Hadn't planned on posting again today, but this just in ...
So while multi-billionaires likeTesla's (and now Twitter's) Elon Musk andAmazon's, Jeff Bezos, spend their billions on hostile business takeovers and rides into space, generally benefitting themselves and a few select VIP's ...
... Jeff Bezos' multi-billionaire ex-wife, MacKenzie Scott, has given literally billions away to humanitarian and environmental causes she believes in.
Ms. Scott has recently also given $5.7 million to Louisville's Urban League chapter (likely the larger amount was due to the Breonna Taylor shooting), as well as $20 million to Jefferson County Schools in Louisville.
The organization addresses issues of racial inequality and social justice at a local level, helping to (among many other things), provide affordable housing, educational and job-training supplemental programs, as well as helping to provide funding towards legal issues that arise.
It is the largest single donation in the organization's history, and UL-LFC President and CEO, PG. Peeples is "honored and grateful," calling the gift "transformative."
Go MacKenzie! Go Kentucky Urban Leagues! Go National Urban League!
Okay, so I'm going to start this post off by talking about politics, but the actual exercise itself has nothing to do with politics (see below). The point is to apply these same critical thinking techniques to politics, if you/we can tuck our beliefs under long enough to do so :)
Because IMO, the problem with politics today is that regardless of how intelligent people actually are, they often go with their beliefs first, ignoring any facts to the contrary that don't support their narrative (dismissing them as "fake news), as well as often using other people's opinions to support that belief instead of fact - in short, lack of critical thinking or even questioning what they are told.
As for me, I'm sure I've even been duped, especially when younger (I was quite naive/too trusting of people), but quite honestly, I'm also fairly naturally fair-minded and can see many sides to the same issue (which frustrates people to no end lol).
Helping that along, I was also trained in critical thinking through my education - not only as a social worker to avoid biases, but even starting as early as high school. I had an American History/Civics teacher, Mr. Gauzmann, who forced us to argue for the other side of several arguments. I really hated having to do this when he put me on the plus side of slavery during history lessons of the civil war.
I begged him to be put on the Union side, the moral side of this argument, but he said, "In order to understand the "wrong" side, you have to understand how the wrong side thinks, why they think the way they do - and not what propaganda tells you they think, but why they're laying their own lives on the line for this issue. Put yourself in their mindset, even if you don't agree with them, to try to understand them better."
Needless to say, I still didn't agree with them or hold the same values, but I did understand the mindset better.
The only "for" arguments I could come up with were continued support of a certain standard of living through no-cost labor, "trickle-down economics" (which has never once worked at a federal or even state level, only locally, but nevertheless, often used as an argument), lack of federal government control over state control, biblical misinterpretations of scripture, and atrocities which happened to women and children as a result of the "starving out" of the South during the civil war - none of which were justifications, in my mind, and even with the last one, they did have a choice in war.
But let's take the ability to critically think completely off politics for this exercise (but perhaps apply it to politics in your own lives)?
Honing these critical-thinking skills, as mentioned previously, I have been transcribing pre-launch interviews for an independent marketing company between Big Pharma and insurance companies, public and private, international as well as national, as well as key-opinion clinical leaders in particular disease states, both doctors and pharmacists.
Let me just say, these people are masters at critical-thinking, considering all they have to keep in mind, and it hones my skills by even listening to them.
So as a "fun" exercise (lol), I'm going to give you a "mock" example of a fictional new drug to come to market.
Let's see how well you can critically think, shall we?
Okay, so let's pretend it's 2025 and you are the VP of Pharmacy for a national commercial health insurance plan. In two days, you have to give your recommendation to the Pharmacy and Therapeutics committee for a vote, whether or not to add this product to your formulary.
Part 1/Question 1 is your evaluation of the new drug itself based on its clinical trial, how it compares with other drugs already in the class, and is its price justified?
Part 2/Question 2 is what tools you have in your toolbox to mitigate and manage the drug cost?
Now - remember the the IRA (Inflation Reduction Act) will be in full effect by 2025, which will lower copay costs to us, the consumers, to no more than $50 - especially in diabetes - which Big Pharma will likely respond to by simply raising their prices, putting the burden on insurance companies, who will, in turn, raise their premiums ;)
So Fictional Product X is a new GLP-1 that has just entered the market for type 2 diabetes.
You already have 3 GLP-1's on the market.
Product Y and Z are both self-injected, either daily or once weekly, both proving to have similar efficacy at significantly reducing both hemoglobin A1c and weight and are fairly safe.
Product Y has just published a post-launch 2-year study also proving long-term prevention of cardiovascular events, with Product Z's results expected to be published soon with similar results.
Product Q is an oral pill, slightly less effective than Y and Z, but also proven in a post-launch study to offer some cardiovascular protection.
Through contracting, you received a bigger rebate for Product Z than Product Y; thus, Product Z is on the preferred tier (lower copay/coinsurance).
Product Q, the oral formulation (to give providers and patients a choice, especially those who have trouble self-injecting) is co-preferred on the preferred tier.
Thus, because of its higher cost, Product Y is non-preferred (higher copay/coinsurance, likely a step through either Product Z or Product Q before you can get to it).
Also, another recent anti-diabetes class is available, the class of SGLT2 inhibitors, which have been found to be just as effective.
Your company's PBM - Pharmacy Benefit Manager (the company that contracts and manages all your pharmaceutical products) tells you Product Y - the currently non-preferred drug - is now offering an even steeper rebate of an additional 20%, if they are made 1 of 2 preferred options on the formulary, after this new drug launches.
You don't care how you get to a better bottom-line net cost - whether high wholesale cost/higher rebate or low wholesale cost/low rebates, just so long as at the end of the day - if all products are equal or near equal in efficacy and safety - you get the best deal so you don't have to raise your premiums for members.
(The PBM, however, does care - because they make most of their large profits off high wholesale cost/high rebates ;)
Your key-opinion expert endocrinologist says the efficacy of this new longer-acting GLP-1 is actually somewhat less than the others, and she has some some safety concerns.
However, 10% of your plan's in-network endocrinologists have called you, telling you they believe this drug is actually better and they'd like to try it, especially for their patients that have failed the other GLP-1's, they don't care what it costs, especially now that their patients only have to pay no more than $50 with the Inflation Reduction Act.
*Now remember, this is a pharmaceutical company, trying to sell you a product - so think carefully and critically - think to yourself, "What's wrong with this picture?"*or "What is missing from this trial?"
FICTIONAL CLINICAL TRIAL OF FICTIONAL PRODUCT X:
INDICATION:An FDA-approved treatment of diabetes type 2 in patients 12 years and older.
TRIAL DESIGN:A double-blind (both patient and doctor are blind to who is receiving what), randomized (random draw as to whether the patient gets treatment or not), placebo-controlled (a placebo is the comparator, either a pill with no active ingredients or has active ingredients) controlled clinical trial.
TRIAL DURATION: 12 weeks.
TRIAL SIZE: 150 patients, all formally diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
DOSAGE: A once-monthly injection - 8 mg, 12 mg, or 16 mg based on weight.
PLACEBO: Active comparator; metformin (biguanide drug class).
INCLUSIONS: Formal diagnosis of type 2 diabetes, 12 years of age or older, both treatment-naive and treatment-experienced patients.
EXCLUSIONS: Patients 0-11 years of age, patients with history of a vascular or cardiovascular event in the last two years. History of endocrine or thyroid tumors or cancer.
PRIMARY ENDPOINT: The reduction of hemoglobin A1c from baseline by 1% versus the active-comparator placebo (metformin) by Week 12.
SECOND ENDPOINT: Weight loss of 1.5 pounds by 0 pounds by active-comparator placebo (metformin) by Week 12.
- Product X showed a 1% percent greater drop in hemoglobin A1c versus placebo.
- Product X showed an average loss of 1 pound more than placebo.
- Side effects were nausea, vomiting, and constipation in 33% of the patients.
- Severe adverse events were retinopathy reported in 10% of the patients by Week 12, and 2% thyroid and pancreatic tumor formation by Week 12.
- Discontinuation rate was 25%.
Now, the pharmaceutical company notes that there was no head-to-head comparison against other GLP-1's, nor SGLT2's (though both were on the market when the study began and have become the standard of care by many endocrinologists.)
However, in their presentation, they have a slide of side-by-side comparison with another GLP-1.
All previous trials for GLP-1's have gone on 26 weeks rather than 12 weeks, so let's pretend their results at 12 weeks were up to at least 10% better than Product X.
The WAC or wholesale acquisition price, or list-price range before rebates for GLP-1's already on the market is now $1,000 to $1,500 per month/$12,000 to $18,000 annually.
However, the manufacturer of Product X tells you that the WAC price before rebates for Product X will be at a 30% per-dose premium to the others, making it $1,300 to $1,950 a month ($15,600 to $23,000 annually).
They are justifying this 30% premium cost because they are once monthly instead of once weekly, which they say not only saves cost, but they believe will to promote better patient adherence, plus they are approved for younger patients, plus they provide a new self-injector with new technology that sends information about whether the medication was administered correctly, at the appropriate times, using Bluetooth technology, to both the pharmacy and the provider, also ensuring better patient adherence.
So Part 1/Question 1 is what do you think of the efficacy and safety of this drug and its outcomes in the clinical trials, especially versus others in the market basket?
Any data gaps, things that stand out to you, positively or negatively?
Feel free to comment any questions or comments below, but okay if you don't and just want to do this exercise quietly to yourself - it's a GREAT critical-thinking exercise :)
Check in tomorrow for things you may or may not have overlooked, plus Part 2 - how will you manage your pharmaceutical costs? ;)
For those who don't know who Jim Gaffigan is, he's a stand-up comedian and writer. Here he is on CBS Sunday Morning, talking about being relentlessly stalked by both the Republican and Democratic Parties via mail, email, phone, and texts before the midterm elections lol.
It's true, the emails, texts, robocalls, and mailbox mailers are completely out of hand.
Honestly, the first thing I think of is NOT "Well, gee, I wasn't going to vote for you, but NOW - now that you call, text, or email me 25 times a day and send me overly large, flashy flyers daily, wasting paper and taking up all the space in my mailbox - I'm totally gonna change my vote for you, sign me up!."
No, the first thing I think is, "All right - who sold my information to these people?" lol
I highly doubt anyone ever changed their mind or made their decision through any of these things.
Now, what is effective, unfortunately, are their commercials.
If you don't live in Kentucky, I wish you could be here to see Rand Paul's ads (for U.S. Senate), and even worse, Andy Barr (for our district's U.S. Rep). Mitch McConnell is not up for re-election this year.
I try to look at these ads as if I knew nothing about these people before I saw them, but that actually makes them even more absurd lol.
Rand Paul is going after transgender athletes.
Really? With all that's going on in the world, THIS is what you consider the biggest threat to Kentucky and America, right now?
Gosh, I didn't know that Kentucky, and America at large, are apparently under siege at the hands of transgendered swimmers - it's a pandemic! ;)
(Over-privileged fake-issue alert!)
And Andy Barr, Lexington's U.S. representative.
Actually, I don't know much about Andy, because we never hear or see hide nor hair of the man until election time. We have no idea of any bills he's sponsored or been a part of, nor what he has said in Congress. It's like he doesn't even exist lol.
(Well, to be fair, when it comes to Kentucky politicians, who can even get a word in edgewise with Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul as our senators?)
Then suddenly, right before election time, he puts up 15-second commercial spots that say things like:
"I'll protect your family from radical Muslim extremists." (From 2018)
Yeah ... 'cause foreign terrorism is a real problem, here in Kentucky. All those horse farms they could go after and all - many of which are owned by wealthy Saudis?
And with what, will you protect us?
Because your current tactic of weaponizing the American flag doesn't seem to be working - in fact, it's promoting domestic terrorism instead.
And this year, it's "Radical Liberals like Nancy Pelosi will let drug cartels in to invade Kentucky" - with like a big picture of Nancy Pelosi's face, all angry lol.
It's ridiculous, obviously manipulating by fear, but it works here in Kentucky, especially in Eastern Kentucky, where they fear "outsiders" coming in like the plague (but curiously don't fear actual plagues, like COVID).
Okay, first of all, Kentucky has been like 7th in the nation for harboring undocumented Mexican immigrants for the last 60 years, especially in the horse-farm industry, because they're cheap labor.
So I'm pretty sure that most Kentuckians know - or should know - that undocumented Mexican immigrants run the day-to-day farm and horse-care operations at all of Kentucky's world-renowned horse farms, as well as that the majority of undocumented Mexican immigrants are NOT cartel members - that's who they're trying to escape from.
I'm also pretty sure that you personally know that, Andy, because it's predominantly Republican-owned horse-racing moguls and large-farm business people who are the ones underpaying and exploiting them, paying them under the table, because it benefits profit margins - which is why nothing will ever get done on immigration from either party ;)
Yes, for all your Republican fear-mongering and group-scapegoating rhetoric, methinks the smellers are, as usual, the biggest fellers - they're the biggest hirers of undocumented immigrant labor themselves, at least in our state ;)
Secondly, Andy Barr isn't running against Nancy Pelosi. Nancy Pelosi isn't running in Kentucky. In fact, I don't know if she's even ever been to the State of Kentucky in her life.
Thirdly, though I'm not a super fan of Nancy Pelosi (mostly because when she first became SOTH in the late 2000s, she behaved just as obstructively as the Republicans did, which I just thought was vindictive) - I cannot understand, for the life of me, why she has become the whipping post and scapegoat Democrat, when there are so many other Democrat men in power for years they could target - so many political men in general who have said and done so much worse!
I mean, other than the obvious fact that she's a female in a leadership position previously only held by men ;)
In fact, all this hatred for just her actually makes me respect her more than I previously did, just for putting up with so much misogynistic BS than the male politicians have to go through lol.
Speaking of which, I'm wondering if Andy's Pelosi-hate ad will mysteriously disappear after Nancy's husband was attacked yesterday or if they will just continue to display their basic lack of human decency :/
Now - here's what's interesting - I can't show you any of these ads because you can't find them anywhere online - not on YouTube, not at the Rand Paul or Andy Barr websites - nowhere.
All you will find is positive stuff they've supposed done, which is almost more absurd.
Now, that's a new, interesting strategy ... make their actual sites look positive but leave no trace of their nasty troll ads, gotcha.
But like I said, some of their "positive" ads are even more absurd; for example, this one for Andy Barr, during the pandemic.
(By the way, the man speaking, Will Arvin, is the owner of Castle & Key bourbon distillery and also the son of my grandparents' former attorney, Billy Miles Arvin. Sigh, not even gonna go there, but ... yeah.)
"Andy Barr's Leadership is Saving Lives Across America" ... by "standing with" bourbon distilleries temporarily making hand sanitizer?!?
Oh, you were serious.
Pretty sure hand sanitizer doesn't cure COVID, nor provide strong or even adequate protection against COVID. It helps, but ... no.
And I'm surprised y'all didn't tell them to drink it, too, as a cure, considering the bleach and Ivermectin quackery y'all pushed, plus you ARE a bourbon company, after all.
So let me get this straight - Andy Barr is mostly concerned with threats that do not or rarely affect Kentucky, but didn't do sh*t for an actual threat to life like COVID but "stand with" bourbon distillers making hand sanitizer, nor did he take a stand on denouncing domestic terrorism, i.e. the attack on our nation's capitol?!?
Wooo hoo, what a hero!
But the thing is, neither Rand Paul nor Andy Barr have too many commercials, because they know they don't have to - all people have to know about them here is that they're Republican and that's enough for them :(
I get it, we've become polarized, but actually in this state, it's been that way for as long as I can remember.
Well, we Dems used to vote for Republicans here sometimes, but Republicans voting for Dems? Never happened here in Kentucky, for as long as I can remember.
Nowadays, it's straight party ticket on both sides, which I'm guilty of myself, now, but the problem is, you can't abstain from picking a candidate on your ballot, you HAVE to choose one, even if you don't necessarily like the person running in your party or don't even know who they are.
Well, we'll get through this next round again, I guess - hopefully peacefully, but you never know.
PS - I opened my comments again, but didn't tell most people I had done so (but I did announce I had done so here with a post and my sidebars).
So ... I only had two takers thus far, my husband and Braeden lol. (At least publicly, a couple of people wrote or texted me privately on the Lake Cumberland pics ;)
I get it - all of the reasons nowadays that people don't want to comment publicly, so I'm not sure I'm going to keep them open.
Okay by me, I haven't had comments for years, I like to write like no one's reading anyway lol.
But I do hope my photos or stories gave you a smile, or something I said gave a giggle, or that you could otherwise relate or feel connected in some way :)
Because that was the original point of social media - connecting the world to each other. Too bad it's since become the lawless, Wild Wild West :(
So my husband, Mark, called me, to relay this story - and we both couldn't stop laughing about it for the rest of the afternoon lol.
So on the way back to work at lunch, he went to deposit a check for me today (I won $100 bucks on the KY online lottery, yay!) - BUT - in his hurry, he'd forgotten that he'd popped a post-it note on the back of it that he'd written to himself that said:
"Need trash bags!"
He had written that post-it as a self-reminder to pick up trash bags at the grocery. (As a side note, his post-it-note reminders can be found all over the house, in the oddest places, driving me slowly insane lol. But that's his system, so I just let them lie - but maybe he'll rethink this system now? lol)
So ... in a hurry to get back to work, he goes through the drive-thru, not realizing the post-it note is still stuck on the check - and sends it through to the teller like that!
Lol, so the teller gets it, his eyes widen, he looks at Mark in a scrutinizing, suspicious way, and then says:
Teller:"Sir? What exactly is it that you want?"
Mark:"Erm - just my wife's check deposited in her account ? Thanks, man!"
So the guy softens, smiles, and kind of chuckles to himself, telling Mark he's welcome and to have a great day.
Mark said he was thinking to himself: "What was his problem?!?"
Only when he got the deposit receipt back, with the post-it note on it, did Mark realize what he had done - ACCIDENTALLY SENT THE BANK TELLER A NOTE POST-IT NOTE THAT SAID "NEED TRASH BAGS!"
OMG, no wonder, the poor teller probably thought at first Mark was trying to rob him or something, asking for money in trash bag!
I have laughed until I cried about this, all afternoon (but it takes so little to send me into a giggle fit, right?)
As of 10/24/2022, COMMENTS ARE NOW OPEN AGAIN (with moderator on ;)
You may comment anonymously, if you like - just leave me a moniker hint so that I know who you are ;)
Also, I still use no other social media but this one, and only with this ID (or my real name), leading back to this website only, rarely commenting publicly anywhere else.
PS - Each individual post has a "comments" section link underneath it. Above the comment box, there is a pulldown menu with 4 choices as to what you can use for an ID:
1) Blogger profile ID.
2) Your Gmail account (choosing your display name/moniker).
3) Enter a display name/moniker and your own URL (another blog site, IG, FB, etc.)
Now - if you choose "anonymous," please sign your comment in some way - put a display name/moniker, your nickname, or a hint as to who you are somewhere in your comment ;)
Unfortunately, I won't publish any anonymous comments that don't give me some sort of sign as to who you are because, well, I don't know who you are and I don't want to publish bot comments lol
(Now watch, no one will comment at all lol. That's fine, just wanted to give the option now, considering new family members, plus I post a lot of vacation pics and don't want to bombard anyone in email or text with them, so it's just easier to post them all here. You can also continue emailing and texting about them, too, if more comfortable that way :).
Any questions or problems, email, call, or text me :)
**Also, as of 10/24/2022, COMMENTS ARE OPEN AGAIN (with moderator on ;)
You can comment anonymously if you like - just use a moniker with a hint as to who you are ;)
Just a quick heads up before beginning this current post - I finally posted the Cumberland Falls pictures from August just before this post. I decided this was still the easiest way to share all photos with everyone at once - I can never pick just a few pics to send via email or text and don't want to bombard anyone! :)
Also, the first thing you need to know about both places is that despite the similar names, Cumberland Falls and Lake Cumberland are not at all related, other than both being fed by the Cumberland River, which begins in Harlan, fed by three mountain tributaries, then travels across Southern Kentucky from East to West, dips down into Tennessee to Nashville, and then climbs its back up into Kentucky again, before it finally empties into the Ohio River at the Kentucky border.
In fact, the two areas are actually 76 miles (or an hour-and-a-half drive) apart ;)
Mark and I have decided, this past year, to try to visit them all before he retires and we move out of state. He says nothing here compares to his beloved Michigan, with the exception of two things - Shaker Village of Pleasant HillandKentucky State Park Lodges(which are usually made of wood and stone, ranging from 1930s old-school-style lodges to to mid-century modern) :)
Now, be forewarned - there are no frills, here, this isn't luxury - no fridge, no microwave - BUT - what you DO get are very clean rooms that smell of wood, you enter your lodge room from outdoors (a good thing during COVID), they accept pets for only $30 for your entire visit, they have the friendliest, most personable staff - and most importantly - the lodges are intentionally built to provide the best views you can find within any Kentucky State Park (which is why we choose them! :)
As for the cons, no frills, as mentioned, short-staffed during COVID (but they tell you in advance if things may be a minute because of that, but you don't mind, because they're lovely people to chat with), and the food is hit or miss, especially after COVID and the floods, when they're funding became sparse (and they began doing buffets at some parks, especially breakfast which is so-so)
IMO, Jenny Riley State Park has the best food thus far ;)
The only other drawback appears to be very thin walls between rooms.
I couldn't hear the loud music from the nearby marina unless outside at night, but room-to-room, you could hear everything.
And for some reason, on Saturday night, some Jethro next door decided to apparently talk on the phone to all of his kin, in one night, until about 3 a.m., in his loud, markedly redneck voice - I could literally hear every word he was saying!
"Well, I'll be g*d-DAMNED if I ever go back up thar. To hell with them, I say!"
Well, you know what I say, sir? To hell with you and your hollering on your phone all night! Sounds to me like whoever you're talking about will be better off. Spending all your time in this beautiful place, bitching about your family back home, whom you'll be back in just a few days to talk to and bitch about anyway!"
Okay, I didn't actually say that, I said nothing, just put a pillow over my head lol.
And yet still, it did not deter us from having a wonderful trip!
We are land-locked, in Lexington, needing to travel to see any lakes, and all but three lakes in Kentucky are man-made as a result of the Army Corps of Engineers in the 20th century. Lake Cumberland is the largest of these man-made lakes, and in fact, the largest lake in Kentucky (and the most popular of the Kentucky State Parks). It is also known as the "Houseboat Capital of the World," with some traveling houseboats in the multimillion dollar range.
Thus, it's very difficult to get a room, in summer, but we decided to take an impromptu trip this weekend to see the fall foliage.
Lake Cumberland is in Southern Midwestern Kentucky, about two hours away from us, so we decided to spend the afternoon taking a swing east into the mountains a bit, to see the foliage, but unfortunately, it was only just starting to change there (and many trees had already lost their leaves as it's been very dry, this fall) - but still, a pretty drive :)
After a 4-hour-detour to Eastern Kentucky, and not coming up with much color, it was nice to see the color come alive the closer we got to the lake ... oh, just wait :)
So we pulled into the lodge at around 7 p.m. EST, 6 p.m. Central Time (which begins right about Jamestown), checked into our room, taking a quick peek at the scenery from the balcony ...
Yesssss ... ahhh :)
We then headed to the lodge for dinner, which we had planned to take back to our room and eat on the balcony, but considering it wasn't crowded, and the tables were socially distanced, we decided to stay for the view - plus we loved our waiter, who took the below pic of us.
At first, I was going to put my sunglasses back on for the pic to hide, saying, "Oh, Lordy - I'm gonna put these on because you KNOW I will scare small children and animals, right now, with the way I look after traveling."
He was all, "Girl, no - take those sunglasses off for this picture right this minute, stop it lol! Otherwise, you'll look like you're high and trying to hide it lol. You look good, girl, smile!"
Gay men and I always hit it off right away, always a fun mix. They're always good for a confidence boost when you feel you look like crap (or to help you do a quick fix if you really do look as bad as you think) lol.
I get them and they get me, for some reason, and there are no holds barred, anything is liable to come out of both our mouths and I love it :)
(Speaking of, forgive the lack of makeup and flattened, crazy hair, it was a long drive and day, and I knew it would be, so I didn't bother lol - PLUS I had intended to let it grow back, but had yet another "oops" while self-trimming and now it's even shorter! Argh! I have to find which salon my former stylist went to - soon! lol )
I was so happy to see my husband so happy, near a big lake, reminding him of his beloved Michigan, which has literally hundreds of (natural) lakes, which he has missed :)
After wolfing down our dinner, we high-tailed it back to our room because the dining room was becoming more crowded by the minute, and sat out on the balcony, just enjoying the view for a awhile ...
Which Brookie decided was her new favorite spot (the old one is in between the pumpkins in front of the fireplace at home) :)
But just at dusk, we heard a bit of rustling from the cliff. Mark was convinced it was a bear (lol), but I knew better. Though there are bears in this area, not many, because it's very flat and tree-less until you get near the lake, then woods, but with very steep cliffs near the water. Bears wouldn't scale these steep cliffs, this close to this many people. I was pretty sure I knew what it was - can you guess?
Still not sure? How about now ...
A very old, very fat, very slow, very sweet raccoon!
Though it could've climbed up and over my balcony at any time, instead, it just sat itself down in front of my balcony with its paw up, patiently waiting for something to be thrown down, awwww?
Obviously used to people, just looking up at me like, "Please, mum, can I have some more?"
Okay, I know they can be a nuisance, and also rabid, but something about how slow and gentle it was, never trying to climb up (when it easily could have) let me know this one was well-behaved and wouldn't be a problem.
It just sat down quietly, literally with it's paw up - and how can you resist this face?
No, seriously - LOOK AT THIS SWEET FACE!
And so sweet! I threw down part of the rest of my sandwich and some Smart Food popcorn, which it gobbled up, then slowly and politely left, no trouble at all, and it did not return.
It was very gray, instead of brown, compared to most racoons I've seen, which is what makes me think it was very old, plus slow - and it tail was so short!
How precious was that? And then it quietly waddled away and didn't return the rest of the weekend, what a sweet raccoon!
After a peaceful night's sleep to the sound of cacophony of crickets, over our morning coffee on the balcony, we heard yet another rustling of leaves, this time from our left, but it wasn't a raccoon - it was this new friend ...
A young doe :)
There is no hunting in the State Parks (unless overpopulation becomes a problem, then they let veterans in one week of an overpopulation year to hunt), so deer are very accustomed to people (and dogs) :)
Miss Brookie was SO good, she just silently watched her in shepherdess position, even as she moved closer to us (end of video), and despite the fact the there was also a squirrel (the usual star of my videos from my balcony at home lol) ...
I felt so bad, not an apple or a single thing that's good for deer in sight. Thank goodness they're safe, here, or I wouldn't have even wanted to feed her because I wouldn't want her to become unafraid of people, but as long as she stays in the park, she's perfectly safe :)
Then we went to the lodge buffet and took it back to the room to breakfast on the balcony and finish watching the sun come up and the fishing boats go out :)
Next, we decided to try to take Brookie on the shorter hike, the 3.1-mile (total) trail, but after about 200 feet, she laid down, then tried to turn back - her congenital hip-joint problem is just too much for her to try, especially now that she's older :(
Plus it ended up being 75 degrees, that day, and but she has a big furry coat on already!
But she tried, right?
But look how beautiful she is, sitting amongst the leaves, in her natural fall colors ...
So this next one is an example of Brookie in her semi-shepherdess position. When in full shepherdess mode, the ears are up, mouth is closed, upper body completely upright and frozen like stone, completely fixated on something that not even food could not deter her away from ;)
For full shepherdess position, watch the end of the video above (about timestamp 2:05), of her watching the little doe as she walks closer.
Not even so much as an ear flicker when I talk to her (except briefly later to sniff her scent), totally focused on the doe, trying to determine if she's a threat or just something else she now needs to herd and protect, like us lol ;)
So we brought her back to the lodge, turned on the AC for her, and then returned, taking pics of the foliage along the way back to the trail ...
We had planned on doing the 8-mile, but now too late, we settled for the shorter hike, which brought us back just in time for dinner.
Now - are you ready for some REAL color?
Because the forest was ALIVE with color!
At the end of the trail ...
Back at the lodge, being that the dining room was too full for us, with COVID rising again, we decided to have our dinner on the balcony, watching the sun set ...
The next morning, checkout day, we woke up before the sun, and watched it rise over the hills - magnificent!
Both mornings, this same older couple could be found in the same spot, watching the sun come up - you can also see them from the first video above from the prior morning (the one with the young doe), and you also hear me talk to them just a second as they walked over to snap pictures of the doe :)
Here's a little panoramic video I made of the sunrise ... :)
Just some shots going into the lodge for the breakfast buffet, eating outside on the lodge patio ...
A few shots of us, on a bright sunny day, sprinkled in. (Yes, I know, I hate my hair!!! These were good of Mark, though lol)
Around the lodge ...
And like I said, we're not talking luxury accommodations, here, but not bad, right?
And with that, alas, it was now time to go ... :(
Just a few shots of the front of the lodge and the new indoor swimming pool on the way out. I'm not super fond of the new color or the over-modernization, but whatever keeps the tourists coming I guess?
I mean .... zzzz sort of a boring entryway, compared to the other lodges (and the back view), IMO ...
And here's that overly modernized new indoor pool (the outdoor is now about a quarter of a mile from the lodge) ...
Ah, well - we don't sweat the small stuff - all in all, a great trip!
And now, something I want to show you.
These are the trees along the state roads in the country, right?
Now - these are the trees the closer you get to the I-95, the US interstate, approaching Lexington ....
Just in case you thought climate change and environmental damage wasn't real.
Trash in, trash out, people. This is the first I've seen the visible damage.
Now, we have had a dry fall in Lexington, but these pictures are taken from Mt. Vernon up on I-75.
Many trees are dead, as you can see - and look how "dirty" the live trees look - these maple trees are supposed to be dark orange/red leaves (compare to above photos) :(
I swear to you, it wasn't like this along I-75 when I was a child - even 20 years ago.
Okay, this isn't "political belief" people - this is science.
You kill trees, you can't purify the air of harmful gases.
You can't purify the air of harmful gases, you change the atmosphere.
You change the atmosphere, you change the weather and the climate.
And it's not rocket science, people - it's common sense.
Anyone that says otherwise drinks too much corporate-backed Republican toxic Kool-Aid ;P
But ahem ... I digress :)
Otherwise, one of the most scenic trips we have taken thus far.
Stay tuned for our next Kentucky State Park adventure, likely coming this Spring :)
PS - Comments are now open again, folks (with moderator on).
You may comment anonymously if you like, just leave me a moniker hint so I know who you are ;)
(Now watch, no one will comment at all lol. Well, it's okay if no one does, just wanted to give the option ;)