Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Progress, Always Progress...

Well, the shower is in May. Too soon for me! But I knit along and keep on going. 

Played a great game last night. Most knitters have played this game every so often: "Yarn Chicken." Soooooo - I was just about at the end of the first ball of yarn, and thought I could get pretty close. Boy. 

I did. 

As you can see here, this is what I had to work with. I'd just finished the first buttonhole row, and I noticed the working yarn was getting a tad skimpy. But I thought I could squeak out a few more rows. So I went on. And on. And I kept looking at the tail end. And then at the number of stitches I had left. And I wondered if I would make it to the end. Wondered if I'd have to tink back (tink = knit backward = "frog" = "rip it" [note: ribbit, ribbit = frog]). 

It turns out that I didn't have to, but whew! That teeny little tail there, above the needle? That's all that was left of Ball #1. I added Ball #2, and on we go. 

I know it's been a while, so I took a break to write this out. In spite of the Kollage square needles, which usually don't hurt, my hands are hurting. 

I think it's combined with the fact that I type a lot during my day job. Lots. Tons. Even on an ergonomic "natural" keyboard, I'm still typing probably 4 - 6 hours a day total. Not constantly, but a lot, and it takes its toll. 

Anyway, I have 5 more rows till the next buttonhole. I've got a new trick for these buttonholes: I bind off one more stitch, and I cast on one more stitch. It seems to make it more firm, and it seems to not get that little "gap" thing that I had in the last sweater. 

The sweater is coming along, and I think this week, I can make some significant progress. Hat and booties are next, and I have to look at how much of the green yarn will be left. I have some brown superwash, and I might use that as part of the booties, sort of like an accent if I need to. Or maybe I start the hat (or end the hat) with the brown. It'll work; I'd just rather have it all look the same. 

I really have to up my game. Knitting must be in the car so that I can get these projects done. I was waiting on a teacher to discuss a new workshop, and I brought some knitting to the studio. This is the striped socks, using Sole to Sole, and of course, I can't find the printed pattern. It's here. Somewhere. 

I'm thinking about making the Roman Rib socks again, using Opal (again), and doing the Strong Heel. I know - I said it here: "I'll never do THAT again!" 

But -- the "Orthodontic Diet" has been working well, and I've lost about 20 lbs. So I think I can go down to 64 stitches instead of the 72 stitches I was doing. The socks I have are now sort of baggy! 

The Sole to Sole (in the picture) are 64 stitches; we'll see how those work up. The side ribbing goes down the whole leg, apparently to "hold them up." And I'm hoping that the side ribbing doesn't stretch too far. Remember, I've got "biker calves." 

So I have a new knitting project bag. And it's amazing! I got it in exchange for a mug... Hey - barter works! 

It's a lovely "yoga" pattern, which fits, since I'm a yoga teacher and studio owner. 

I can't decide what to put into it yet. The baby stuff will stay in the red bag I always keep baby stuff in. It works for me to keep things consistent. The pattern always stays there, the needles always stay there. It's just convenient because I know that's the "baby bag." 

Easter Goodies...

So I saw these in the Target the other day. Now, since the "Orthodontic Diet," I haven't eaten a lot and I really won't do anything too sticky. It's sad, because truly -- Peeps are one of my favorites. Particularly if you leave them out in the air for 2 or 3 days, so they've got a slight "crunch" to them. It's a thing. I think I might be the only person in my family who eats them - or eats them that way! 

Our Easter celebration will be Palm Sunday, as usual. We're singing for Good Friday, Holy Saturday/Vigil, and Easter Sunday. 

Which brings me to a quandry. Due to circumstances, most of which have to remain confidential, we have a different organist for our Easter services. Of course, the most important services in the Church year. Yes, even moreso than Christmas. 

I'm a little worried. We really don't have a good handle on the music we're singing. I mean - all I know is that I'm doing a chant, and that's cool. I'm ready for that. 

It's the rest of the several services that worry me. It's in God's hands, I guess. And I hope She's got us covered!

Big Pharma, Big Gripe...

I'm very lucky. I have insurance. Hubby's policy has changed over the years, and we're now with a company which pays its CEO an insanely obscene salary. I'm not sure for what. But nonetheless - we're covered. Decently, but not like it was a few years ago. 

This is my seizure med. This is what I pay for the first refill. And I'm lucky this year, because the price dropped by a couple hundred bucks. It's been over $3,000 some years. 

Big Gripe #1: There's no reason this medication needs to cost this much. It's not new. Drug companies have bought and sold our politicians and they're kowtowing to their new corporate overlords, so we kind of get the stinky end of the stick. 

If I could take the generic? My cost would be about $17.00. Yes, SEVENTEEN bucks. 

So there's no end in sight; we don't know what the price will be at any given time. At this point, this drug is the "lobster" in the pharmacy... You know how, in those fancy restaurants, they say "Lobster" and then "market price." So you never really know how much you're paying. 

Big Gripe #2: Because my insurance company's CEO gets that obscene salary (no really, it's obscene... $66.13 million in 2014... and no, I don't know that this is actually correlated, but I can imagine!), I have the "delight" to have to pay a premium every time I refill. Because I'm unable to use the generic. 

And yes, I tried it. And I had break-through seizures. Not a cool thing. Generics, by law, have to be "similar" to the brand name. And "similar" in pharma talk means that often, they're a molecule or two different - maybe a different filler or a different component that works the same but doesn't violate the original patent for the brand name. And my doctor is trying to get me off the drug - we'll see if that works. But for right now? I'm stuck. 

So what this means is that, even though I've made our deductible for this year, I will STILL pay anywhere from $700-800 PER REFILL for the remainder of the year every time I need to refill this medication. Here's the math: I pay the $2439.55 at the beginning of the year. Then for the next 3 refills, I pay (let's round it out) $750/refill. Calculate, kids... 

That's $4,689.55. So let's round up and say $5,000. Five. Thousand. Dollars. And that's WITH insurance. 

Let's do more math... If I did not have insurance, that would be... $9,758.20. Let's round up and say $10,000. Ten. Thousand. Dollars. 

If I had no insurance. 

How can this happen in America? See the paragraph above about our politicians being bought and sold by Big Pharma and other lobbyist groups. 

We are not a Third World country. Yet. But there are great swaths of this country that may as well be. There are people who are still not covered by insurance. Who still have no access to basic health care. Who still die because of ailments that would, in a different community, in a different economy, be treatable and perhaps eliminated. 

The Orange Menace (a/k/a Twitler) tried to kill off the ACA. Thankfully, enough people came to their senses, courtesy of grass roots activism, and over 40 million people were able to keep their coverage. So now, of course, it's the fault of the Dems. Who "wouldn't play nice" and were "not civil." 

(Side note: Why must Dems be civil when they're being stomped on by totally uncivil Republicans?) 

So the ACA stays. For now. We need to get our heads out of our collective rear ends. Universal health care needs to happen. Or expanding Medicare. One of the two is feasible, if we want it bad enough. 

If we're the Christian nation some people claim we are (though we are not now, nor have we EVER been a Christian nation), then why is health care such a verboten topic? Why is health care not a right? Or only a right for the rich. Or the covered?

Random Picture...

We have a Franken-elkie... Quinn had a number of cysts removed, and as you can see, she's pleased. Not. 

Four of them. One of them burst as they were prepping her, and was deep into the muscle - the one along her back. It was, at one point, 4" long, under the skin. The one on her flank, near her tail, was removed, but since she was under anaesthesia, she pooped, and it got infected. There's also another one under her collar, which we've had to wrap, because she's in the Tube of Shame. 

I believe there was another one near her neck, but I can't tell - I'm trying to pet her where she's not shaved. She's a "patch-hound" now. 

Hopefully, this will be the last surgery for a while. Except our poor darling has to go to the doggie dentist, with a problem in her tooth. It doesn't keep her from eating, but we want to take care of it before it gets bad. 

Which is why I'll be working for a long, long time... 

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