Quote of the day...er...week...umm...hey, look, a quote!!

Tibi gratias agimus quod nihil fumas.

It says "...freedom of...", not "...freedom from...".

"It's amazing to me how many people think that voting to have the government give poor people money is compassion. Helping poor and suffering people is compassion. Voting for our government to use guns to give money to help poor and suffering people is immoral self-righteous bullying laziness. People need to be fed, medicated, educated, clothed, and sheltered, and if we're compassionate we'll help them, but you get no moral credit for forcing other people to do what you think is right. There is great joy in helping people, but no joy in doing it at gunpoint." - Penn Jillette







Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorium






Photo found here and copied entirely without permission but not without respect.



Many of my family have served their country in the various branches. My brother was in the Army, but thankfully got out when yet another gopher hole tried to eat his ankle. Don't ask. My Uncle was in the Air Force, even flying Air Force Two for a while. My Grandfather was in the Coast Guard during World War II. I have a cousin in the Air Force. I believe he flies Airforce somethingorother from time to time. I have a friend who was in the Army during the Vietnam War (conflict, my ass!) - I never once resented the calls at three-o'clock in the morning; nightmares shy away from friendly voices, from reason and reassurance. Another friend was in the Army until it broke his back - literally. He survived, but not his plans for a lifetime in the military - they don't want broken people, no matter how useful or clever they are. Someone's family is jam-packed with folks who've served - mostly Navy, I believe - and deserve some respect and thanks. So...thanks.


For a history of this day, go here. Or here. Or here. In a nutshell, Memorial Day is for remembering the fallen. Veteran's Day is for honoring the living. That's why they get two days, and so they should. Men and women stand up and make targets of themselves to maintain our freedoms every day of the year, so the least we can do is take two days to tell them "Thanks. Thanks for acting against human nature and protecting me and mine. Thanks for losing an arm, a leg, a life so that I don't have to."

It's not about the politics. I'm non-violent. I don't think war is ever a reasonable response to conflict. I don't believe that wars are fought for ideal, but rather for political and/or financial gains. I won't forget, though, that people have laid down their lives so that I may stand on a street corner protesting (I never would) them, or denigrating (never, ever!) them for their service.

Perhaps one day, we won't have any new graves to decorate. Until then, I remember and (as best I can) I honor.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sweet Horribles

She's got a fever.

She's been coughing so hard she vomits.

It's been a week. A cold, the pediatrician said.

She has a whine, a sort of coyote howl/wookie noise. Her voice breaks halfway through, and she somehow manages to make two noises at once, a dissonance that grates our ear bones and drives to our cores. We wince, grumble, cringe, sympathize, try to comfort.

Snot running out of her nose, she can't breathe well, so she doesn't sleep well.

Last night it was sleep for fifteen minutes, get up and rock the baby, get her settled, lie back down, repeat. Hours on end. Finally, she threw up in her crib. Too tired to think straight, I didn't wake Someone and have him hold her while I changed the crib sheets; I just cleaned her up and brought her to bed with us where she slept fitfully and I didn't sleep much at all.

She was hot to the touch. Bad Mama, I don't have a working thermometer, but even when I did I relied as much on the kiss-the-neck method of fever detection as any contraption. Yeah, yeah.

She vomited in her sleep again, coughing and choking as I got her up and caught it in my cover sheet, held her until she was quiet again. Later, we went into the living room so Someone could get some rest. I can lie on the couch with her...mostly. My butt sticks out over the edge and I have to balance myself carefully so I don't fall off but she is safe between me and the back of the couch, and as long as I don't move, she sleeps.

Of course, it is Sunday. A holiday weekend, no less. Of course the pediatrician's office is closed. Of course she does not seem sick enough to warrant an ER visit...yet...so it has been a worrying sort of day. What to do...

Late morning, Someone was up - he finally got a few hours of good rest - and I handed her off for the sake of a shower, of washing spit-up residue and snot and fever heat and sweat off of me, clean for a few minutes any way.

I came out of the bathroom to silence. Cautiously crept into the living room.

Nestled in her Papa's arms, limp and warm, she was asleep. Her cheek rested on his shoulder, his cheek rested on her soft little head. His eyes were closed, just being in the moment. I listened to her breath, soft, wet, rapid, almost panting.

I found the infant's ibuprofen. It helped a little - she drank some juice, ate part of a graham cracker, played a little, napped with me.

I am still debating whether we should drive to the ER. She's limp, listless, more than she's active. This child who runs, plays, babbles, laughs, and cries relentlessly through the day has been still and silent. It's the fever - it takes the fizz out of a body. I hate to use the ER as a doctor's office. If she's not much better by later tonight, I'll make the drive.

I hate it when my kids feel puny. I love it when she takes comfort in us, cuddled up close, wet little breaths rattling across our cheeks.

I need to go get more ibuprofen.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Safari, So Good

I'm feeling a little stressed, these days. Okay, so a little more stressed. I have a week to do the sewing that I would usually try to get done in a month because Someone is heading out of town for ten days on June 4, which means he'll be getting back the day before we have to head out to Illinois for a ten day band gig/gathering.

In that time I may or may not be able to do any sewing because the Evil Genius and Sprout insist on actually being fed from time to time, and they seem to want clean clothing as well. Also, there's the tiny matter of getting the trailer packed and down from Mum's to the Casa, and since the Evil Genius opted out of this trip and is staying with T, I have to get him packed as well. Then there's the pre-cooking for camping, and grocery shopping, and I may have forgotten to line up house/garden minders yet, so there's that, too.

Then, when we get back from Illinois, we will have a few days to do laundry and shop for more groceries before we haul out to Ohio for a show, which is where I'll be trying to sell whatever I managed to sew these next seven days.

Meanwhile, I also have a little once-a-month market to help Mum with while Someone's away, band rehearsals, and did I mention sewing?

So I was trying to get a start on that sewing. I got all the fabric sorted by category and color, made and inventory of what I have and what it'll be turned into, and hauled out the serger to get started.

One serger didn't come back from cleaning/service with the right plug/pedal combination, but luckily it can share the sewing machine's thingy. I don't usually use it since it's the smaller serger of the two I can use. The big serger was ready to go...but then it ran out of thread on one of the loopers. That means re-threading. On a sewing machine, this is no biggie - one thread, one needle, just follow the arrows printed on the machine if you're not familiar with it.

On a serger, though...hoooooie.

There are four threads, two for loopers and two for needles, and gods help you if you don't get them exactly right, in the right order. Talk about some thread-y chaos.

So I tried to re-thread the big serger, but it wasn't having any of me. Ack! Fine, I'll use the small one. Only, I took one of the thread cones from the small one to try and thread the big one, so now I have to re-thread the small one.

In the right order.

I have no manual.

There are four stations for thread cones. Were I designing one of these machines, the thread would go in order from left to right.

I did not design these machines.

An angry person with a grudge against sewers made these machines.

I tried for an hour to get it working, to no avail.

I cried.

I begged for mercy.

I may have offered to sacrificed a cat some M&Ms to it.

Then I realized...there is the Blue Nowhere!

O Great and Powerful Blue Nowhere, I cried, tell me true, in what order does one thread a White Speedylock?

And the Blue Nowhere, in the voice of Jeeves (of whom I ask many things) answered thusly: O confused and tearful woman, it is so - Upper Looper, Lower Looper, Right Needle, Left Needle, and here's a handy diagram to tell you which is which. Now dry your tears and gitter done.

And so I did.

Much serging commenced.

The next day, more serging...until there was a fabric snag, a pull, an ominous CRACK followed by a whinge and buzz that boded no good.

A needle broke.

Okay, okay, we're a big girl, we can handle this.

Umm.

How does one get the needle out?

Apparently I do not know that incantation...must have been out that day at Magical Serger Operation School. Hey, look, there's a screw on the needle holder thingy. Hey, look, here's a screwdriver. One plus one equals...umm...oh.

The needle holder thingy came off, alright. With the needles firmly entrenched in their nests, one sound one, one broken one waiting to get all stab-y with me if I didn't leave it alone.

There are two tiny, wee holes just above the needles. Hey, in my handy, dandy, sewing tools kit there's a sort of thinnish bit of metal that vaguely resembles a hex/Allen wrench if you have good eyes and don't squint too hard at it. Maybe that'll...hey! The needles fell out. Onto the carpet. Near my bare feet.

I need a magnet on a stick, but had to use my eyes instead. Found needles, tossed broken one, rummaged for new one, then...uh-oh...

How far into the needle holder thingy do they go? It has to be right or the thread won't catch or the needles will break. There's no line, not stop, nothing. Aww, dang.

Also, the needles have to go in before the thingy is put back, because otherwise they'll snag on the feed dog. Don't ask.

At this point, I am very happy that my sewing tools kit includes pliers, screwdriver, tiny, wee wrench thing, and a generous stoup of rum.

Needles back in place, silver screw retrieved from carpet, thingy tightened down and...

Oh, dear...

I need to re-thread it. Gulp.

Oh beloved Blue Nowhere....

I have now used a Sharpie marker (blue, of course) to mark the order of threading so I don't have to oil the machine after I've cried all over it again. I've had some more snags but have managed to stop before the looper is pulled into the needles, thus causing more breakage.

I may get one piece finished before next week. Where's that rum?
~~~~~
All of the above to say, thank goodness for iPhones, Safari, and the portable access to the Blue Nowere they provide, or I'd still be in tears!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Yellow

I'm something ob a blue person. You may have noticed my blog's color scheme? No? Take a look around, I'll wait.

See?

A touch blue, yes?

If you met me in real life (and those who do know me will confirm this, I am certain) you may notice a distinct and somewhat monochromatic color scheme to my attire. It may be a wee...erm...blue-ish. Sometimes there may be a touch of green or purple, but almost never red, yellow, or any other warm color. I am distinctly not a brown person, either. I like it fine on other folks, but it's just not for me. For a long time, I even had more than a little blue in my hair. Sigh. I miss that blue...but it was one of the first luxuries to go the way of the Dodo when things got...tight...around here.

When I wear jewelry (and it's rare), I wear silver and blue. Go figure.

It wasn't a conscious thing, this blueing. I have an old photo from my high school days in which I am wearing a brown and rust ensemble that I recall adoring. I have a few shirts that are entirely green, black, or purple, and a collection of t-shirts from my younger days that I keep for the sake of nostalgia. I no longer wear t-shirts of any color, at least not in public. I do have some over-sized t-shirts that I sleep in when we have company or are sleeping somewhere besides Casa de Crazy. I adore my 5X sleepers!

My favorite Morning Glories are the blue ones I planted a few years ago near the stairs. Most of the Iris planted near the mail box are blue or black.

Oddly, Rosie the Mule (my beloved Astro Van) is dark red. Just go to show love is colorblind.

Given the above, you wouldn't think I'd much care for this:

They planted themselves, appearing out of nowhere one year and propagating since. I think there are eight of them, now. I have left that patch of earth alone because I don't want to disturb them. They're the absolute last things I would have planted...but I adore them, so they stay.

Don't hold you breath for me changing my personal color scheme, though...unless you think blue is your hue...

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Bob, Bob, Bobbin' Along

Woot! I finally got off me arse and got Bob the Wonder Computer hooked back up to the house, so I can blog and surf the net on my beloved laptop instead of the perfectly lovely, but not Bob, desktop machine. Yay!

Meanwhile, if you e-mailed, commented, or otherwise communicated with me electronically in the last few months and I haven't responded, I am working on it - I had a backlog of nearly 300 e-mails to go through, and it's taking me a minute.

Bob's old. He's slow. His battery is crapping out and his processor is slow enough to cause log jam whenever I try to navigate from one page to another...but I love him, and I'm delighted to have him back up and running. Now, if only I can get Sprout to give me a few minutes to blog every day, I'll feel golden...at least about blogging!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Baloney Baffles Brains

I'm just going to jump right in, here.

Cassa de Crazy does not have what you could call a household income. Because of that, we have to rely on the benevolence of family and the kindness of strangers for certain things. Things like health care.

In March I received a letter telling me that Sprout's Medicaid was terminated, effective at the end of March, and I should apply for the other low/no-cost coverage.

I called the alternative folks and was told that I could not apply for Sprout until the Medicaid had, in fact, run out, but they would take my information and send me the paperwork so I could be ahead of the game.

No paperwork ever arrived at Casa de Crazy - they sent it to T, because the Evil Genius is/was covered by the alternative, and they added Sprout to that account. More on that in a minute.

I called them again to ask for the paperwork, and was informed that it had been sent. Okay, then.

Fast forward a few weeks, to this morning. Sprout had an appointment for a check-up. Not having valid insurance means paying cash, of which I have none, so I once again called the alternative to find out what was going on.

Here's where it gets fun.

I have to have a letter from T that Sprout is once again in my custody because the alternative had her listed as in HIS custody, even though he is not her father. Hmm. I explained that he's not her father, and never was, hasn't lived with us in three years, and he never had custody of her to begin with. Doesn't matter...I must have a letter from him saying she is in my custody. WTF?? Then I was told I also have to have proof of income. How do I prove no income? I told the bureau-bot to whom I was speaking that we have no income. She curtly told me that I don't qualify for their coverage and should call Medicaid.

But Medicaid told me to call you, I said.

Well, I must have neglected to send them paperwork or something, she told me, because we don't qualify for the alternative and I have to apply for Medicaid, and meanwhile if I ever want to get Sprout on the alternative I will have to have a letter from T (who is not her parent and never had custody of her) that she is back in my household (although she was never gone) and that I am now (although I never wasn't) her primary parent, and he will STILL be considered the primary parent on the account despite the fact that I am and always have been the Evil Genius's custodial parent (for legal purposes, not because there's anything wrong with T) and he isn't Sprout's parent at all, and there's nothing I can do about that unless I want to terminate the account (and thus the Evil Genius's coverage) and reapply entirely. Oh, and they have recently announced that they are limiting or denying overage to new accounts because so many people need low/no-cost healthcare, they can't afford to cover us all.

I called Medicaid and got a long recording about paperwork that doesn't apply to me, and after two-and-one-half minutes of instructions could finally leave a message. They may or may not call me back today.

So I called the doctor's office and explained what was happening, and was told too bad, if there's no insurance we have to pay cash up front, period. They would be willing to cancel our appointment, though.

Sigh.

So now I'm waiting for a call from someone who will likely tell me I didn't send in the right paperwork or whatever (although I DID, in fact, sent in all that was required) and now have to donate a kidney and a rhubarb pie in order to re-process, and meanwhile Sprout escapes the immunizations and the needles that go along with them a little longer, so she's not too sorry about all this.

Y'all, I speak clearly. I don't stutter, mumble, or ramble. I am concise, and intelligent enough to understand what is required and to provide it. I am not confused by the reams or paperwork I have to deal with just to make sure my kids can go to the doctor if they need to. I don't have coverage, myself, and neither does Someone - we are adults and can just deal with whatever comes at us, thank you. Kids are different.

Why is it that I was not told that T was the primary parent? Why didn't the first agent I spoke to TELL ME that he would be listed as Sprout's primary parent as well, especially when I made it clear that she had a different father and a different last name? Why did I give MY address and phone number to these people only to have paperwork sent to T? Why do I have to have a letter from a man who is in NO WAY related to my daughter and has NEVER had custody of her so that I may procure coverage for her?

Argh!

Sigh.

Baloney baffles brains...

If you need me, I'll be in the corner, sucking my thumb and whimpering. Bring me a Mai-Thai, would you?