, however, who was always concerned that something bad would happen. As George and Rosalind debate what is going on at the Irvas', suddenly Mrs Irva screams. The rest of the story leads the reader to question what type of man George is. "It was Rosalind who had called them"; (the police) as George tries to avoid any type of confrontation. Juxtaposed are the actions of both George and Mr Irva as well as Rosalind and Mrs Irva. A great story.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Who Made Yellow Roses Yellow? by John Updike

Fred Platt, a long lost friend calls Clayton Clayton out of the blue using a fictitious story. After being transferred through several secretaries, Fred is finally able to talk to Clayton. After listening to the prank pitch, Clayton asks if the caller is Fred. Fred playfully queries Clayton "Who are all these girls you live in the midst of?" Clayton inquires if Fred is still studying at the Sorbonnet which Fred replies in French. After Clayton insists that his schedule was completely booked, Clayton grudgingly invites Fred to lunch. Fred is unemployed trying to bait a position at Clayton's office. The two haven't talked in three years. Fred went to the war while Clayton stayed home. Their awkward departure as Clayton says, "Well, back to the salt mines." Fred responds, "Ye are the salt of the earth."

Sunday, April 5, 2009

A $100 value for only $24.95!

This past week I did some research on printing a pedigree chart on a poster size paper so that I could more easily see where I could focus my energies. I have found it frustrating to only view four to six generations on my computer screen. So, I found some sites where you can send them your gedcom file and they would print the file on a large roll of paper. Some offered to print it on a sheet 40' long at 3' wide. For some reason, the idea of scrolls with wooden rollers didn't appeal to me to view my ancestry. I found a very helpful place called the Family History Center in the BYU Harold B Lee library. My one concern was to find a printer who could do this within my budget. Most of the printers I came across charged anywhere from a few to many dollars per linear foot. No matter how many names you have on your tree you too can have your pedigree chart printed for $24.95 (shipping included). What happens is this: You go online to the website which will redirect you to the family history/computer science department at BYU that will print it for you to a maximum size of 3.5' by 6' and hold up to 50 generations. You first need to download the software from their site. I would highly recommend using the older software (NOT the 3.0 Beta version - I had some issues with it...) to your computer. Once you have the software (free software) you upload a gedcom file to it. You work through the wizard to optimize the print of your pedigree. The software will save the project as a .pdf file that will allow you to clearly see how the chart will appear on one sheet of paper. You then go back to their website and start the wizard to upload your .pdf file and pay for the printing. Within a few days the document can be picked up at the Family History Center in the Harold B Lee library on the BYU campus or it will be mailed to you in a convenient and sturdy tube. I have been thoroughly impressed with the quality of the paper as well as the clarity of the paper so that I can see thousands of ancestors on one sheet and at a glance determine where to work.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and So Forth

Mark Prosser is a high school teacher. The first line of his thoughts wonders if Gloria Andrews would wear that sweater . . . with very short sleeves. Prosser and his class are studying Macbeth which Mr. Prosser wants to help them understand. Being typical high school students, the boys try to impress the girls, especially Gloria. Mr. Prosser also understands what they are thinking and feeling. During recitations Mr. Prosser sees Gloria pass Peter, her classmate, a note. He immediately seizes upon the note. He opens and reads "Pete -- I think you're wrong about Mr. Prosser. I think he's wonderful and I get a lot out of his class. He's heavenly with poetry. I think I love him. I really do love him. So there."
After class Gloria is instructed to remain behind. Mr Prosser begins: "It is not only rude to scribble when a teacher is talking, it is stupid to put one's words down on paper, where they look much more foolish than they might have sounded if spoken."
"What was it, Mark asked himself, these young people were after? What did they want?" After Gloria leaves the phys-ed teacher, Strunk, comes in to share the daily gossip. He tells Prosser how Gloria had written the same love note to Murchison that same day and that the same thing had happened to Fryeburg the day before. Mr. Prosser is incredulous but maintains a disinterest in the story. He really believed that he was the one she loved. The last line of the story sums up the story: "The girl had been almost crying; he was sure of that."

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Ace in the Hole by John Updike

Ace is probably in his early twenties and living with Evey, his girlfriend. Ace has just been fired from his job and doesn’t want to tell Evey. He drives to his parent’s house which is just down the block from his house. His baby, Bonnie, is a young cute baby that his parents were taking care of while he was at work. He makes his way home while mentally preparing for the confrontation he knows he will have with Evey. Evey wants an explanation of why he got fired. He was parking a ’51 Chevy his boss had just bought and in the process scrapes the car up. He tries to defend his actions as his boss told him to put the car in the hole between two other cars. Evey notes, “you could have looked and moved the other cars to make more room.” Evey explodes at Ace’s nonchalant attitude toward getting fired again. She is fed up with him and ready to move on. Ace moves into a soliloquy proclaiming that they need to have a boy. They end up dancing mainly to allow Ace to deflect the situation.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Kid's Whistling

Roy works in a department store where he has worked alone most nights. During the summertime the store hires on high school kids. This year it was Jack. One problem that Roy had with Jack is that Jack whistled all the time which annoyed Roy. Maureen, Roy’s significant other shows up out of the blue. It is late and she has gotten wet from walking the six blocks in the rain. Her presence unsettles Roy more than Jack’s whistling. Maureen knows Roy is working late during the Christmas season but feels the need to check up on Roy. Roy is painting a sign with the word ‘Toyland’ on it. Roy painstakingly brushes the letters adding glitter while they are wet. He brush strokes the final letter and realizes that it is wrong. He notes: “It was nothing Simmons [his boss] or anybody would notice—who looked at signs, anyway? –but Roy knew it had been ruined, and now knew why. The kid had stopped whistling.”

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A Sense of Shelter by John Updike

Kari got me a collection of short stories for Christmas which I am just now beginning to read. They are all from John Updike. William Young, also known as Mip, is one of the loners at school. He isn't really friends with anyone but he doesn't seem to mind this either. He claims that "exclusion is itself a form of inclusion." William is madly in love with a girl names Mary Landis. And unlike most students in the high school, William actually feels comfortable at school, as his own home away from home. Unfortunately Mary is tired of school and can't wait to get out. William confesses his love while Mary attempts to deflect any of his feelings as if he were telling jokes. The ending leaves both unsure of their futures