Month: November 2009

Sorry-ass greedy bastards.

So Grandma’s insurance company, to which she shells out about $230 a month for her prescription policy, has denied coverage for the Oxycontin she takes. The doctor’s office and Mom’s nurses have gone ’round and ’round and ’round with these bastards about the facts that she is 92, addicted, in constant pain, yada yada. They don’t care. Oxy runs to $700 a month, which I shall have to shell out for a month’s worth while we try to shame them into restoring coverage. Every year, twice a year, they do this shit; this is the first time they’ve just cut her off, though. I hate those bastards. Hate them. Despise and loathe them. Wish them constant ass boils for the rest of their lives. The only reason they won’t pay for it is that it’s too expensive. They insist she must have a cheaper (less effective) drug. They know nothing about her situation and couldn’t care less.

Yeah, I’m really wild about having an insurance company in between Grandma and her doctor. I can’t imagine a bureaucrat being anywhere near as bad as this.

My blog’s CSS seems to have repaired itself. Wonder how that happened?

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Butter, sugar and beer

The only thing missing is chocolate! And some of that is in the fridge as well as the chocolate-chip cookie Snaotheus and KrisDi sent home with me. It’s about the size of a manhole cover. The cookie. Big. Yeah.
Turkey Day was great. Fabulous food, good company, food comas, bubbly beer, woo-hoo wine, the whole banananana. Everything had at least a pound of butter and a pound of sugar in it. How can that be anything but wonderful, hmmm?

It was amazing watching KrisDi and her dad, mom and younger brother bounding around in the kitchen. It’s sort of … I can’t think how to describe it, really. It looks very confusing (to this outsider), but everything gets done. Snaotheus says it’s because I’m not a team player. He’s right. I never had any help preparing holiday dinners (excepting the forced veg- and fruit-cutting child labor usually done the night before), so I’d have no idea how to delegate or share holiday-dinner tasks. Likewise, I have no idea how to ease in and do anything useful among a bunch of people who are obviously used to working around each other. Snaotheus also deplored my lack of chaos-management skills. Yeah, well, solitary folks are usually solitary because . . . surprise! we don’t deal well with chaos!

Long drive home (dark, rain, shiny reflective pavement, invisible deep puddles, idiot drivers), not enough sleep, so I’m having a 90-minute IPA and indulging myself. I broke a longstanding rule (dummy, dummy) and went to Jo-Ann’s this a.m. (stoooooopid) to get something I’d wanted for a long time, because it was half price. I knew it would be brutal, but… it was really brutal. I was in line for nearly an hour. Behind me, initially, was an old woman (80s) who told me four times in the space of about two minutes that she was only there to get some mauve silk flowers and a particular color of green leaves. I hoped that she wasn’t out on her own if she couldn’t remember what she’d said any longer than that.

This line wrapped clear across the front of the store, three-quarters of the way down the aisle, and was growing fast. But another line had opened in the frame section, so I went back there. Unfortunately, though I was only third in line, the first woman had completely filled her cart with about 432,000 small objects (think a cart full to overflowing of tennis-ball-sized things); all by herself, she took half an hour to check out. Good grief.

While I was standing there, a young woman walked up, said, “Excuse me,” and started to walk through the line. I backed up to let her go through, and she turned to face forward as if she was cutting into line. I said something really witty, like, “Ummm…” and she bounced away, laughing, and called back, “I’m only fooling!” Yeah. Mmm, maybe not a clever thing to do in a store that’s all line, and all of the points on the line are aggravated and impatient? Wonder if she’s still alive?

By the time I got finished, the entire initial line was gone, and the senile old lady was sitting out front waiting for her ride. Talk about Bad Check-out Line Luck.

I took KrisDi’s little brudder’s poppyseed cake over to Grandma. She was really excited about it, though somebody suggested that the poppyseeds might get under her denture. I told them not to say anything; she might not notice if it didn’t occur to her, but she’d certainly complain otherwise. She wolfed half of it down before they brought her lunch. 😉 I’ll take the cookie over tomorrow and the pumpkin cheesecake on Sunday, so she won’t get confused. 😉

Rob apparently had an adventure trying to get to Grandma’s yesterday. His phone was out so he used the cab company’s web site to book a cab to take him over; but no cab came and after some kerfuffling, he borrowed a phone to call them and they insisted they’d never gotten the booking. They sent a wheelchair van for him and he made it on time, but sounds like a near thing.

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Milestones and ambivalence

Last time Grandma got sick, they sent her to ER and she spent a couple of days in the hospital. This was expressly against the orders in her POLST, which calls for no IVs, no intervention, comfort measures only.

Today, I was at her doc’s with her. We asked Erin about having Grandma sent to hospice rather than the hospital the next time she gets sick or hurts herself (barring a fracture, which is a different kettle of fish). Erin amended the POLST to add that, but once again, it depends on the nurse on duty when it happens. If she doesn’t want to contend with Grandma for the day or two a hospice referral would take, she doesn’t have to.

So this means that the next time Grandma gets sick could be her last. If they send her to hospice, she’ll be given pain meds and made as comfortable as possible, but if she doesn’t get well on her own, she. . . doesn’t. That’s what Grandma wants, but it makes me feel a bit ambivalent and apprehensive. Knowing this is what she wants is different from keeping my hands off and letting it happen, and as little as Grandma now resembles the mother I remember, I still love her to pieces and don’t want lose her.

Nobody’s ever ready to be an orphink.

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Maundering by the subheads

Having spilt cheese soup on my new keyboard and then cleaned it off, lifting the keycaps to do so, I have a functional keyboard, but some of the keys are really stiff, so they don’t always make letters when I hit them. I blame misspellings on that today.

Birthday joys

Snaotheus and KrisDi came up the weekend after my birthday and spoiled me with “Where the Wild Things Are.” It was a pretty good movie, although Snaotheus leaned over halfway through and said, “Mom! You left out a LOT of pages when you read me this book!”

Not a children’s movie, though; too thoughtful and with more subtlety than little kids are going to get. I was happy to see they respected the material (well, Spike Jonze directed) and the story, and they kept intact the choice Max had to make. We also ate lunch at Panda Palace, and KrisDi had baked me a FANTASTIC chocolate cake with a puddingy raspberry center. Yummmmmmm. We got some heavy cream to go on it and…. yummmmmmmmmmm. That KrisDi, she is some magnificent cook! It was great to see them. I always love having the chilluns around.

They also gave me (surprise! surprise!) a replacement knife for the one I accidentally threw down the coulee last summer. 🙂

Grandma’s a film star

An area woman is working on a documentary about old people who adopt older pets through their local animal shelters. She wanted to include Grandma and Princess, so we went over yesterday. Grandma was in relatively good form and enjoyed the attention (so did Princess, but Blue was offended and kept backing up between my knees as if to say, “Well, I don’t want your tacky attention!”). Grandma got to telling a story about Princess, while Maureen the Film Lady filmed. She was having trouble with some sounds and I could tell her bottom denture plate was getting a bit loose. It kind of flapped up and down a little, and the sounds got a bit more garbled.

Finally, in the middle of a sentence, her bottom teeth flew out of her mouth. They plopped in her lap, bounced once, and settled teeth up. Completely unbothered, Grandma looked down at them, picked them up out of her lap, and said, “Well, phooooey.” And continued with her story.

I’m not sure whether to hope that stays in the film or not. 😉

The great ordination. . .

My friend Rilla was ordained an Episcopal priest the other night. She’s been working toward this for two years, getting a master’s in theology after she retired from teaching. Some friends and I went to the ceremony, which was just wonderful. Fairly lengthy service, and the music that was printed in the program didn’t include parts, only melodies, most of which were too high for me, so I had to feel my way through the alto. But very intriguing. Episcopalians have a formal liturgical approach to church (as do Lutherans and the Catholics from which both came), with the congregation replying to things the priest says and punctuating prayers (with things like “Lord, hear our prayer”).

However, rather than the formal, decorous behavior that usually goes with that, these people and the presiding priests were a bit rowdy. The priest who gave the sermon eschewed the podium area entirely, and wandered up and down the center aisle while she spoke. The whole thing was quite intriguing and entertaining. At one point, all the priests went up and down the aisle dipping cedar branches in water and flipping the water all over everyone. And Rilla got to help serve communion and give the benediction, which was awesome.

. . . and how we got there

The other interesting thing about the ordination was how we reached the church. Neither I nor my friend Patti had ever been there. I was driving and she was to bring the directions to the church. It was black as sin out and the wind was typhooning away. I pulled onto the freeway and Patti said, “Uh-oh. The directions are in my car,” which was parked in my driveway. She insisted she could find it and we didn’t need to go back. . . until we got into the town, at which point her confidence waned with each passing street sign.

I told her to get my cell phone out of my purse and call Rilla’s husband. She did so, but said she couldn’t figure out how to turn it on. She handed it to me and I pressed the button. . . and nothing happened. My best guess is the dog sat on my purse, turned the phone on, and the battery ran down. It was one dead electrical device. Of course, Patti’s cell phone was. . . in her car. At my house.

By this time, it was five minutes ’til things were to start. I stopped at a 7-Eleven and started asking people. Nobody had a clue and the church wasn’t listed in the phone book (we didn’t know its name, anyway!). “I know she said it was right by a Lutheran church,” Patti said, and I picked out what looked like the simplest route to a street name she said she also remembered from the directions.

Amazingly enough, it turned out that this store was on the corner of the street we needed to take to get to the street Patti remembered. I drove and drove, and Patti kept saying, “Oh, there’s (insert name) Street! That goes downtown,” which is where she was sure the church was. “Maybe we should turn here!”

“I’m not going down a street when I don’t know where it goes,” I finally said. “This one takes us to the street you said you wanted.” A little way farther (and nowhere near either downtown or the street name she remembered) we saw a Lutheran church, and another church of some kind right after it. It didn’t have an easily visible sign, so I pulled into the drive. People were parked all over, and it turned out to be the right place. We walked in with one full minute to spare before the doin’s started.

Blasted blowhards

We have had no fewer than six major storms go through here this week, one right after the other. These have brought lots of rain, which I don’t mind much except as it erodes my coulee, and horrible winds of up to 70 mph. The 70s were gusts, but the sustained winds were easily in the 40 and 50 mph range. Several nights, I’ve been frightened that my roof would rip right off and I’d wind up in Oz, or worse (like the Yukon or the Northwest Territories). Wind’s coming up again, so I guess we’re in for more.

The weather here is usually so temperate that this is driving all of us insane. I’ve lost power two or three times (the worst was overnight, thank goodness). Northwood gives me a hard time—”You chose to move there!”—but geez, you’d think an entire week of killer winds would satisfy the weather deities. It’s not as if they don’t have an entire rest of the globe to harass.

Goats and sand

I went to see “The Men Who Stare at Goats” yesterday. Parts of it were really funny, though some of the hee-hees may have been generational since the younger people in the audience weren’t getting them. It’s a wacky premise, and it should have been hilarious. It was pretty good, but ‘twould be fine to see it on DVD rather than in the theater. I’m still trying to figure out why it missed being wonderful and was only pretty good. It was quite entertaining, though, to see Ewan McGregor, who is Scottish, using a (pretty good most of the time) American accent.

What I found most intriguing about the movie is that I recognized the landscape: I know that country very well. Much of the movie was shot near where I grew up and at White Sands, NM, and a really bleak area slightly northeast of El Paso. That was fun, though I found it distracting. Maybe the visual conflict of knowing the landscape yet knowing I was supposed to believe it was the Middle East made it less funny for me?

Drop spindles! Sheepsies!

The current new enthusiasm involves drop spindles and sheep hair. I obtained about three pounds of clean but unprepared fleece from a friend, which necessitated the purchase of hand carders (which Grandma generously provided for my Christmas present). A young knitting friend and I plan to get together over our December “vacations” (she’s off work now and I’ll have the last three weeks of the year off, but pointlessly, since I get no pay for them) to learn how to card the wool, make rolags, and prepare them for spinning.

Then, we intend to make our own drop spindles and learn to spin the fiber, as well as figuring out how to spin on the wheel I’ve borrowed. We’re bright. We can do this.

Drop spindles are amazing. They are descended directly from the tools used by very early people, right up through the advent of mechanical spinning equipment in the 1800s, to spin thread and yarn from plant and animal fibers. They (and spinning wheels) have been resurrected in the last half or maybe three-quarters of a century or so. Talk about good design: The basic structure hasn’t changed in thousands of years. The spindle is simple, small, portable and does its job well. I found tons of stuff in my Lifetime Accumulation of Amalgamated Art Supplies today that we can use to build them, and consulted with both Northwood and Snaotheus regarding how to find the center of mass, which may be somewhat different from the geometric center, depending on the material and its shape and uniformity.

I took the stuff over to show Grandma. She was speechless. She seemed to have trouble wrapping her mind around a tool that was thousands of years old and had survived pretty much unchanged through all that time (um, can we say “hammer”?). I showed her how the fiber hooked onto the spindle and how the twisting turned it into yarn (and it worked! It worked!). She got quite a kick out of that.

Family incommuni—what?

One of the conclusions I’ve come to lately is that cell phones are bad for family communication (at least when additions are considered). Since KrisDi and Snaotheus (and Rick and Jen) have a cell phone apiece, but no land line, neither of the women ever answers the phone. Therefore, I don’t get to chat with them unless I specifically call their phones. It seems weird to make two calls to chat with different members of the family who are in the same place. OK, maybe it’s just me. Er, I.

Th-th-that’s all, folks!

Good movies I’ve watched on Netflix Instant lately: “The Commitments,” “Network,” “Blow Dry,” “Nice Guys Sleep Alone,” and the original “Hairspray.” I’m gonna go find a good British comedy and watch it now. Bye-bye!

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Alexander? Are you nearby?

These are not being a particularly beneficent collection of days. I learned yesterday that my cousin Neil, four years older than I, died . . . on my birthday. Knowing him, he probably planned it that way, just so he could chuckle at me from Beyond. I knew he was sick, but he sounded so positive about it that I didn’t think he was that sick. I must call his brother, my other cousin, and his wife, my cousin-in-law, but it’s a bit late since they’re on Central Time so I’ll wait until it’s a decent hour their time tomorrow.

My head was completely stuffed with cotton wool yesterday, like Winnie the Pooh. I couldn’t think or reason or remember anything. It was terribly disheartening and annoying. I should have pestered the goddess Anoia and perhaps she would have had pity on  me. Of course, it started to clear up shortly before bedtime, which meant that I was awake half the night. . .

I am having Dubliner cheddar on toasted baguette with Double Bastard for dinner. It’s part of my Mild Rebellion Program, which has arisen because of Anoia’s supremacy yesterday and today, and the fact that I haven’t been able to work out for three days. I intended to walk the dog (hard) this afternoon, but a friend needed chauffering so he could get errands run before heading off, unhappily, to visit his daughter/s and grandsons late tonight. By the time we got to the park, it was 5 p.m. and dead dark.

I can do stupid things, but walking on a rocky uphill trail solitarily in the dark, when no one but coyotes and the resident bobcat will show up until morning, is not one of them. I did let her run in the fenced area for a while and rushed back and forth on the gravel path. Didn’t do much good. :grumble:

So now I am watching the second half of “Faith,” finishing my Double Bastard (which is a heck of a lot of beer for a lightweight in the “boozer” category, frankly), and getting ready to start on the requisite 6″ of prayer shawl I must get knitted tonight to keep up with the schedule to have it finished by the time my friend Rilla’s ordination ceremony occurs in… about 10 days. Ack, ack.

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Archive gorging

Not that I’d want to pass along something that would suck away your time, but. . .

Girl Genius is preeeety good.

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*&%#@$ ^#&*@$@ (@*$!!!!!

The one, single, solitary, lone, unaccompanied, unreplicated night of the entire freaking year that I can legitimately get an extra hour of sleep—the autumnal version of the biannual time-change day—and not only did I not get that extra hour, but I managed to short myself a second hour as well. I blame this on Grandma. I was talking to her about setting her watch back and she confused me to such an extent that I set mine forward an hour.

When I got to Grandma’s for brunch this morning, nobody was there. I mean nobody—the halls were empty, the nurses’ station unoccupied, the front desk neglected. Six or eight old people sat by the dining room, complaining that breakfast wasn’t ready. I peeked inside the dining room and nobody was in there, either. Nor were the buffet tables set up, the eating tables prepared—zilch, zilch, zilch. Went up to Grandma’s and lo, discovered I’d gotten there at a quarter to eight, not a quarter to nine, which meant I’d gotten out of bed at SEVEN-FREAKING-FIFTEEN. On a SUNDAY MORNING. I am one seriously aggravated old hag.

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