Sunday, September 30, 2007


As promised, here it an update on playing glowball in the dark.

This was a first for me. I’ve never played golf at night and just assumed the course would be lit up along with fluorescent balls and other well lighted accessories.

Oh no. I was dreaming.

The balls glowed. The flag on the green glowed. The brightly colored neon strips on my clothes, around my neck, perched on my head and all over my cart…they glowed. The course? Not so much.
Actually, the course was pitch black. We all had a flashlight. That was it for light. Of course, the moon came up, nice and big and bright while we were playing the 9th hole. Did I mention it was a 9 hole tournament?

There’s LOTS of water on this course. I was constantly worried about driving into a lake or a ditch or some other water filled obstacle. As a consequence, my partner walked out in front of the cart holding the flashlight and I drove. I figured if he fell in, I could always stop the cart in time to avoid a dunk myself.
The biggest problem was that we were not overly familiar with the course. We didn’t know all the twists and turns. And in the pitch black night? All tee boxes and greens pretty much looked the same.

I realized as we played along, that the players on the other teams were having a hysterically good time. You could hear their laughter and screams of triumph echoing all around us. You couldn’t SEE them, but you could hear them. We finally decided that nobody could possibly be having that much fun without a little help. When we stumbled across another group, who we found by the glowing rings on their cart, it proved to be quite true. They were imbibing generously and I realized that they probably didn’t CARE if they fell in the water. They would have found it hilarious. I would be willing to bet that we were the only sober players in the large group. That’s probably why we found the whole experience a little scary.
Of course, if a glowing projectile was coming at you in the dark, at least you would have been able to see it, so that’s something. After thinking about that, I decided I wasn’t so worried about getting hit by a ball. Actually, it’s much harder to see a white ball in the sunshine. Once I decided I probably wouldn’t get hit by a ball and we had worked out a system to keep the cart out of the water, we actually relaxed and had a very fun time.

There’s something very cool about hitting your ball and seeing the glowing arc as it heads towards the green. Of course, you only know it’s the green because the flag pole is glowing. When our shots weren’t so straight and the glowing ball headed for the rough, also known as the open desert, then it wasn’t so fun. Driving over the rough uneven ground searching for a glowing green object had an otherworldly feel to it. It was scary. It was exciting. It was actually quite fun.

At one point we heard what sounded like a large pack of coyotes howling and yipping and barking and carrying on. That was a bit nerve wracking. However, we were probably scaring the crap out of them with all our glowing paraphernalia, so who can blame them?

The glowing balls floated so even though we ended up in the water a few times, we were able to rescue our balls. The trick, of course, was not to fall in the water at the edge while trying to reach your ball. As I told my partner, “point the flashlight on the bank, I can SEE the floating, glowing ball. It’s the ground I can’t see!”

By the time we reached the last hole, we were totally into it and having a blast. And I promise our strongest drink was hot chocolate to stave off the cold desert night! It really was only nerve wracking when we first started out. I guess it’s like anything else. Once you get the hang of it, it’s not so bad.

We will so be there come next July and the BIG glowball tournament. This one was just for fun. The July one has big prizes to be won! I can’t wait!!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Spending Spree

I went shopping yesterday and by the time I returned home, I had spent a LOT of money. Bought some new furniture. These are items I’ve been wanting to buy for a long time, but now, with a houseguest coming, I finally got up off my butt and went and did the deed.

I’m very pleased with my purchases. I needed a smallish chair in my family room but a chair that would still be VERY comfortable. I butt tested a vast number of smallish chairs and this is the one that won the prize:

It is very soft leather and surprisingly comfortable and body hugging. I love it.

Then I went crazy and bought a new couch and matching chair for the living room. I clearly have a tendency to lean towards the leather look and recliners, for here’s what I bought for that room:

Both ends of the couch are a recliner, so with two pieces of furniture, I end up with three recliners.

Then finally, The Spouse simply does not have enough room to put all her clothes away neatly, so I bought a new wardrobe and matching dresser. I can’t seem to find a picture of the dresser but it matches the wardrobe and here’s a picture of that:

So all in all, an expensive day, but a day filled with house beautifying. Much fun. I DO love to spend money.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Time Flies When You're Having Fun...And Even When You're Not

Can’t believe a whole week has flown by since I last posted. Where does the time go? It’s been a hectic, busy week at school with all the students starting their volunteer work at seventy hundred different facilities, all of which I have to contact, talk with and approve. I give them an approved list, but that would be too simple. They want to go and find their own place (can’t really blame them) and then I have to do my thing to make sure all is okay. Not bad, just time consuming.

Then our online work has started and even though that means I get to stay home, it doesn’t mean I don’t have to work. It just means I work on my own time, as in, whenever I feel like it. But it still has to get done. So I’ve been wearing my printer out with their essays and blogs as they answer questions and post their volunteer activities. I’m really NOT complaining, just explaining why it’s been a busy time for me and not much writing has been going on. Lots of printing, reading and red pencil work, but not much writing.

The time truly is flying by and our BIG trip is less than two months away. Look out Europe, here we come! I’m mentally making clothing decisions, hunting for some new jeans, figuring out which suitcase is the lightest weight when empty and stashing money like a miser as I try to put away a “pile” of spending money. It’s not easy to keep squeezing those “pennies” out of the budget and still keep all the bills paid and money jingling in my pocket. However, The Spouse is a great earner and I’m a great saver, so we’ll get there.

My Mom is definitely coming. I helped her buy her ticket online today. She handles her email and a little eBay looking online, but planning an itinerary and purchasing airline tickets online are a little out of her realm. She has very wisely (I think) made the decision to come first class. I’m so glad. I hate the idea of her packed into economy class like one of the sardines. This way she’ll have a very comfy seat and lots of pampering. Just what anyone would wish for their Mom.

We are in high gear around here with the cleaning, throwing away, putting away, polishing, washing, sweeping, vacuuming, shopping and trying in all ways to get ready for the parental unit. My Mom couldn’t care less what the house looks like as I know she’s coming to see me, not inspect my house. However, I care, so we’re working like maniacs. We have two weeks to clean up our two years accumulation of crap. (It’s been a couple years since I had house guests for more than a few hours visit) I think we’ll make it. I heard the perfect description of my house today: We’re clean enough to be sanitary and dirty enough to be comfortable. That’s us to a tee. Truth be told, it’s nice to be “forced” to bring our place up to its potential beauty. It’s really a nice house.

I’m scheduled to play glowball next weekend with some friends. In case you don’t know, that’s playing golf at night in the moonlight with fluorescent golf balls. Should be crazy fun. I’ll definitely tell you about it after we play.

Not much else to report. My fur girls are as sweet as ever except I’m ready to put a plug in Meggie’s twat. I’m so tired of the nervous, excitable, submissive peeing. She’s just a high strung and nervous dog and she can’t help it, but that doesn’t make it any less annoying. The two of them are so different, as Lucy is very mellow and laidback and the idea of nervous pissing is something that would never occur to her. I’ll tell you one thing. In the years to come, when I buy my next pup, if I reach out to pet that pup and it dribbles pee, that is absolutely NOT the one I will pick. Live and learn.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Sunday Ramble

I think my Mom’s coming to visit me! Yeah! I’m one of those lucky people who really likes my Mom. She’s one of my best friends. The thought of having her here for an extended visit makes me SO happy. As you may or may not recall from previous posts, Mom now lives with my brother and sister-in-law in what used to be her house. My sibling purchased the home and they are now doing an extensive remodeling job. I don’t think the house “needed” remodeling all that badly, however, I totally understand their need and desire to put their “stamp” on the house. It is no longer the parent’s home or the sibling’s childhood home, it is THEIR home. Nothing says this is MINE like spending a ton of money on it. Of course, my brother’s in the remodeling business so the “itch” to do some of the cool stuff he knows about to his own home is very strong. He remodels some VERY high end homes and he wants to implement some of those fantastic ideas in his own home. Sounds cool to me. I can’t wait to see the finished product.

Anyway, since all this remodeling is underway, my poor Mom is right in the midst of carpenters, painters, plumbers, etc. etc. and to say they are disturbing her normally VERY quiet lifestyle would be a minor understatement. So, hopefully, my Mom is coming here to California to spend a few weeks with me. I say “hopefully” because apparently Mom has not yet agreed to the trip. She wants to come and see me, she just doesn’t want to be told to come and see me. I can never say that I don’t know where I get my stubborn streak from. I, too, do not like being told what to do. Even if it’s the right thing to do. I’ll figure that out. Just don’t tell me I HAVE to do it. Hopefully, she will be here with me in the very near future. I’ll keep you posted.

Since the arrival of the parental unit seems eminent, I am, of course, going into high stress mode about the condition of my house. It seems perfectly fine to us, however, when “company” is coming (and company is anybody who doesn’t live here – even family or especially family) I go slightly crazy with trying to get everything clean and perfect. I am, as has been discussed many times in this blog, basically a slob. That’s why I have a cleaning lady. I don’t LIKE to do housework, and consequently, I don’t. I do what HAS to be done on a day to day basis and our wonderful cleaning lady does the rest. Without her, I hate to think of what my house would look like.

We don’t mind a little dog hair and dirt; we don’t mind wet dogs dripping on the floor; we don’t make beds, it’s a stupid waste of time when you’re just going to get back in them a few hours later; I do the laundry when we run out of underwear; the kitchen is cleaned on a daily basis, not because I’m a neat and tidy person, but because I refuse to have bugs; my desktop hasn’t seen the light of day since the painter’s left; and don’t even get me started on the table by my chair. That particular tabletop definitely hasn’t seen daylight in a good long while.

I guess what I’m basically saying is we’re messy, we’re untidy, we’re not neat, we’re just slobs. BUT we are clean, mostly thanks to the cleaning lady and my disgust at the thought of potential bugs in my kitchen. In my youth, many long years ago, I lived in apartments and fought the roach battle. It’s an impossible battle and one you can’t win in an apartment house. The exterminator comes and they all run through the walls to the next apartment. In a day or two they all come back. So I have a “thing” about roaches and, as a consequence, keep my kitchen very clean.

So, anyway, the toilets are scrubbed, the bathroom sparkles, the kitchen is clean and the dishwasher is run regularly. However, the rest of the house? We’d best not talk about it in great detail. When dear sweet Magdalena comes and cleans us up, I would be embarrassed to tell you how much dog hair she picks up and sweeps up on a weekly basis. Some years back, I had the illusion that short haired dogs did not shed as much as long haired ones. Ha! That’s a joke. They shed just as much, they just shed short hair instead of long hair. My lovely cream colored kitchen floor shows that short brown hair that is all over it to great effect.

We have one of those vacuums where you can see inside the canister and see what you’re picking up. When it’s full, you just snap it off, empty it, and snap it back on. I swear that on a weekly basis Magdalena picks up enough hair to make another dog. Considering how much my dogs swim and knowing that they are bathed and brushed regularly, where in the hell does all that hair come from?? They are truly hair making machines!

Anyway, I spent this morning working on the yard. It’s just as bad as the house (actually worse) as Magdalena doesn’t clean out there. I know that part of the reason that it is such a mess (aside from the fact that we are slobs) is that our backyard is TOTALLY private. It’s a California thing that came down from the Spanish heritage of this region. We have big, thick, 6-7 foot high, solid block walls around our back yards. You can’t see into my yard and I can’t see into yours. It is totally private. (Surely you don’t think I’d be wearing that bathing suit that is comfy but shows all my fat, if my backyard and pool area were not oh-so-private.) Anyway, because nobody ever sees the backyard but us (unless we go crazy and decide to invite people over) the messy tendencies that are going on inside, spill right over into the yard. We also have very little to no rain for the great majority of the year, and extremely mild weather in the norm, so that also tends to make the patio and backyard just an extension of the house. Oh, the mess!!

The backyard is an ongoing project, the cleaning lady comes tomorrow, we’ve all gotten up off our lazy butts and are sorting, cleaning, picking up, putting away and just generally trying to make the place more presentable. We will be seriously busy for the next couple of weeks before she gets here.

Okay, I have to stop writing now. I’m getting dirty looks from The Spouse. If she works, I must work. And God knows we have plenty to do. Off I go……………………

Thursday, September 13, 2007


I read this today about a person who has lost a beloved dog. Of course, I cried and held Bessie in my heart. Author is unknown. I guess one of the reasons it hurts so bad is that I never got to say goodbye. She went into the hospital for a treatment. We expected to pick her up the next day. She died unexpectedly during the night. We got the call in the middle of the night and then, we never saw her again. We took a beloved dog to the vet and we came home with ashes.

So this is where we part, My Friend,
And you'll run on, around the bend,
Gone from sight but not from mind,
New pleasures there you'll surely find.
I will go on, I'll find the strength,
Life measures quality, not its length.
One long embrace before you leave,
Share one last look, before I grieve.
There are others, that much is true,
But they be they and they aren't you.
And I, fair, impartial, or so I thought
Will remember well all you've taught.
Your place I'll hold, you will be missed,
The fur I stroked, the nose I kissed.
And as you go to your final rest,
Take with you this -- I loved you best.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

My Beautiful Pantry

I’m one of those lucky girls who has a large, walk-in pantry. I’m also one of those slobby girls whose pantry is so full of “pantry stuff” that I can hardly get in the door.

However, today was the day. Something didn’t smell good everytime I opened the pantry door, so I figured I better break down and do something about it. I took everything up off the pantry floor, things like cases of pop, Costco sized boxes of brownie mix and cereal, monster bags of rawhide dog chewies (made in the USA), a huge bag of Starbucks, a two foot tall container holding a stack of paper plates, a humongous box of oatmeal, etc. etc. We shop at Costco and Sam’s Club a lot so we have many items that come in unbelievably large packages. With a big pantry and a big freezer, I find it economical to shop in bulk.

When I finally got everything out and piled on the kitchen table, the table top completely disappeared. There was a LOT of stuff in there. Anyway, I digress…..once I got down to rock bottom, I discovered the problem.

A bag of potatoes had been in there just a tad too long and they were heading South fast. I took that bag directly outside and deposited it into the big trash can. Naturally, the trash man came this morning, so that lovely bag of rotting potatoes will sit in the can, in the blazing desert sun for a week. I don’t envy the trash man next week when he opens that lid. For that matter, I don’t envy me when I take more trash out later this week. Geez….

Anyway, once I had everything cleaned out, I discovered that the old, ratty carpet that has been in there since before we bought the house (15 years ago) was in really terrible shape. Need I say it’s been a good while since everything was up off the pantry floor so I could examine the carpet? Not only did it look terrible, this latest bout with the bad potatoes had left it not smelling so special either.

So, I had an idea. You’ll recall the story of laying new carpet in our family room, which you can read about here and here. Well, we had a big chunk of carpet left over from that project and suddenly, in a frenzy of housecleaning efficiency, I ripped the old carpet up off the pantry floor, while making a plan to put some of that leftover, new, lovely, brown carpet into the pantry.

After tearing out the old carpet, I scrubbed the floor with boiling water and Pinesol and then turned Mega Fan on it to dry it out thoroughly. The pantry smelled so fresh and clean!!

Then I dragged out the leftover family room carpet, found some sharp razor box cutters, headed for the patio and started cutting. In truth, The Spouse did most of the work and I am exceptionally pleased with the job she did. We used the old funky carpet as a “pattern” and cut a piece of the new brown carpet to exactly fit the floor of the pantry. Then after the pantry floor was nice and dry, The Spouse laid the new carpet down in there and tucked all the edges in under the baseboards.

It looks gorgeous! And my pantry smells wonderful! Tomorrow, I’ll hit the hardware store and pick up some carpet tape so we can secure the front edge of the carpet right where you enter the pantry. That way we won’t have to worry about any toes getting caught on that edge.

Now, I have to clean off the kitchen table and put all the stuff back in there. But, I don’t mind. The pantry looks like brand new!!

The house cleaning bug doesn’t hit too often, but boy when it does, some wonderful things happen. I’m a happy girl with a clean pantry. Does it get any better?

After re-reading the above, I’ve decided I must have an incredibly boring life. How could anyone possibly be that happy over a new piece of carpet in the floor of the pantry? Good Lord! Clearly my days of partying, clubbing, dating and drinking are far, far in the distant past.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

At L-O-N-G Last, The Fourth Week is Here.....Yeah!

You’ll recall that my classes are taught in a blended format. This means one week in the classroom, one week of online learning, one week in the classroom, one week of online learning, etc. etc. ad infinitum.

This blended format cannot start until the 4th week of classes. We must be there, in person, for those first three weeks. We need to help kids add and drop classes, to make sure everybody understands what we’re doing, to make sure everybody has a syllabus and the right textbook, to make sure they understand the whole “blended” class format.

And the days go slowly rolling by……………

But now, here we are, week 4 of the semester is upon us. I just posted this weeks lessons. Reading, writing, web work. Lots to keep them busy and to help them learn the subject matter.

And me? I’m planning some housework, some yard work and then, maybe a movie later today.

God, I do love the Internet…….

Annoyances in Lab Land

I love my dogs to the point of craziness. I doubt anyone would ever dispute that fact. However, despite my fondness for them, this does not mean I never get annoyed or upset with them.

I have a dog with what is politely termed a “nervous bladder”. What this means, in essence, is when she gets upset she pees. Doesn’t matter where she is, if she is confused, upset, excited, overly happy, distressed or thinks I’m mad at her, she pees. Obviously, this is classic submissive peeing and, I honestly think, this is one of the stupidest things that dogs do. For heaven’s sake, if I’m upset with you, peeing on me or my stuff does not tend to make me happier!!!

I have read endless articles on this subject. They say, more or less, that I have to “build her up”, make her feel confident, give her the strength of character that will help her not be so submissive. They also tell me that part of it is being young and puppyish. They assure me that as she gets older, she will get better. And she has.

However, she is now over a year old and she is quite well trained. But, this very annoying trait, is NOT gone. I took her to school, I trained her, I praise her frequently, she’s become a marvelous, strong swimmer, she “seems” confident and assured of her strength and beauty and smarts. However, the second she is unsure or loses her confidence, here comes the pee.

This morning, I was trying to get her to do something very simple. E.g. to jump up on the bed without going over the sleeping, recumbent form of The Spouse. Jump up on the other side of the bed. She didn’t understand. She got nervous. She got stressed. She peed. Guess where she was?

In my bed. I am not happy.

Anybody got any suggestions??

Monday, September 10, 2007

Blog Beauty

Hey there, check out my new surroundings! Is this a gorgeous layout or what? My very talented niece, Lizzybee, has created the new blog look for me.

As I’m sure you can tell, the beautiful Chocolate Labs in the header are my very own, much loved, girls. Since y’all know me as “Lucy’s Mom”, dear sweet Lucy is front and center. That’s her with the tongue hanging out and her swimming pool in the background.

And, of course, dear Meggie on the right. The sweet little girl who is not so photogenic. However, after 100 different snapshots at numerous different angles and a vast array of locations, we came up with a few good ones. The one we chose is the extreme close-up that shows you those beautiful and intelligent eyes and the still baby aspects of her personality, as she lies there with her tongue sticking out.

And, lastly, I opted to include my sweet and beloved Bessie, who we miss so very much. Not a day goes by that we don’t think of her, miss her and wish she were still here with us. Since she started the whole Chocolate Lab love here at our house, I felt it only right, that she should be up there too, watching over Mom’s blog.

I love the new look and, although I may occasionally change the pictures, I believe the basic design and layout will be here for as long as I’m blogging. I truly love it.

If you’d like the very talented graphic artist, Lizzybee, to help you with YOUR blog, just click
here and stop in for a visit at her blog “Moose on The Loose.” You’ll find her email address in the sidebar. Drop her a line and let her know what you have in mind. I’ll bet she can do it!!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Reporting a Newsworthy But Horrifying Event

Last evening as I was wandering around the Internet reading some of my favorite blogs, I stopped in at Weese’s site. She has become a “Blog Friend”. We read each other’s blogs and correspond occasionally. Since we live on opposite coasts the chances of us ever meeting and becoming “in-person” friends is pretty slim. However, I still follow the events of her life with some regularity just as she follows mine. We seem to have a lot in common.

One of the “ties that bind” is our mutual love of animals and all things four legged. Tonight she wrote about an event that occurred in their lives. A dear friend of theirs is the owner of a very special cat named Gypsy. Their friend, Sue, and her cat Gypsy, seem to have the kind of bond that I share with my animals. The kind of bond that many of us share with our four legged friends; close, loving, they are truly an intimate part of our lives. So reading about this event, truly made the hair on the back of my neck stand up and tears come to my eyes. Here’s what happened in Weese’s own words:

“We try very hard to keep our pets safe. We spend large portions of our income on vet bills, the finest pet food, toys and other accoutrement.We try to keep them from harm by walking our dogs on leashes, building fences and keeping our cats indoors. We make sacrifices so that they will be safe and happy. We coddle out pets.

Our friend Sue is just like that. Sue is a warm, wonderfully sensitive, creative woman and her best pal for these many, many years has been Gypsy. This very special feline cuddled Sue through a difficult divorce. She rejoiced with Sue when they got their new house. She loved to visit, and loved to be tied out on her leash while all we silly lesbians sat around in the yard drinking cool drinks and watching her chase bugs. (Yes, she liked to be tied out with her harness on to get some fresh air... always safe... always within sight).

Then they met with the bizarre and tragic.

This week a chimney company came to cap off the chimney. Unknown to the workers a raccoon was already in there, now sealed in by the cap. While Sue was out that evening, the raccoon gained access to the house... and to Gypsy.

Gypsy did everything she could - and the battle was fierce. Sue came home (thank goodness accompanied by loved friends) to a war zone in her safe and beautiful home.

Vets worked on Gypsy for two days - her injuries were massive. But after her courageous battle - she succumbed to signs of rabies. Yes. Rabies. The raccoon was rabid.

I weep, as I type, for fluffy little Gypsy and our friend Sue”.

The true horror of this story, besides the heartbreak for poor Sue and the tragic and senseless death of Gypsy, is just how very easily this could happen to any one of us.

We leave home for the evening. We lock our beloved fur babies safely in the house. And look what those poor people came home to.

Word to the wise: if you’re planning to have your chimney capped this year, make damn sure you look inside before the chimney is closed up.

J & N – are you listening? With all the remodeling underway, I can easily see capping the fireplace on your list. Just think what precious cargo you leave inside your house everyday.

Everyone give your fur babies an extra hug and kiss tonight.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

"It's Not Covered" And Other Fun Insurance Phrases

I have bad knees. Anybody who knows me, or reads this blog, is aware of this fact. “Bad” is defined as severely arthritic knees with disintegrating bone and wobbly cartridge. They hurt. A lot. I take drugs, bite the bullet, ignore the pain and go on with my life. Do I have a choice?

I have a wonderful rheumatologist. He’s one of the good guys in the doctor world. He cares if I hurt. He tries to do something about it. He encourages me to lose weight in preparation for an eventual knee replacement. He keeps me on a drug regimen that is really helpful for the pain and inflammation. He gives me pain medications with no questions asked.

One of the things he has done for me is to recommend that I have Synvisk injections in my knees. He first recommended this about three years ago. I read up about Synvisk and decided it sounded like a good idea. In brief, the Synvisk replaces the missing synovial fluid in arthritic knees and makes them work better.

I first had a series of Synvisk injections about 3 years ago. The treatment is a series of three shots in each knee, with one week between each shot. The first time I had it done, I was astounded at the improvement in my knees. I could move without pain! I could walk the campus, go on a shopping trip, head for the flea market….all the walking activities I had been avoiding. It was wonderful! Unfortunately, the shots only last anywhere from 6 months to a year, and then, if you choose, you can have it done again. Obviously this can only be done so many times, but as long as it’s working and there are no side effects, why not?

So, about 1½ years ago, I had it done again. Three shots in each knee over a six week period. It worked again. The effects were not quite as long lasting, but it still worked. When the pain started to return a few months ago, I just sort of “bit the bullet” and kept on going. I knew the longer I could go before the next series of shots, the more effective and long lasting the next series was likely to be.

Finally, three weeks ago, in preparation for all the upcoming walking in Europe in November, I started the current series. I’ve had three shots in my right knee so far.

As I prepared to leave the doctor’s office last week, the insurance lady stopped me and asked if I could come into her office so we could talk. In I went and we sat down to chat. It seems that my insurance, good old Blue Shield, is not covering the Synvisk treatments. Much to my astonishment, I learned that they had NEVER covered the shots and the doctor had been writing them off his books as a loss. They never tried to collect from me. (I told you he was one of the good guy doctors.)

However, as I’m now into my third series of shots and they have once again received a denial from Blue Shield, they felt it was time to talk to me. I received the incredible news that these shots cost $517.00 EACH and, since Blue Shield is in a denial mode, they had decided they were going to have to ask me for payment. I can’t believe they haven’t asked me before!

Anyway, to say I am pissed off at Blue Shield would be a minor understatement. I just checked The Spouse’s paystub and we are paying $1,264.80 A MONTH for insurance coverage for the two of us. We have a POS plan and if we stayed within the HMO network, we would have no problem. The doctors in the network would never have recommended Synvisk. However, that’s the whole point of a POS plan (Point of Service). At ANY point of service, you can receive medical care. The only difference is you will have to pay a higher co-pay and satisfy a yearly deductible. (Did I mention that I teach in the healthcare field and that I am, among other things, a former medical biller? These people don’t know who they’re fucking with! I understand health insurance.)

My rheumatologist is not in my network, but that shouldn’t matter in the slightest because of the type of plan that we have. I willingly pay him the higher co-payment on each visit and I have satisfied my yearly deductible through his office and so the plan should just “kick-in” and pay. However, they are denying, not because I’m “Out of Network”, but because they are calling Synvisk a “medication” as opposed to a “treatment” and said medication is not on the approved list of pharmaceuticals. The doctor’s office is filing an appeal and talking to “their agent” at Blue Shield so maybe they will be able to get it straightened out. If not, I will be taking over the problem.

Blue Shield is going to be very sorry if they have to start dealing with me. I will probably be sorry too, for fighting an organization as big as Blue Shield will be daunting. However, I WILL sue them and let them explain their rationale to a judge. I can be such a bitch when I’m right. They are deliberately classifying a “treatment” as a “medication” in order to avoid payment. Synvisk is NOT medication. It is a replacement for the missing synovial fluid in my knees. If they had to replace something else that was missing in or on my body, I wonder if they would try to call that a medication as well? An arm? A leg? A transplant? Etc. etc.

Clearly, these idiots would rather pay thousands and thousands of dollars for major surgery (knee replacement) than pay $3000 every year or so to keep me going in comfort. I wonder where they hire the rocket scientists that make the rules for that company?

Probably from my University……………

Friday, September 7, 2007

No Amount of Help Is Enough

My classroom is a melting pot. Truly. I have more unpronounceable names on my roster than you can imagine. Calling role is so much fun. However, even more challenging than trying to say their name correctly, is calling on students to whom English is a second language. It’s embarrassing if I don’t understand them. I don’t want to stand there saying What? What? But at the same time, I can’t ignore them, I can’t fail to let them present things to the class. I only wish they could speak English more clearly and legibly. I have learned. I let them present. I nod sagely, I smile a lot and sometimes I understand and sometimes I don’t. It’s truly a problem.

But now I seem to face an even bigger problem. My classes are “blended” meaning they are partially in the classroom, partially online. In this day and age, even grammar school kids often know more about computers than I do. Having my students do all kinds of things on the Web has never been a problem. But I’m finding that each semester, as my classes are filled with more and more students from other countries, the level of computer literacy is dropping rapidly.

This year in one of my classes, each student must create a home page. On that home page they must link to a blog where they will do creative writing exercises. They have a choice of making that blog open only for them and me to read, or to leave it open for all to read. It’s their choice. I don’t really care either way. The American students in my class, the ones that had their early childhood education in this country, have performed this simple exercise with the greatest of ease. Many of my foreign students are struggling to an amazing degree. These are COLLEGE students that expect to head out into the American workplace and have a successful career in just a few short years. For many of them their University email address is the first email address they’ve ever had. I truly don’t think they grasp to what degree the computer has taken over American business life and to what degree it must be part of their lives if they are to have successful careers as American executives.

In an effort to help, I have taken my laptop into the classroom and using the overhead projector, I have walked them through setting up a home page, setting up a blog, adding a link, etc. etc. I have made it as plain and simple as I know how and yet, I have homepages with a link that doesn’t work or with a link that connects me to some webpage other than their blog. I have some homepages that are fancy and decorated and colorful and link me right to their blog where they have started writing. But the others? It’s not good.

I don’t know exactly how to help them. I repeat my directions. I answer emails such as this:

hi proffessor (Lucy’s Mom),
this is “joe”,
thank you so much for email me back,
I also created again homepage,
the blog tittle is: XYXYXYXY
the blog address is: XYXYXYXYXY
also I post a sentence such as: "this is test and I am checking to see blog"
I do appriciate check my home page again, and let me know,because I want it to be ready.
thank you so much ,
have a good day.
“joe” :)

“Joe” is so sweet! And he tries so hard! And he so wants to please me! But it is wrong. The homepage is blank, the link doesn’t work and he doesn’t understand. I wrote him back. I once again gave step by step detailed instructions. I await his response.

This is frustration with a capital “F”.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

A Strange Summer Afternoon and Other Things of Note

As hard as this may be to believe, it is raining outside! Not just raining, but pouring, and a short while ago there was lightning and thunder to go along with the rain! I do realize that for all you folks out there who live in “normal” places where you have equal doses of rain and sun, you’re probably wondering…”what the hell’s wrong with that woman? Has she never seen rain?”

Well, here’s the scoop. Remember that old song from the ‘70’s called “It Never Rains in Southern California In The Summertime?” Well, it’s true. It almost never rains in the summertime around here. I haven’t seen rain since sometime last winter and, even then, it was not impressive. We’re in the midst of a long dry spell around these parts.

When the rain started coming down earlier and it hit the metal patio cover with that loud tip-tap, tip-tapping sound, at first I didn’t even know what it was. I was like, “what the hell is that noise?” Then I realized what it was and, with a start, I also realized that we had several things lying in the back yard that should not be out in the rain and off I ran. See, in this part of the world you never think about rain. You just never factor it into your plans. If you decide to have a picnic or a backyard barbecue, it’s not a problem. It won’t rain. The only question is how hot will it be and who’s bringing the beer? Want to go to a ballgame out at Dodger Stadium? Don’t worry about rain gear, just bring the sun screen and a wallet full of money so you can afford the cold drinks. Hankering for an afternoon at the beach? Just jump in the car and take off. Worst problem will be sunburn and sand in the floor of the car. I am totally and completely unused to factoring in the possibility of rain when I make plans. It’s a way of life. The Hollywood Bowl is an open BOWL carved out of the mountains above L.A. and it has no cover folks and they have concerts there all summer long. No one ever gives it a second thought. We don’t get rained out. Not gonna happen.

So, see, this is a very strange afternoon.

If someone had told me that you could do this, I would not have believed them. However, yesterday, I sprained my wrist playing golf. (yes, despite my incredibly busy week, I somehow always find time for a game of golf!) Who the hell sprains their wrist playing golf? Answer: I do. I couldn’t believe it. Somehow, I swung my club the wrong way and suddenly in mid swing, I got this piercing pain in my left wrist. It hurt like hell then, it still hurts today. It is swollen. I have a sprained wrist. Damnedest thing I ever heard of……


I didn’t realize that dogs have the ability to be photogenic, or not, just like people. However, my niece is redesigning my blog for me and as part of the process I am picking out pictures of my dogs to be used in the header. As I am sorting through unbelievable numbers of pictures, I realize that I have almost no bad pictures of Lucy. That is the most photogenic dog I’ve ever seen. She always looks good. My Dad was like that. He never took a bad picture. Always looked good. Now my other dog, Meggie, and the older pictures of Bess, are more bad than good. You know, the kind of pictures only a mother could love. Finding a really excellent picture of Meg, who is extremely cute, has proven to be very challenging. She always seems to look like a dork! I took her out in the yard today and took a couple dozen pictures. One of them is okay. None are spectacular. Since she was there, I also took some snaps of Lucy. They are all good. No doubt about it. Lucy got the photogenic gene.


I won a grant at school that allows me to have a teaching assistant this year. The grant pays the assistant and I get the wonderfulness of having a helper. The grant encourages teachers to be more experimental in their classrooms and I am doing so, however, the experimentation causes a great deal more paperwork, hence the teaching assistant. There were only a limited number of grants and I had to jump through lots of hoops to get this, so I’m very pleased to have won. Other teachers in many different curriculums will be adding these new and challenging requirements to their courses also, but only a few of us are lucky enough to have assistants to help with the extra work. I had to choose my own assistant from our very large student population. I thought of several different students that I know that might fill the bill but when I told them about all the grant requirements in terms of how many hours they must work, meetings they must attend, etc. etc. it came down to just a few that were willing and able. I chose the one I thought would do the best job. Last night I sent her a very complicated assignment that I needed her to do for me. If I had done it myself it would have taken many hours and possibly days to complete. I sent her the assignment late last night. This morning I awoke to find the completed project in my email. It is not only completed, it is perfect. I chose well! Yeah!! She’s going to be a BIG help to me.


I’ve been on the computer most of the day. Setting up a student website, paying all the 1st of the month bills, catching up on my blog reading, cleaning up mountains of email and now, writing this post. My aching wrist and my swollen ankles tell me it’s time to leave the desk and hit the recliner, so off I go.

Until next time…………….