I wasn't too happy with the microwave drying of the herbs I harvested earlier. It worked but one of the paper towels I used came out with small singed spots. I was very careful to limit the times for each cycle of drying but I was a bit concerned with possibly starting a small fire. We decided to get a small food dehydrator instead of doing another round with the microwave. It is at work now with two trays of sage and three of basil. I did my gardening real early and am very glad I did because the temps on the patio are already touching 90 degrees.
We also decided to get a small propane camp stove. Over the last couple or three years severe weather has cause large areas both east and west of us to lose electric service for two, three, or more days. All our cooking is electric and we have no plan B in case anything happened. We have felt very fortunate because we have only experience momentary brown-outs. Other areas nearby have had day long black-outs. Mom has also been unhappy with the electric stove for some of the cooking. She likes to do poblano peppers Mexican style which means she has to char the skin and peel them. That is better accomplished over a flame. Now she can do that.
Economist Mom has an interesting excerpt from Alice Rivlin who is on the President's budget commission. When I reached her third reason for dealing with Social Security now I had some interesting thoughts. She thinks that dealing with Social Security makes it easier to deal with the rising costs of Medicare and Medicaid which are the true monsters in this mess. Medical costs have risen faster than inflation for something like the last two decades. The question, though, is how to deal with the problem and my thought is that we have first to deal with our attitudes toward death and toward medicine itself. If most Americans today were asked the question Davey Jones asked in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies (Do you fear death?) we would scream "YES!!!" at the top of our lungs and grasp at any means of gaining more life of any kind. But most medical costs are expended in a person's final illness. But we don't ask if that is a good expenditure of resources and money. We seem to be congenitally incapable of accepting limits. Also, we are a culture addicted to high tech toys and, because we have the toys, we want them used usually without questioning their usefulness in a given circumstance. If we moderate those two attitudes, and learn to say no on occasion, we would go a long way toward moderating the spiraling costs of medical care.