Sunday, March 23, 2008

Crawling Out From Under My Rock . . . Is It Spring Yet?

I can only assume that no one is reading this any longer. But that's okay, cuz I've been pretty much chattering away to myself anyway, plus anyone who enjoys listening in. :)

BTW, U.S. presidential race: I support Barack Obama.

What have I been doing instead of blogging, updating the Market List, or much of anything else? I've been working! Working, working, working! And working some more! I'm really pleased that my clients are pleased with my performance and keep giving me more work. My next challenge will be to make sure I don't take on so much work that I can't edit to a high level of thoroughness and get assignments done on time. The last few months, I've been getting it done, but I've been pushing my limits, too. And, of course, I've had no time for writing fiction. Or exercise. Or housework. Or . . . However, it is good for my bank account.

BTW, health insurance: Our whole system is feckin' fecked up. I decided to drop my coverage from my former employer (COBRA) at year-end because it was going to cost way more than we would ever get out of it. I tried to find individual coverage that would cover our prescriptions (Doug and I happen to take the same medication to manage long-term conditions.) Could only find one plan that would cover this drug, and it would do so only with prodding. Applied there and were denied: too sick, too fat. Never mind that Doug works out intensely every single day and I had been working out regularly. Never mind that except for our known conditions -- and I know what those cost, and it's nowhere near what our premiums would have been -- we seem very healthy and take good care of ourselves to stay that way. So after much research, I decided we should just keep our fixed costs (premiums) as low as possible and count on paying out of pocket for everything -- that's actually cheaper than getting a policy that would be of any use. So with a super-high deductible and super-low premiums, we're just paying as we go. I'm just now fighting to fill a prescription: because my insurance doesn't cover it, no one wants to fill it -- even though I'm willing and able to pay!!! My doctor has said I should have this drug, and I can pay for it. Therefore, the insurance company should have nothing to do with it, right? Furthermore, I've seen an awful lot of my health care dollars at work -- without any good results for my health, all in bureaucracy.

BTW, is it spring yet? We've got a few inches of snow on the ground. The birds who come to the feeder aren't acting springlike yet. (Speaking of the birds: A few dark-eyed juncos stayed all winter. I just checked their range, and I guess they do winter here, but I've never seen them before except as through-migrants.)

I have set aside some time for fun. I had a break in my workload that synced perfectly with MarsCon first weekend of March. I was on a couple of panels, got a henna "tattoo," learned some bellydancing moves, entered a creative trance, enjoyed cucumber sandwiches and amazing cookies with tea in the Tardus Tearoom while watching Season 1 Dr. Who, and bought some great-looking books in the dealers' room. Best of all was hanging out with all the friends I only see at cons and feeling at one with the general geekdom. :-)

I've also set aside some time to play with my aquaria. Fishies!!! They say, "Bloop." That's what they say! New legless friends include an utterly adorable Burmese border loach (I got three, but two didn't make it. I'll get a couple more -- loaches like each other's company), a couple of very cute little Siamese algae eaters (they're growing!), and four more glowlight tetras (making a total of eight). I also got a male betta (red) to be a solo occupant of my 20-gallon tank, but he quickly got ich (an external parasite) and then a bacterial infection and fought hard but didn't survive the diseases and/or treatments. I'm definitely going to try bettas again, though, because when he was healthy, he was adorable -- I'd wiggle my finger in the water, and he'd come right up to it to get fed. I lost one of my two "mystery" tetras (I have no idea of genus/species.). I'm pretty sure someone bit off his tail and osmotic shock eventually got him, and I'm pretty sure it was Mr./Ms. Loach. Meanie loach! Not to be a nippy fish! My next project with the the 50-gallon tank will be to start changing out substrate from gravel, which can be hard on the loach's barbels as he roots for snails, to sand/soil. That's better for plant growth, too. (Oh yeah, I'd had a Malaysian trumpet snail problem -- they were everywhere -- but after a few days with the loach, couldn't find one anywhere!)