Uncoordinated Innovation

About a year ago, I discovered that my health insurance company had an app – a useful one. When you get an invoice from a doctor, you take a picture of it with your phone and then send the bill on it’s merry way. A few hours after you dispatch the invoice, the app notifies you that the documents have, in fact, been received. A few days later, the app notifies you that everything has been processed and you will receive a detailed settlement statement via snail mail.

So, last week, when I received the invoice for all of that dental work, I immediately scanned both pages of the invoice with the phone and sent it on it’s way. I was informed about the receipt and processing with the usual app notifications and looking forward to receiving the settlement info, as my dentist would like for me to pay him.

They sent me a settlement statement of two pages, the first of which said 0 €, and the second of which had a footnote stating that they cannot process the settlement unless I include the attachment to the invoice which details the laboratory materials and labor breakdown.

O.k., maybe I’m just fussy – but maybe a notification through the app or a good old phone call to tell me that might have saved two pages of paper and a postage stamp? On the one hand, the company is being pretty savy with it’s app – on the other hand, not contacting me via the most economical way with, say a short call – is to me a FAIL.

Prosecco and Tomatoes

I can’t report back on the Prosecco yet, as it is still being chilled. My father had a brilliant idea about it which I’ve decided to implement. It will remain in the refrigerator chilling, and will be shared in May with Emma, the grown-up daughter of my friend Jen whom I haven’t seen in around 40 years. It kind of blows my mind, really.

At this weeks visit to our small open-air market, I needed tomatoes for two different things I’m cooking this week (bell peppers stuffed with a mixture of aubergine, tomatoes, olives, potatoes, gruyere, sardines and capers, and later in the week tacos).

The vegetable stand at our market is always offering a wide range of fresh organic vegetables, and I continue to be amazed at some of what is offered – for example, this winter they had, in addition to fresh red beets, yellow beets. One of their suppliers is a larger farm not far from here that specialises in “forgotten” vegetable types, lots of root vegetables like turnips and yes, yellow beets.

Back to the tomatoes. I bought these:

I thought there was something wrong with them, or that they weren’t ripe yet, but upon my asking, I was told that they were in fact perfectly ripe and are known as “black tomatoes”.

I’ve since googled them (it’s a habit I have, I google everything, though I use DuckDuckGo to do so) and apparently, there are many varieties of black/purple tomatoes. The ones I have are apparently the “Black Krim” variety.

I’ll report back on the supportedly extreme tastefulness.

A Reading Recommendation

I read (or listen) to a lot of books annually, somewhere between 100-150.  (Though at the moment, I’m stuck on the philosophy tome because I’ve subscribed to too many albeit excellent podcasts.)

There are a lot of good books out there, some very good, others, good but nothing to write home about, and some that I struggle through to finish them nevertheless.

One of the most excellent works I’ve come across in the last few years is the “Disruption” Series by R.E. McDermott. The books’ premise is solid, the character development excellent, the plot is believable and the suspense is successfully kept up from chapter to chapter. These four attributes are the necessary ingredients to a good read, but most authors fail to achieve all four. R.E. McDermott manages wonderfully.

I told my father about the series and he was intrigued; I was dismayed that the books were available only in english. My father’s speaking english is good (being the die-hard ham-radio operator that he is) but reading a novel in english is a challenge that he finds daunting and strenous. So, I left a comment/question on R.E. McDermott’s website, and got an answer from the man himself. Yes, the volumes will be appearing in German soon. His response to my comments were very kind and forthcoming.

So, go grab the first in the series, “Under A Tell-Tale Sky” and if you like it, take the time to leave a review wherever you end up purchasing it.

If you aren’t a customer of audible, I am able to “gift” the audiobook version to one person. The picture below links to Audible, but the books are available at Amazon also.


Another Surprise

Wow. Another package arrived for me yesterday, completely unexpected, with absolutely delightful content that included

two boxes of chocolate fudge poptarts (which I haven’t had in about four years as you can’t get them here), a box of Quaker Instant Oats in my FAVORITE flavor of apple & cinnamon (a nostalgic leftover from my childhood, I love the stuff) and a wonderful T-shirt with a black lab on the front of it.

You know who you are – thank you. 🙂🎂👏

On a side note, I put the oatmeal and the poptarts on the kitchen counter yesterday evening. Everytime I walked past them, my mouth watered.  But, I waited until this morning to treat myself to one.

A Wonderful Surprise

It’s those rays of sunshine that drop into your life now and then that are the true spice of life.

Imagine my surprise, when I received this early birthday gift in the mail:

This is not only a really good italian prosecco, it is a “prosecco superiore” with a D.O.C.G. heritage.

I’ll definitely be popping that cork on Friday with a toast to you, dear Jen.

Thank you!!!!!

A few recommendations

There’s been quite an influenza wave here, the kind that keeps you down for three weeks, and luckily, I’ve managed to escape it thus far. It’s coming to an end, so I consider myself lucky.

On the other hand, I’ve been positively exhausted for a myriad of reasons, but things are still fine, or as fine as they can be.

I stumbled across a few very good podcasts that I want to share with you. I will just link to their pages, where you can discover more about them, and then listen to them if you so desire, from wherever you get your podcasts.

First of all, the NYT Daily. It’s become an essential, at least to me.

Then there’s Pod Save America, and Pod Save The World, both of which offer in depth analysis about current and past politics – very interesting stuff and a beacon of light in all of the madness.

On a lighter side, I’d recommend Missing Richard Simmons. I hadn’t realized that Richard Simmons was missing until I stumbled upon the podcast, which I found interesting. At this stage, it appears he might be being held captive and housebound by his long-time maid, but who knows. If you listen to it, make sure you listen to the oldest episodes first (there are three at this writing).

That is all.