14 October 2006

Back in the bat cave

Sorry about last night's pity party. As that old Joe Walsh song says "I can't complain, but sometimes I still do."

I mostly wanted an excuse to point out the fact that I am one of the lucky few Americans who has a Hell's Angels HQ a mere three blocks from her house.

I have just one thing to say to the Hell's Angels. No, not "All you weenie bikers suck." That would be ill-advised, I think.

No, I would say "Nice website."

Really. I have seen major corporations with less style and design sense. Rock on, my grungy neighbors.


I went to a women's forum today on economic justice. It was really cool to be with smart, involved women who were passionate about making the world a better place. I covered it for the paper, so I got paid, too. Yee haw.

Jon Goodman spoke on global economics and she (yes, she, Jon) knocked my socks off. Who knew global economics could be fascinating? She really brought economics home and during her talk the scales fell from my eyes.

I saw the light: it really is all about money.

She pointed out that all the news that keeps distracted and in fear is for one thing - to keep us from noticing what is happening to our money. The rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer, and meanwhile we are running around going "Mark Foley emailed a congressional page!! OMG!!"

I started to think of every issue in a monetary way. For instance, abortion. Why is it that abortion isn't legal? Because it is such a handy issue to keep us distracted. Think of all the energy that goes into supporting and opposing legal abortion. Energy that might go into, say, working for clean government if it wasn't being used up waving signs and chanting...hm....

She also said she thinks the only way the US will compete in the global economy is through education, especially in critical thinking, science and math. Turn off the video games and get out those erector sets, kids. (Gosh, I hope someone else remembers erector sets. Otherwise it just sounds dirty.

So all in all an interesting day. It was kind of a dash - I had to get up at 5:30 to let Oskar out to pee, fooled around here a bit, then dropped Goldie off at the folks and was at the conference 40 miles away by 8:30.

At 10:30, I had to drive the 40 miles BACK to take the dog to the vet, because fluid is collecting under her skin where her wounds were. There goes another $211 and they want to see her on Monday, too, probably to put a drain in.

The Goldie saga (and the vet bill) continues. Good thing I love her more than life itself.

Then I went back, finished the story, went to Mr Stapler's house for a few, and came home about 7 pm, totally wiped out.

I spent the evening between home and Jay's, where I hung out with Oskar and watched Project Runway, which Oskar demanded I turn on. He may be a dog, but he is a very fashion-forward dog.

13 October 2006

Thank you for your concern. Not.

I try to be a Good and DecentTM human being. I swear I do. I screw up sometimes. I am lazy. I am a horrible procrastinator (sorry Leah). I am fat. But other than THAT, I do ok, or so I think.

It isn't enough for the people in my life.

Tonight I am in the doghouse with Mr. Stapler for not paying him enough attention. I told my neighbor Jay that I would dogsit his german shorthair pointer Oscar, which means putting the dog in the house at night and letting him out in the morning. Which means I am not at Mr Stapler's. I thought I was being a good neighbor. Apparently I am being a shitty girlfriend.

I am working this weekend because I am totally f***ing broke. Goldie's veterinary needs and my $400 brake job AND my overdue taxes have put me in Top Ramen territory, balefully regarding my double-digit bank balance.

So my mom told me I was working too hard and I was going to get sick and I should be careful.

If I spend a lot of time with Mr Stapler she says the same thing. If I spend time doing other things, she tells me that I need to not neglect Mr Stapler.

Is it any wonder I want to hole up in my little bat cave and eat my organic bananas I grew myself and drink Tanqueray and Tonics while obsessively reading my Bloglines??

Jesus. I wish everyone would quit busting my chops and stop trying to make me feel bad. As I have said before, that is something I am perfectly capable of doing on my own. I do not need any help.

Instead of working or dogsitting, I am going to take some meth or pick up a couple bikers at the local Hells Angels HQ or sing karaoke or do something truly worry-worthy. To make it all worthwhile. (First, I will have to find someone to tell me how one "takes" meth.)

Grab your MOO

I think I mentioned that I got the Moo Mini Cards the other day. They are little cards about half the size of a business card that have a photo on one side and my contact info on the other. I used 30 of the BlogHer Red Stapler photos and they mostly came out beautifully.

I offered them up to anyone who wanted to email me at snackishblog[AT]yahoo.com and I have been sending a few out to nice people like SuperDes, Lori of Avocado8, LadyM, and other fine folks.

I still have cards featuring the following bloghers - claim them if you want them:
Jen of Not Calm dot com
Leah of LeahPeah
Christina of A Mommy Story
Amy of Amalah
Suzanne of CUSS and other Rants
Alice of Finslippy
Heather of Dooce
The Princess of Flooded Lizard Kingdom
Catherine of Her Bad Mother
Izzy of IzzyMom
JenB of Jen and Tonic
Jennster of you guessed it, Jennster
Jes of Drowning in Kids
Jenn Satterwhite (too many Jens!!!) of Mommy Needs Coffee
Kristen of Motherhood Uncensored
The Queen of Spain
Tracey of Sweetney
HeatherB of No Pasa Nada
Roo of Roo the Day
A triple bill of Chase of Taste the World, Karl of Secondhand Tryptophan and Lisa Stone of Surfette and BlogHer.

Offer good while supplies last. Just send me your snailmail and I will try to fulfill your request. We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone. No shirt, no shoes - what, are you blogging naked?

Whew. That was the linkiest post ever.

11 October 2006

The state of the world

I know you're sick of hearing about my boobular drama. I am, too! But on the other hand, do I complain about those endless "OMG my kid's diaper was soooo disgusting this morning" posts that I get to slog through all the time? NOOOOO. So we can call it even.

Abrupt change of subject.

Caution: pontificating ahead

Tracey over at Sweetney is asking some Big Questions about how to deal in this messed-up world:
And though I'm not quite cuckoo enough (yet) to believe I can change the world, I think I need to do something, however small, to stop feeling like a rudderless boat adrift on the violent seas of apparent global insanity. And I know there are many people out there who feel just as I do. People who, like me, read the paper or flick on the TV or turn on NPR and feel wash over them an almost incapacitating mixture of anger and sadness and outrage and disbelief that even Katie Couric's perkiness and obligatory feel-good-story-of-the-day wrap-ups can't quell. Maybe you feel this way, too.
Yes, of course I feel this way, too. I think everyone does, though some are better at denying it.

I have been thinking that one of the wisest things ever written is the Serenity Prayer so popular in 12-Step Groups:
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things
I cannot change,
the courage to change the things
I can
and the wisdom to know the difference.

That simple, seemingly cliche prayer, contains the way out of this mess. After much soul-searching, I believe that the path out of the darkness is through forgiveness. Not just forgiveness of other people and forgiveness of ourselves. Forgiveness of everything. We have to stop being mad at everything for being so screwed up.

Because practically speaking, where is our mad getting us? Where is our sad getting us? Unless our feelings motivate us to act, they don't DO anything for us. It sure feels important to burst into tears at the injustice and the horror and the pain, but once the tears are gone, has anything in the world changed?

Should we stop having feelings? No - impossible. Have feelings, feel them completely, and let them pass by like the weather passes by. And then if we have the courage and the wisdom and the energy, we should act to make things better.

And if we don't? Forgive the badness. Forgive ourselves for not being able to act right now. Forgive the darkness. Let it go for now. Breathe and trust that when the time is right, we will act as positively and as well as we know how.

10 October 2006

Mammary dramarama

The cool thing about all the breastular drama is that, just by sitting on hold and staring at my claims page on the computer screen, I am learning a lot about dealing with health insurers.

The main thing I learned: QUESTION EVERYTHING. Every single claim. Are you listening, readers? (Canadians, French, Norwegians and others from civilized countries, please ignore me).

I saved about $100 in 5 minutes today by questioning my coverage. For my annual gynie exam, which is supposed to be covered at 100%, my doc had coded it "diagnostic" instead of routine. That little check box was going to cause me to be charged $60.49. Nuh-uh. I got the code changed and don't have to pay anything.

And my annual eye exam? They admitted that they would cover $40 even for an out-of-newtwork provider if I mailed them a receipt, something they had neglected to tell me.

Bingo. $100. Next?

I actually have Mir to thank for many of my recent money-saving exploits. I met Mir at BlogHer and was instantly taken by her.

She is so brainy, so funny, and so chic that one can't help but be drawn into her sphere. She loves to shop and she loves to save money.

A half-dozen of us stood like stunned mullets as she described how she bought a fabulous designer bag for something like 1/8 the original cost: she asked for a discount at a retail store where the bag was already marked way down.

We looked at her like she was an alien species. Ask for a discount? At a retail store? Isn't there a law or something?

She gave us her carefree Mir grin and said "Why not?"

Why not indeed. She is an inspiration to penny-pinchers everywhere and I, a formerly full-price bashful shopper, have taken up her banner. The other day I was in a thrift store (Thrift store, people!) buying some pants that were marked $4.

"These are kind of worn," I said. "Can I get a discount?"

I got them for $2. Yee haw. I hope Mir would be proud.

09 October 2006


I spent the greater part of the day on the phone, trying to make sure my boob tests would be done by an in-network provider with my health insurance.

The place my doc sent me for the mammo was not in-network, which they didn't tell me - why would they? Not their job. It wasn't a big deal for the mammo - maybe an extra $30 or so.

But then they whacked me with the 2-boob ultrasound special - I can hardly wait to get THAT bill.

At the time, they are saying "We need to do this right now" and you are in shock at the idea that your boobs might be trying to kill you and who are you to argue?

This weekend, though, I had time to consider that the ultrasound-guided needle biopsy (ON BOTH BREASTS, PEOPLE. BOTH BREASTS!! BECAUSE I AM OBVIOUSLY A MUTANT FREAK, THAT IS WHY) might be...well...kind of expensive. So I checked my coverage and found that I was about to drop an extra $300 or so if I used an out-of-network provider.

Nuh-uh. $300? That's a ticket to Chicago. To see my sis. No way.

So I spent the day on the phone.

The count:
3 places that don't even do the procedure that are on my health plan website as providers
1 place the guy on the health plan's 800 number suggested that wasn't even a diagnostic center, but a doctor's office
1 completely clueless receptionist who had never heard of a needle biopsy
20 minutes on hold
1 time of getting hung up on
2 calls to the health plan
3 checks of health plan website.
Total: Madness

Simple. Easy. No problem.

My question: WTF do sick people do? Because if I already didn't feel good? If I was going through chemo or something? And I had to make these kinds of phone calls? I would be dead by now.

New links at Linkateria

08 October 2006

Sunday fishwrap

I covered a small-town festival on Saturday for the newspaper. This is my kind of weekend assignment. I get to go, walk around, talk to people, eat KettleKorn, and make some money. Could be worse.

They had a parade that was MAYBE half a mile long. It was a mild fall day. At one point, the high school band came to a complete grinding halt in the middle of the parade so they could get watered.

Eager-looking volunteers came out with squirt bottles to give water to each and every band member (holding a nappy under their chins for dribbles) while an overwrought band mom yelled "Don't lock your knees! Everyone bend your knees!"

I understand the compulsion. Everyone wants to be safe and comfy and well-hydrated. Everyone wants a little important job to do like the shouting overwrought band mom.

But crikey. If India and China beat the snot out of us in the world economy, it's going to be this kind of idiocy that does us in. Kids - young, healthy kids - that can't march half a mile without halting a parade to get a drinky?? How did we get so weak?

I feel like a major old geez. "Back in my day, whippersnapper, our band marched for 5 miles in the blazing sun wearing wool uniforms that had never been laundered and 18-inch Shakos while playing John Philip Sousa marches and THEY never needed water! Kids these days!"

In other news of wimpiness, one of my favorite bloggers posted begging people to write letters and sign petitions to end a horror in a foreign country.

One of the commenters said that she should realize that she would get her "name on a list" with activities like that. Again, how freaking weak and impotent do we want to act?

Despite the Bush regime revoking habeas corpus, despite torture now being legal, it still isn't exactly Argentina's dirty war, is it?

And don't you think, on the list of thought crimes, that signing a petition against some tinpot dictator is going to be pretty far down on the list, even assuming that thought criminals are going to start being hauled off in the dark of night?

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing," said Edmund Burke. Right on, brother man. It's no time for wimpiness. No time for timidity. No time to stop for a drink of water.

If you're at a loss for what to do, join Amnesty International or at least sign up for their email alerts. They are one of the most-respected human rights groups in the world, and they have plenty of stuff to work on. If you're interested in a specific topic - women's rights, children's rights, death penalty - they have special campaigns for each.
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