They blew up the first Pasadena State Bank building today.

Yes, I know the modern terminology for for taking down a building like that is implosion. But this was a building of the 1960s, so I’ve decided to forgo the the refined vocabulary I enjoy today and address it like I would have in my youth. To a kid of my day, turning a 12-story concrete and steel building into dust and rubble meant you blew it up.

Growing up in Pasadena the building was a fixture of my formative years, and really, the whole town’s life. Even before the now-departed skyscraper was built in 1963 my father had accounts at their original location in old Pasadena.

Looking back at some of his banking records after he was gone, I found a thick stack of cancelled checks. There were 360 checks tightly held together with rubber bands. More than a decade after paying off the mortgage he kept these as tangible proofs of 30 years of timely mortgage payments.

Looking at the check he wrote for his first mortgage payment, I was surprised to see that in the mid-1950s there were no account numbers at the bottom of his checks. The only identifying information was my parent’s names pre-printed at the top of the check.

Back then, I guess banking, like life, was a lot more personal.

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When I was a kid, the idea of a ham in a can (from an exotic, far away land like Denmark no less) was fascinating. My parents, raised in the Depression and steeped in frugality, never bought one, which only added to the notion that these were some alluring delicacy and the fare of a people far more aristocratic than us.

As an adult I now know the pale, slimy horror the colorful can hides, and the desire to buy one is permanently gone along with some of my naivete.

So much of the stuff the world tries to sell us is like that, and the surprising thing is how long it takes us to realize we’re being conned.

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For the first time since Liam was born, Henry stayed overnight with us. I laid down with him and put on ocean wave sounds. Within 10 minutes he was out.

2 1/2 hours later I woke up and I had been pushed to within a 1/2 inch of the edge of the bed. Not only that, but he had intertwined his arms around mine. I was slowly able to extricate myself and push him back to his side of the bed.

When I woke up at 4:00 he had his head on my chest and other arm wrapped around me. I was also teetering on the edge of the bed again. I didn’t try to move him this time.

It was a night without much sleep, but knowing how fleeting these early years are, I decided to enjoy the experience of trying to sleep next to a thrashing octopus of a boy.

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I was looking back through some of my Facebook posts and came across this one from 2015. Back then, my only thought was of the medicines that were going to “save me” from the complications of diabetes. In the post I mention how the drug “worked wonders in allowing me to regain control of my blood sugar.”. At the time, a drug that worked wonders was one that gave me blood sugars below 150.

I am not going to demonize diabetes medications or the pharmaceutical industry, but I now know I can’t count on medicine to be the primary force in fighting diabetes and obesity. 

Four months on a keto diet have given me nearly normal blood sugars, substantial weight loss and lower blood pressure. 

You know what else is expensive? Buying new, smaller clothes, but that’s a joyous expenditure. 

The Battle 

On the way home from school I had to stop at CVS to pickup a refill one of my diabetes medications. With my insurance and a manufacturer’s special discount card, I’ve been able to buy a medicine that costs almost $600 a month for just $25. This medicine has worked wonders in allowing me to regain control of my blood sugar when nothing else has worked very well.

At CVS I got the news that my new discounted price is $314 a month. Surely, I said, that was a mistake. I came home and called AstraZeneca and after spending almost 15 minutes trying to get a human on the phone I finally got the word that the price was right. No explanation, but I was told that if I didn’t have any insurance I could probably get the medicine for free.

After 2 hours of fuming and doing my best “guess I’ll go eat worms” act I calmed down and regained rational thought.

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