Thursday, March 29, 2012

Question Authority

I trust pharmacists. They went to a lot of school to do what they do, and in general they know the latest. They LIKE what they do. Many of them do what they do because they didn't want to be in an office dealing with sick people all day - they wanted to become experts in drugs.

But today I asked one if there was anything over the counter that would help fade the spots that I spent my formative years embedding in my skin. She pointed me at scar fade cream.

But that's for scars, I said. I just need something for sun spots.

There's nothing for that, except the prescription medications, she said. You need hydroquinone.


I know for a fact that her very small tube of prescription hydroquinone is $150 on my medical plan, because I've asked a doctor about this before. $150 happens to be an amount that is hard for me to conscience for a little tube of fade cream. Pharmacists don't get kickbacks from the pharmas for recommending their drugs, right? Well, is that right?

So I walked across the Walgreen's and asked the lady in the cosmetics department if she had anything that helped sun spots to fade. She pointed me at six different products, one of them brand new and goes on sale on Sunday, and gave me advice on each. She had even used some. I picked up the cheapest one (less than $5 for 2 ounces) and walked back over to the pharmacist.

I pointed at the ingredients list. This is what you meant, right? I asked.

She was stunned. Could have knocked her over with a feather. That's right, she said (how could they have slipped this into the store without my knowledge? was her expression).

There's at least five different kinds over there, I said. But I'm guessing your prescription stuff has a stronger concentration of it, right?

She went back in her stacks of drugs and found some. Yes, this is 4% strength, she said. And I don't know how much these over the counter ones cost, she said. Five bucks, I said.

2% - $4.89, 4% - $150. I'll take my chances.

Question authority. Don't ever forget - all authorities are human. And, no matter how smart you are, it's hard to keep up.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A Beginning

I was thinking about beginnings this morning as I cast on my new Mini Mochi Fair Isle hat (it's lovely, but not ideal because the yarn is a single ply. If you don't know what that means, don't worry about it).

I like casting on. It's a beginning, like meeting a new friend.

At the same time, I am beginning to design my home. I've done a lot of legwork already, and today I even spoke to a solar guy.

Bad news: I won't be able to put photovoltaic solar on or around my new house to generate electricity for me.

Good news: It's because I'm a very low consumer of electricity. The startup costs are too high and I would never realize a breakeven point on that investment. Even though I romanticize the idea of never being beholdin' to PG&E, I am definitely financially circumspect.

That's OK. I can heat water for showers using solar, and that is probably much more practical.

It's a start. I have two very workable floor plans I can commit to, have spoken with one architect, and hope to speak with another this weekend. I have a lender who is willing to finance the venture. All good stuff.

Hi, new home. I'm Lisa. Nice to meet you!