Having just returned from an eleven-day road trip to visit my family in Oklahoma, I am very glad to be home. I love living in a in the quiet serenity of Garrett County Maryland and miss the green peacefulness when I am away. While in Oklahoma, I enjoyed spending time with loved ones and visiting old haunts. The boys and I went to the many museums and parks in Enid, Oklahoma. We also went frequently to my favorite fast food place of all time: Braum’s.
If you have not been blessed to live within a 300-mile radius of Tuttle, Oklahoma you might not be aware of the epic coolness of Braum’s. Braum’s Ice Cream and Dairy Stores is a family run business and a really neat example of vertical integration. The business controls virtually every element of the supply chain. They own the cows, the farms, the trucks and manufacturing facilities; because of this level of control they have amazing food at very affordable prices. They even have small grocery stores called “Fresh Markets” with fresh produce folded into many of their locations. As an activist focused on health, this gladdens my heart. Many of these “Fresh Markets” are the only grocery stores in easy walking distance within a community.
Five years ago when I was looking for a new health insurance policy for my family, I made my choice, in part, because of my knowledge of Braum’s. I knew how amazing a burger could taste with a vertical integration model; imagine what that model could do to one’s health care. So I chose Mid Atlantic Kaiser Permanente. I rejoiced in one stop health care with a lab on site and an electronic health record portal that is open to patients and family caregivers.
I personally have enjoyed being a KP member these past few years. In addition, I have been very grateful to The Kaiser Permanente Center for Total Health for their hosting of the annual gathering of The Walking Gallery in 2011 and 2012. I love their appreciation of the place of art within wellness. Also, my son Isaac and I marched with other KP members last summer in the DC pride parade and had the best time. (Isaac danced for about a mile of the route)
Most recently KP asked me if I would be willing to represent The Walking Gallery at Artscape Baltimore in their tent on July 18-20, 2014. I happily said yes! Artist Courtney Mazza and I will be painting onsite Friday through Sunday. KP also agreed to host an official gathering of The Walking Gallery in the tent from 4-6 on July 19th. We ask all Walking Gallery members in the area to gather with us. In addition, each evening we will guide 5 artists/future gallery members through the process of painting their own jacket. So if you know anyone who wants to join the gallery onsite in Baltimore, please encourage him or her to come. I find children are especially eager to join onsite or paint a jacket for a parent. (for more information on The Walking Gallery of Healthcare movement see video below)