Wednesday, October 30, 2013

It's Not Me -- It's the Dog...

"I can't wait to see you!"

"You make my day!"

"I just love it when you visit."

"Thanks so much for being here; I needed to talk to you."

"The best part of my day is when I can sit here with you."

Yes, I heard all of those comments. And I appreciated them. 

But they weren't for me. They were for Tippi - more exactly, Tippi Un Sigrid, CGC, TDI... you know - the Elkhound who occasionally takes over this blog, though she's been so overwhelmed with her celebrity that lately, she just wants to nap. 

We were at our usual "Tuesdays With Tippi" gig at Lewis University, and I heard those comments and more. Tippi is what I like to call the University's "Furry Flyer" (the school mascot is an aviator). Below is a picture of her in this year's Halloween costume - as a witch. Yes, she really wore the hat most of the visit. Check out her pictures on Facebook... here. You should be able to view her pictures. 

We had lots of visitors yesterday, and she was invited to at least 3 departmental meetings and was asked to "just run around the first floor of the LRC to calm everyone down." Ha - it's a great gig if you can get it. I took lots of pictures, and she really had a good time. Several people (including myself) indicated that when they grew up, they wanted to be Tippi. 

Tippi the Good Witch
Not bad for a rescue dog who had 4 homes prior to her 3rd birthday...And who has become one of my very special "heart dogs." You know the dog. You may have had dogs growing up, and you had dogs in your adult years. And all dogs are lovable. But sometimes, there's this one special dog. The dog IS you. She (in my case, mostly females) sees into your heart, and in spite of the crap you have inside, the way your day has gone, the madness in the world around you -- in spite of all of that, she crawls her furry little self into your heart. You feel like the Grinch after his transformation. You can feel your heart grow and grow and grow.

I am lucky enough to say that in my life, I have had THREE of those dogs. I can't believe how outstandingly fortunate I have been. Tippi didn't replace Topaz or River. She came alongside them. She showed me her soul and asked me for not one thing. Not. One. Thing. She simply is, and somehow, no matter how much garbage she came through, and no matter how horrible I may be feeling, she just is, and because of her, I'm a better person. 

Though I really, REALLY wish she wouldn't bash her butt up against my knitting chair when I'm working on very sharp double-pointed needles! Ouch! She's actually moved my chair an inch or two, depending on how much she wanted my attention.


I decided to change my purse. Good idea, bad execution. I went from a messenger-sized bag to the style known as a "doctor's bag" purse. And of course, there's too much stuff in it. But I managed to cram everything but my phone and keys in there. I'll switch to another one when I get home. Problem is, it needs to be a purse that closes, since we're in a more crummy time of the year. I have a couple very nice purses that only have a flap to close them or they're just a cinch bag. I need something that'll zip closed firmly to keep the wet out. 

It's supposed to bucket rain today, and from the sky out there, it's pretty close. I'll be a drowned rat on my way to the truck.

I should pull out my wool Booga Bag... it's nice and wool is fairly waterproof. Please be nice and follow the request: pattern is for PERSONAL use only... please don't go making these up and selling them. It's not nice and knitting karma will come back and bite you in the circulars...

Yarn & Knitting...

Speaking of Booga Bags, I am so happy to find the pattern!! I have stash yarn somewhere in the closet for this. It's so much fun to knit then felt. Amazing how it turns out. And honestly? Making 5 FEET of I-cord is quite meditative.

I really should be working on the Fluffy Scarf today. I'll get to it. Last night I finally picked up #2 Teal Sock, finished the cuff, and started on the leg. Elizabeth Zimmerman was right: "knit your ribbing till you're sick of it, and that's enough." I was just about over it at the 12th row, which was convenient, since that's what the pattern called for. 

I know; I don't have to follow the pattern. Except this is #2 of a pair. They should be somewhat similar...

I'm wearing the Robin's Egg socks today. Nice and toasty feet. I'm hoping the MadTosh wears well; I heard from my knitting friend D that they don't usually wear as well as a sock yarn like Opal, or something with at least 10% nylon in it. Oh well. Socks wear out. One needs to get over it. 


So now everyone's miffed because "Obama lied" (yawn...) - apparently his comment, which he probably should've confirmed first, about being able to keep your own insurance was premature. 

Let's face one big fat fact: that legislation (a) is NOT health-care reform; (b) IS a very basic run at HEALTH INSURANCE reform; and (c) was probably written in collusion with insurance companies and lobbyists. 

Therefore, you know the insurance companies (who are NOT non-profits, just look at their CEO pay...) will wring every last dollar out of each of us. For example, the CEO of United HealthCare, my provider, made $13.9 MILLION in 2012. 

Let me repeat that. THIRTEEN POINT NINE MILLION dollars. Ok, mind you, only something like $1.3 million of that was ACTUAL money. The rest is stock options.

So, dust off your econ books, and let's look at this. The guy gets paid a certain amount of actual "salary" on the books. But the rest is tied to performance-based bonuses. This means "How well do we treat our STOCKHOLDERS?" This does NOT mean "how well do we treat our INSURED CUSTOMERS?" basically because we cost them money. He gets paid a bigger bonus if WE get less services. 

So. I take a medication for seizures. There is a generic. The insurance company (NOT my doctor!!) changed to a generic for me, because "generic is equivalent." Well. It wasn't. I need the "real" drug. Honestly, do you really want to mess with seizure medicine?? It didn't work. And there's science to back up both issues. Yes, sometimes (most of the time) generics are just fine. But in a certain percentage of people, the generic Does. Not. Work. It's part of my permanent record. 

Well, I have to have my doctor write, each and every year, an appeal. Because the generic is something like $270 per month (so $810 for a 3 month Rx), and the brand name is $1,600 for a 3-month supply. This is certainly sticker shock, but it does get somewhat better.

As you can imagine, it's a whack at our $2,500 in January, I usually pay the whole $1,600 for the refill. After that, for the next several refills, I pay only about $400 per 3-month supply. 

Obviously, let's look at the math. United HealthCare would much rather pay $810 for 3 months of meds. They'd much rather have that money go to their shareholders...they're a BUSINESS. Fact of life, folks. Rule #1 is "Your Insurance Company Does Not Care About Your Health." Keep repeating that. Oh, and they usually get nice fat tax breaks that we civilians won't ever, ever, EVER see. Corporations are people, too, my friend. 

I'm very lucky. My health care is not being cancelled. Some insurance providers ARE cancelling policies and honestly, that stinks. But it's about the money, people. It's not about the ACA - well, not all about the ACA. Look at your premiums and pay attention. I don't know about you, but MY premiums have risen every year. Every. Year. My premiums rose in double-digits. My paycheck only rose in single-digits. 

This article in the Washington Post kind of explains why it seems like it's a no-win argument. It's confusing between the fact that you may be covered, or eligible for Medicare...or you may be covered under your employer's policy. Or you may have to go out into the marketplace.

In my own very humble opinion, employers who kick their employees off their policies are not playing fair with their employees. The company AND the employees should work together to find a good solution. Screwing your employees is just a bad business decision. 

Again, luckily, Hubby's company covers us, and they put out an excellent graphic detailing the options we had and where we needed to go. And Kid #1 figured out that he will spend nearly $200 LESS for insurance on the marketplace instead of taking his company's plan. And Kid #2 has great insurance and doesn't need to change. 

Estate Stuff...

Friday is the closing on the house. I also return my brother's work stuff to his last place of employment. We already gave the car to the one kid (against all advice to the contrary...but it's not my problem any longer). So now, we just wait out the remainder of the claim period, file the Final Accounting, and then we can move to close the Estate. 

It's fast. But the attorney we're using said up-front that he "didn't like them hanging around" and neither do I. I want this done and over with. I've done the bulk of the work, so I've saved some $$$ on attorney fees, I think. 

My mother has made the difficult yet necessary decision to un-invite the 2 kids. Let me explain...

The two kids, half-brother/sister to each other, are not speaking. The girl is living with her grandmother, since her mother had also died a number of years ago. The boy, removed from our family by my brother's X (who said WE were nuts and bad influences) only recently came back after age 18 to "look us up." He has caused nothing but trouble, and while we usually want to take the high road, we are at our wit's end right now. 

The boy is bipolar and schizophrenic. The girl is just a moody 17-year-old. The boy likes to stir things up when he's ON his meds. But we also know that at least twice since my brother's death, he has gone OFF those meds. And his mother, in a fantastical burst of "magical thinking" has told him that "at age 25, your metabolism changes, so you'll no longer need those meds." She heard it on TV.

Anyone with an Internet connection and two brain cells will be able to find out that, particularly in young me, bipolar and schizophrenic behavior tends to blossom at age 25 for whatever reason. BLOSSOM - as in "gets incrementally WORSE." But this kid thinks that on the morning of his 25th birthday, he'll awaken all "normal" and he can go get a gun; he can apply to the police academy; he can get off his meds....

My mother is scared of him. And so, with a heavy heart, she decided that she really didn't want either of them there. She doesn't want or need the drama, and frankly - she knows the rest of us would (a) escort the brats out the door; and (b) then leave. We don't want the drama either. 

Random Picture...

Avon 2-Day Pedometer
This an "oldie but a goodie." From my Bucket List, a desire to walk in the Avon 2-Day Walk for Breast Cancer. I like it better than Komen because the vast majority of the funds stay in the community in which the walk is held. As far as I was able to find out, Komen funds don't necessarily go where I'd like to see them go (treatment of poor patients, under-served areas, etc.) and I like the "local" aspect. I was able, thanks to many kind donations, to meet the fundraising goals, and I walked. 

Mind you, I did not complete it. Right before the walk, I was diagnosed with A-fib. After trying several different meds, 3 emergency stays in the hospital and finally finding a Rx we thought worked, my cardiologist said, "Go ahead, but don't be stupid." I also had a heart monitor on. 

This was only Day One. It was a Saturday. That Sunday, my walking partner S woke up with a screaming migraine, so we went home. And that Monday, I was back in the hospital. 

No, I wasn't stupid. The new Rx wasn't the right one. (sigh) 

Anyway, I do count this as a bucket-list item because I did the walk. I would like to have finished it, but I did what I could. And in life, as long as you've tried and your intention was good, you've succeeded.

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