It Just Keeps Coming Down

It just keeps on coming out of the sky and blanketing everything around.

It's really lovely, though.

Sometimes the sun comes out. Usually that means it's colder than when it's snowing, though. Like this morning it was 3 degrees (-16 C). But sunny.

So I've been making yarn, and knitting a lot.

These two skeins are one ply of llama-shetland and one ply of something colorful. (I got the idea from Mysticleeme, who says the combinations she was getting reminded her of stained glass.) I just made the skein on the left into a hat, and now I'm working the one on the right into another hat.

Stay warm, y'all.


Cats on Tuesday: Isis Kyle

Isis the Imperious

Isis has been fondly dubbed "Largest Thing in the House."

As you can see, she has turned into quite an enormous House Panther.

Here she is on the kitchen table...

...glaring down on us with an imperiousness that is usually reserved for Queen Emma.

Cats Like Roving

Meanwhile, Morgan was voted (only by Mr. O'Kitten, I should add, as I abstained from the polls) Best Cat in the House. I think she got the nomination mainly because she only gets into trouble quietly and stealthily--which Mr. O'Kitten says is only further proof of why she is The Best Cat.

Here she is--not climbing in all the kitchen cabinets, opening upopened bags of cat food, or knocking over houseplants--but rather nesting in the llama-wool roving I was in the process of spinning. Ah, so endearing... [More Morgan below in my egg cooler.]


More Snow Cats and Kvetch of the Day

So it's been snowing, but at least we've had a little sun the past two days, and that's perked me up a bit. Still, it's about 10 degrees (-12 C) out--pretty nippy. Zero with the wind chill. Brrr!

The cats don't seem to care one way or the other. Snow, sun, clouds, warm, cold...it's still all about napping, playing, and two square meals a day with them. That, to me, sounds like the life.

Morgan has taken a liking to my egg cooler when I bring it in for the evening. Cats are weird.

Kvetch of the Day

Medicare cost Mr. O'Kitten and I each $1,122 last year, plus the deductible, and that doesn't cover prescriptions, dental, or eyes.

Not to mention that there's about a 30% co-pay for most doctor visits and other services. and this on the extremely limited income you get from SSDI.

But, if you're like us, that extremely limited income is just a wee bit too much for you to be eligible for Low Income Medicare Part D (prescription coverage). This means that if you want Part D, you have to pay a private health insurance company for it. That would've cost us about $400/month--a solid 25% of our income. I mean--come on! And even then it wouldn't have covered every prescription that we need.

Not to mention that having Part D would've made us ineligible for the prescriptions we currently get through "patient assistance programs" from some of the drug companies. If you're poor and don't have prescription coverage, many drugs are currently available directly from their makers. It's a lot of paperwork, but hey--free meds. This site has a list of most medications and a lot of the forms. It's worth it if you're like us; just do the paperwork and persevere.

So we don't have prescription coverage; we depend on samples from the docs and the Patient Assistance Programs.

Don't get me started on how angry I was when I found out how many millions of dollars Medicare was spending to promote Part D to all the people who didn't know about it or know how to apply for it...we were so close to the line that they could've just taken a small percentage of those marketing dollars and pushed who knows how many of us borderline income types over the line and given us coverage.

But hey, at least we HAVE basic health coverage, for what it's worth. I mean, a *few* doctors still accept Medicare. How many Americans don't have any health coverage at all?

--> Nearly 47 million Americans, or 16 percent of the population, were without health insurance in 2005, the latest government data available.
--> The number of uninsured rose 1.3 million between 2004 and 2005 and has increased by almost 7 million people since 2000.
--> The large majority of the uninsured (80 percent) are native or naturalized citizens.


As for Medicaid...that's another sorry story. Here in Michigan we weren't eligible for that either. As for social services in general, Michigan is pretty lousy, but then again it's in pretty sad condition with its 7.6% unemployment rate (that's a full 1% higher than any other state in the nation, by the way).

Tune in again for more kvetching, whining, griping, bellyaching, and cats...


Another Reason I Don't Go To Wal-Mart

I avoid Wal-Mart for lots of reasons, most of them obvious. But now I have a new one. They advertise inexpensive prescriptions--but this is a LIE! At least it proved to be completely false advertising for us.

Since we're both bipolar, Mr. O'Kitten and I spend a lot of money on meds. (I could go into a whole rant about not being eligible for Low Income Medicare Part D and what a rip-off that scheme is, but I won't--for now.) So last month he decided he wanted to fill a few scripts at Wal-Mart instead of our local IGA (Independent Grocery Store).

I grimaced at the thought. I hate Wal-Mart with a passion.

"But it'll be far cheaper than IGA. Everyone says so," he insisted.

It wasn't far cheaper. In fact, we wound up losing about $50 on the deal. Here's the breakdown if you don't believe me.

Prescription 1 (a name-brand drug, no generic available): IGA price $24.81, Wal-Mart $27.78. We're only out $2.97, but still.

Prescription 2
(a generic): IGA $16.62, Wal-Mart $23.46. We're out $6.84 on this one.

Prescription 3: IGA $16.06, Wal-Mart $55.84. A difference of $39.78! Holy cow. Same script, same strength, same quantity--everything.

So we got--to my mind--totally ripped off for $49.59 by Wal-Mart and their false pretense of "cheaper" prescriptions. (Good thing we had some Christmas money, because that certainly wasn't in our budget.)

Don't go in there--ever.

I'll stick with my IGA--which, by the way, is also competitive with the bigger supermarkets on most things, not to mention ten miles closer. Everyone thinks these huge superstores are so much cheaper--sure, they'll have a "super sale" on milk or crappy hamburger meat to get you in the door, but honestly, compare before you judge. You might just find that your smaller local store has better prices than you think (or than the big chain stores want you to believe).

So they won't have five thousand different types of cereal or eighty-nine brands of Tide. I get vertigo in those big stores anyway. They're soul-suckers.

Think small and buy local.

Steps shyly off of soapbox...

Friday Night Video

I graduated from high school in 1986, so Bowling for Soup's "1985" has a special place in my heart. You've probably heard the song, but if you haven't seen the video, the send-ups of '80s videos are simply terrific.


There and Back Again

I'm not dead, although my long absence may have suggested as much. I always long to hibernate around this time of year. So I'm not exactly dead--just in a halfway shut-down mode, pushing myself rather unwillingly from one day into the next.

Don't get me wrong--I like winter. I especially like snow. But I'm not fond of grey skies and the short hours of daylight. Being bipolar with a tendency toward the low, depressive end of the scale anyway, I usually have a slump in the winter months. I kind of limp along for awhile, then eventually the days get longer and I don't seem to feel quite as horrible.

I'm telling you, I wouldn't wish this depression thing on my worst enemy.

I saw the doc yesterday and he was unwilling to adjust my meds (likely since they seemed to have things relatively stabilized for awhile). His best advice was to get more light (great) and try to keep my hands busy. (Uh, thanks doc.)

In my own defense, there has been spinning and knitting.

Like this lavender merino/tencel I'd been telling you about. Not the most even yarn, but it made lovely wristwarmers for my grandma, who was flown back to Pennsylvania yesterday.

She's been growing ever weaker over the past months, and I haven't been able to visit her (next door at my parents) since we got back from NY, since I caught a bad cold there and was terrified of giving her my germs. (I actually spent the last 4 days in NYC in bed, too, equally paranoid about infecting my father-in-law, who'd just had a kidney removed. Yes, it was that kind of year...)

More spinning.

More snow.

Thanks for all the holiday and New Year's wishes. Let's hope for a 2008 that is a bit better than 2007.