Friday, November 30, 2007

Wow!! Really??????

It's been a week since I posted? I hadn't realized it had been that long. This week has been amazingly busy and has gone by SO fast!

We had rehearsal three nights this week, and had a bit of a scare. The boy who is my 'son,' didn't show up for rehearsal one night. Everyone was trying to get hold of him, his mother was calling everyone she knew. He had supposedly left school at 4 and that was the last time anyone had seen him. We were all worried sick. But, thank goodness, it turns out he didn't have his phone, and had been waiting for his mother to come pick him up AT school! He waited for HOURS, the poor kid-- and Mom didn't know he was expecting her to pick him up!

So, all's well that ends well, but a sleepless night in there!

FINALLY, got someone who I think is trustworthy to look at the roof, and they will begin soon to fix it. Decided to replace the whole thing, because we don't know how old it is, and if it's the original roof, it's close to 20 years old, so I might was well replace it anyway. Can't start for several weeks, though, which is getting us close to Christmas and bad weather (supposed to even maybe have some snow this weekend, plus rain. ::SIGH::). Anyway, he's going to try to rush it, maybe put it ahead of a few people whose roofs AREN'T leaking. I hope he can!!!!

We've got some state officials coming to the school next week. ACK!!! So, I've got a lot of stuff home to work on this weekend. REALLY need to make sure things are up to snuff. Also had to work with a new teacher this week, to show her the ropes, so I've just been overwhelmed. And I don't see it getting any better until after Christmas!!

I am hoping we can get some Christmas decorating done this weekend, and maybe I'll feel more in the Christmas spirit! :) Gonna watch some of those holiday movies on Hallmark Channel, too. I DO love the tree and the lights, and having a fire in the fireplace while just the holiday lights are on! :) And the Advent Wreath really makes me stop and think about the whole Christmas season, which always centers me.

I will work on updating my 365 list this weekend, too... I'm a bit behind, I know.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Countdown Has Begun.....

I actually wasn't all that excited about Christmas this year... I don't know why, I'm just feeling stressed right now, and not much in a holiday mood. Money is tight, don't really have time to do a lot of shopping.... I HATE feeling like a Scrooge!

But, I have to admit that the Christmas music in the grocery store, the Christmas movies on Lifetime (the 'countdown to the 25 days of Christmas? What is THAT all about???? You're ALREADY showing Christmas movies!), and a radio station link I got from Rosie O'Donnell's blog have kinda started me feeling kinda Christmasy. This radio station is playin 24/7 Christmas music, so you can 'tune in' when you feel Christmasy and turn it off when you've had enough.

Adventures in Verizonland......

I went to the Verizon store today to have my contact info and photos transferred from the old phone to the new phone. As I walk in, 3 guys are walking out. The girl working there (alone) starts looking at something and then walks quickly to the door-- she then walks even more quickly to the back room. Seems that those three guys stole a Blackberry PDA phone she had been showing them. Also turns out they had stolen things from her before at another job (and, most likely, from lots of other people as well), and she caught a glimpse of them running behind the shopping center up to some apartments behind it. Apartments that are not known for being a 'good' place to be, if you know what I mean. And there is no way ANYONE should be working alone, I don't care where you are.

Security is called (but arrive before they are notified, which was interesting-- they got a phone call as they were standing there, telling them to go there). She also called her boss and the police, who were presumably coming soon.

Anyway, she did, although a bit shook up, manage to transfer my contacts to the new phone fairly quickly. Now, I just have to figure out how not to lose my photos, 'cause I'll be very upset if I do, and I only have a few days to get the old phone back to Verizon before they charge me. She gave me a Verizon web address, but I'm wondering how much money it will cost me to 'send' my pics there!

I can't figure out how to use the usb cable I spent $40 for to download them, either... ::SIGH::

Anyway, very weird... and I really didn't pay much attention to them as they walked out, and only saw them for a couple of seconds, so I have no idea what they look like. She has a good idea who they are, though-- and, they, most likely, are already in jail. I mean, seriously, how stupid can you be? If they activate the phone, it will lead the police directly TO them, and if they sell it and the person who buys it activates it, it will lead the police directly to THAT person... and my guess? They are not going to go to jail for someone else.

Otherwise, it has been a pretty nice, relaxing weekend so far, overall... gotta work on my lines this afternoon, for sure! Do a little bit of cleaning, and maybe watch some "Psych" that L. left for me. I haven't seen much of it, but what I've seen has been REALLY funny!!!

Also went to the grocery, but DAG, it's COLD out there!! Don't want to spend any more time out there than necessary!!! And took some winter coats to a dry cleaner that's close by. They DESPERATELY need cleaning.... $16/coat, and they won't be ready 'til Friday. Don't think I'll be going back there again! But, hey, I was already there, it's close and I was feeling lazy!

Friday, November 23, 2007

14/365 -- Mrs. Guard

6th grade... I get to be her assistant. Help her grade papers, whatever she needs. Kind, caring, amazing teacher!! Another reason I became a teacher-- to be as good as she was! Hope I helped with the work overload!

13/365 -- Mrs. Hall

First grade teacher. Forcing my sister not to use her left hand. Mother, furious. Two years later, I am in her class. Good thing I already knew how to read! One of the reasons I became a teacher-- to be better.

12/365 -- A stranger

Waffle House. Paula and I, stopping on the way to Hebrew class, enjoying breakfast. Wonderful 'neighbors,' a really nice conversation. A random act of kindness-- "The bill has been paid." I do my best to try to pay it forward.

11/365 -- Aunt Ruth

Sis's namesake. Kind and giving. Stayed on the farm to care for her father. Giving up Harry, finding him many years later. I wore my favorite blue dress to your wedding, and was so happy. Only a few years together.

10/365 -- Traci N

The person who hired me. Who'd have thought it would turn into 12 years??? Blond hair, a bit harried (too much going on, the school year starting). "Hello. How are you? Can you start Tuesday? Here's your assignment." Thanks, Traci!


Can I sleep now??? PLEASE?????????????????

After Tuesday night rehearsal (and photo call), aided by yet ANOTHER major accident that had ALL of the roads blocked (1 mile took about 30 minutes... I finally gave up and turned around), causing many people to be late to rehearsal, and a very LATE rehearsal after photo call, I faced Wednesday.

Last day before Thanksgiving. Just EXHAUSTING. Kids all wound up, trying to teach anything almost impossible.

Then I came home and started cooking. Cooked until about 12 am (after making a trip to the grocery store for pie crusts, which I had forgotten). I thought the grocery store was full on Sunday!! That was NOTHING compared to Wednesday night! And it seemed like everyone there was doing ALL of their Thanksgiving grocery shopping on Wednesday night!! YIKES!! So, after waiting forever just for two lousy pie crusts, I came back home and continued cooking. By the time the pies were cooked and then allowed to cool, it was way after 12 and I tumbled off to bed. And my oven is now going to need to be cleaned because the pies, while they turned out wonderfully, managed to boil over and/or spill out of the DEEP DISH pie crusts in which I placed them, leaving nice burned spots on my oven. I tried to clean up the spill on the door, but quickly gave up-- it was WAY too hot to touch even with a wet cloth. It'll just have to burn on and be cleaned off!!

Table was set (well, as set as it CAN be with two cats-- table cloth on, and china washed and stacked on the table under cloths to protect it from little cat paws just in case, and cat hair). D, the cat, decided she wanted to taste the sweetened condensed milk, and it was interesting keeping her away from it while mixing!!! She had already decided that the aluminum roasting pan I was GOING to use made a great sleeping place-- so I ended up having to use the metal roasting pan I have, but didn't want to clean!

Anyway, so, turkey was thawed, eggs boiled for deviled eggs, pies made, cole slaw, cherry salad made.

Next morning, up early and the whole morning was spent cleaning-- the downstairs was not in great shape, so it took a bit of cleaning, plus both the bathrooms had to be presentable for company. WHEW!!

Turkey went in at 11, although the top rack was too low, really-- I thought it would fit, but it was already hot when I put the turkey in, so I thought I would just deal.. except that the top started browning almost immediately, so I needed to put aluminum foil over the turkey-- NOT going to happen with the top rack in the way. So, I grabbed the potholders and took out the top rack, and put it on top of the stove to cool-- burning my arm when it flipped back. ::SIGH:: But, hey, I could now baste and cover the turkey!!!!! And, the lovely burned spots from the pies are making the smoke alarms give off a LOVELY high-pitched squeal!! Fortunately, it was warm enough that I could open the doors and let the smoke out....

Meanwhile, I'm fixing the mashed potatoes, dressing, corn and gravy, and making the deviled eggs. The turkey took (as always) longer than it's supposed to to cook, but that was okay, because I put it in a little early to give it time to cool when it was done. People brought salad, drinks, rolls, other vegetable dishes, so we were not short of food, that's for sure!!

We had a wonderful time eating and talking, and when people went to get leftovers to take home, I discovered I had forgotten to put out the cherry salad, so it went home as leftovers!! I was absolutely exhausted, so it was nice to be able to sit and relax for a while when everyone was gone. But it was a lot of fun! I did not even bother to TRY to start washing dishes, because most of them have to be washed by hand, and I was NOT up to it last night.

And, S., the other cat, who usually will try to grab anything you have to eat, just LAY there when I tried to give them a bit of turkey! I gave some to D., who after a minute of checking it out, not sure what this strange thing was, gobbled it down and quickly asked for more. S., who usually doesn't allow the other one to get ANYTHING that SHE doesn't get, didn't even bat an eyelash. Just lay there in the dining room and watched. I called her, showed her, told her-- nope. "YOU bring the food to ME... I AM, after all, mistress of the house!" No WAY! You want it, you gotta come into the kitchen to get it. Regal swish of tail in reply. So, D. got two pieces of turkey for Thanksgiving. S., for once, doesn't seem to mind. She doesn't like turkey??????

Did have to call the plumber this morning because someone stopped up the toilet-- ARGH!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh, well, c'est la vie. At least there was one who could come out today, thank goodness-- although they charge an arm and a leg!!!!!!!

Didn't sleep late this morning, too much to do, and I was still a wound up. Did get the kitchen all cleaned up this morning, dishes washed, the dishwasher run (HOW did we use so many utensils????????), and the house more or less restored to order-- in fact, better order than it was before they came (good thing about having company-- gives you REAL incentive to clean up).

Called the plumber, of course, who charge HUGE bucks for a 10-minute job... but it was worth it.. it was NOT fun having to go down two floors to use the restroom!

They had sent my replacement phone, which I got on Wednesday, but of course, hadn't even LOOKED at until today. Got it programmed, activated and about as set up as I can.... I have been told that I should go to Verizon's store and they will transfer all my stuff from the old one to this one. I hope so, will try to maybe deal with that tomorrow.

I'm not sure I like this one, the numbers are more firm (which in most cases is a good thing), but the 7 seems hard to push and doesn't always respond... you sometimes have to hit it 2 or three times to get it to work. Well, I'll give it a few days, and we'll see. I have to get the old one in the mail back to them or they'll charge me 'full retail.' Which is why I hope that Verizon will transfer all my stuff, because it's going to be a royal pain to try to do it all by hand-- and I still don't have any way to get my photos off.

I REALLY would like to go with T-Mobile next time, but then I wouldn't be able to talk to my sis or mom as much (it would cost them minutes), so we'll see.

J. had to work this morning, so she didn't take leftovers home with her last night. She just called and is planning to stop by in a few minutes to get some (I don't know how much is left-- I'll have to go see!).

Talked to Mom and her neighbor who had invited her for Thanksgiving dinner brought her a huge plate full of food when she begged off. Had told K. that she wasn't feeling well, so K. brought dinner to her, which I thought was very nice.

I want to know WHO the heck was out shopping in the middle of the night last night?? Apparently, it was half the free world!! I cannot think of ANYTHING I need that badly. I wasn't even about to go out today-- the radio was giving 'parking lot reports' this morning-- how full this lot is and that lot, and you might as well forget this store for right now, and in Boston there were MILES of backups to get to the stores at TWO IN THE MORNING!!!!!! I can only shake my head. All I wanted to do was SLEEP!!!

Oh, well, that was my Thanksgiving.... how was YOURS? :)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Update on Chocolate

Of course, since the time I took it to them when it wouldn't come back on, and she finally (after about 10 minutes) got it back on, there have been no problems with it! Figure, huh? They tried to deliver the 'new' one today. We'll see what it looks like and how it works. I am just REALLY dreading having to try to transfer my pics and contacts, especially since they don't send a new battery......

Monday, November 19, 2007

9/365 -- Uncle Ben

From Lithuania-- Latvia? I never could remember. Escape from Europe-- no words about WWII, ever. Creative, kind, comforting. One of the best jewelry designers I've ever seen. Baby rings for all of his girls. Sunday afternoons, spent listening and talking.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

LG Chocolate Phone

My phone ( a Strawberry Chocolate) has been great. I've had it since April.... until the last couple of weeks. It suddenly started shutting off randomly. At first, I thought it might have something to do with the Bluetooth headset (although I've been using that for months with no problems). It always came right back on, though. Until today. Even though the battery was at 3 bars (and had been at 4 before when it shut off), it shut off today and refused to come back on.

I took the battery out and put it back in, put it on the charger... charger said, "Fully charged." When plugged in, it would come on. Would go off just as soon as it was unplugged, though the battery was supposedly fully charged. Took it to the Verizon store, and they checked moisture (nope). Was told that they would send me a refurbished one, which really annoys me. I bought a NEW one a few months ago, and I know that they're going to take this one and 'fix' it and send it to someone ELSE as a refurbished one. I don't want someone else's problems!

Furthermore, the main reason I bought it was because I wanted to be able to use my own music as ringtones, as almost everyone I know can. Turns out Verizon intentionally crippled that feature so that the ONLY ringtones you can add are those you download from THEM, and I'm sure the Chocolate isn't the only phone they did that on. Furthermore, you can't even add music to it (which is one of the selling points) without buying the $40 extra "Music" accessory pack. AND, I couldn't use my old headset because they have a proprietary connection-- you have to buy it from them... and theirs is VERY uncomfortable, which is why I went out and spent MORE money on a bluetooth headset-- which I should at least be able to use on future phones. I should have taken it back right then, except that I really liked the phone itself.

So, now, I thought I was out of luck for two days, because the refurbished one won't be here until Tuesday, and I won't be around to get it (so it may be even longer, if I have to go pick it up). Anyway, the girl at the store got it turned on again. However, though it had been 'fully charged' just a few minutes before and had been OFF, when she got it back on, it said it was only half charged.

Since this happened, I have done some looking on the internet, and I find that this is a VERY common complaint with the Chocolate phones (random shutting off), along with the screen suddenly going white. I NEED my phone for work... at least the one I have is working right now, let's hope it continues. I'm almost hoping the next one is a dud, too, because as I was told, 3rd strike you can get a different phone. Probably will happen right after the year is up, though!! I found lots of people who are on their third, fourth, or FIFTH Chocolate phone. Unreal!! It appears this phone is very poorly designed and of poor quality, even though I like it when it works! I considered getting the insurance this time, but seems to me that I'd be better off using that money to buy a different phone if it comes to it. And I STILL have to figure out how to get my pics off of it, and will have to manually change my phone book over, I guess- which would have been VERY difficult if the phone won't turn on!!

Wondering if anyone else out there has a Chocolate, and if you've had any problems with them (or not). I will probably not buy a new LG phone ever again (I've previously had bad experiences with their battery life, as has everyone I know who's ever had one-- which is why I hesitated before I got this one), and may go with T-Mobile when this contract is up, because of Verizon's attempts to cripple the features of their phones just to get more money from their customers. I also don't like them giving me a used (and probably returned for defective workmanship) phone to replace the new one I bought from them.

8/365 -- Aunt Catherine

Stories of hiding from work and her sister watching her through the window!! Strength, courage. Illness. Memories of Sunday afternoons. Shivah when she died. Sadness that she never got to be a mother; she would have been a wonderful one.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


I cannot BELIEVE Thanksgiving is only a few days away!! Tomorrow, I have to take the turkey out of the freezer, and today I HAVE to sit down, plan what we're going to have, make a list and go shopping. Fortunately, no rehearsal on Wednesday, so I can cook.

Don't know if J is going to work or not, so I don't know what time we're going to eat. Need to talk to her and find out. I'm going to wash Grandmother's china, and we'll use that... whether I'm going to polish the silver and use it or not, I don't know. We'll see.

Meanwhile, it's COLD here. Down into the 20s last night. I found some extra fuel for the gel fuel fireplace, so we're having the first fire of the season. :) I thought we'd used it all up last year, but not, and you're supposed to use it within a year, so.....

This year, we'll have the fireplace for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Just got it last year (in January), and loved it. It's so nice to have a fire without worrying about cleaning anything up, wood, or the flue..... It looks really nice and matches the entertainment center in wood tone and design.

The Real Flame gel fuel, though, has a particular odor. I don't smell it here as much, but at Mother's house, I really smelled it. I'm surprised it didn't really bother her; asked her several times. I found this new stuff (I can't remember the name right now) that is supposed to not have that odor. Gonna use up the rest of the old stuff first, though. Got some for J., too, for hers, and I'm going to send a couple of the new ones down to Mother's to see if they are better. If she likes them better, I'll get her some of them, too. I think the new ones last longer, too.

7/365 -- JP

Drunk. "Fix me another one!" Pain, covered with alcohol. Waiting for hours, but he never comes. "I love you," ONCE. Sadness at what might have been, what he chose to give up. Promises made, unkept. Destroying himself, dying too young.

Friday, November 16, 2007

6/365 -- Dave

Radio deejay. Pervert extraordinaire. How many little girls? Two who called for a song. My sister kept me safe. He chose Susan-- an only child, alone, desperate for a father's love. Should I tell? Fired-- but then what? And WHO?

5/365 -- Grandmother

Classy, strong, a working mother before they were common. From juvenile court to upscale fashion buyer! Wanted her own antique store, and began collecting. I still regret that dream didn't come true. Christmas dinners, twin presents for Michelle and me.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


I am SO exhausted. Rehearsal was really late last night-- we have only a month and the last two scenes just weren't gelling, so we stayed and worked.

Then, today was parent conferences.... and although I like the chance to talk to the parents, and I had a LOT show up, I didn't get out of there 'til 7 (so a 12-hour day on top of over an hour to get there and almost an hour home). So, it was VERY hectic, and no time for dinner until I got home, so I am just beat.

I know I haven't done my 365 for the last couple of days. I'm going to add a few extras tomorrow to catch up. I just am too tired to think tonight, and it takes a lot of thought to distill the life of someone important to me (and my memories of them) into just a few words... I really didn't think it would be as hard as it is... but I am really enjoying it. It's allowing me to relive and really making me think about what made them important.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

4/365 -- Grandaddy

Integrity. Old-fashioned chivalry. Protection, love. "You girls be good!" 'His girls.' Self-made man, off to the 'big city'. Working, going to school, taking the bus home each weekend with a $10 gold piece for his family--half his salary. Missed!

Monday, November 12, 2007

3/365 -- Grandmother F.

Lemon drops. Playing upstairs in the caretaker's apartment (against the rules!). The cracked tile in the fireplace tile. Wishing I'd known her better. Reading the books she authored, and getting to. Old fashioned Irish Catholic. Strong, independent. Amazingly talented writer.

Sunday, November 11, 2007


Okay, the comment from Sean about Caremark was too much to answer in a comment reply, so here goes.

Please do your research before you start bad-mouthing certain corporations. Caremark is an ADMINISTRATOR of the plan that is created by YOUR insurance company or employer; CAREMARK does not increase your co-pays. They follow the contract created by YOUR insurance co. or employer.>>

Firstly, I believe the above is what I said. ::Looking back:: Yup, that's what I said. Perhaps YOU are the one who needs to read before you start shooting off your mouth.

The problem was that they took over without any notice, and ALL communication avenues led to them. There was no opportunity to speak with anyone at the insurance company, and yet Caremark refused to answer any questions because they were 'just an administrator.' If they are going to be the SOLE point of contact, they had better be prepared to take care of the customers that are paying them.

They took over without any notice, and raised the co-pays (without any notice), PER THEIR OWN REPRESENTATIVES. THEY are the ones who said they raised it, and they did not have a good reason for doing so in the MIDDLE of the contract period. The contract I agreed to was for a particular copay for the period of one year. They violated that contract, they did not follow it.

3-tier drugs are very expensive for your plan and 99% of 3-tier medications either have a generic or similiar, less-expensive brand name stop bitching about a $45 co-pay for a drug that your plan is paying hundreds or thousands of dollars for becuase you're unwilling to use the generic or a less expensive brand.>>

That's the point. There ARE no less-expensive brand names (and, by the way, this is a DIFFERENT prescription plan I'm talking about now-- the one we're GOING to have, not the one we have now)... EVERY SINGLE brand I looked at was a Tier-3, with only two or three exceptions.

As for generics, I HAVE tried them, I HAVE used some. But for thyroid, no, I will NOT use a generic, nor a different brand, because I have been advised by my doctor (as have most people who take thyroid medication) to NOT change from what you're using without a good reason. Any changes, including increasing/decreasing dosage, have to be monitored closely, and it's very difficult to titrate. It can take up to 6 months of adjusting dosages to get the right one when you start. Had I known when I began that they were going to do this, I might have started with a generic... IF I could have been guaranteed to get the SAME generic each time. I simply took the prescription and got it filled... and they gave me the brand. They didn't ask if I wanted a generic, they didn't provide a generic. So I took what I was given. Once started, however, I'm not now willing to risk my health.

They consider a 12% difference to be 'bioequivalent.' With some medications, that might be ok (although, IMO, that's too large a difference with ANY medication, but that's my opinion. I see no reason why their effectiveness should not be required to be EXACTLY that of the brand if you're going to call them equivalent). With thyroid, it's enough to put you in the hospital or KILL you. You'll forgive me if I feel that my health is that important, and something tells me that I wouldn't have saved any money with the office visits and labwork that would have been needed, anyway, even if I hadn't ended up in the hospital.

Having said all that, your statement above is kind of the POINT. With a $45 copay, PLUS the difference in cost between the generic and brand (and isn't that what we're paying the increased copay FOR in the first place?), they're NOT PAYING FOR ANYTHING. They haven't paid a penny for my thyroid medication for 2 1/2 years now. And they sent a letter (less than 30 days beforehand) almost two years ago, that they would no longer be covering another script AT ALL. Period. Full stop. And yet they have the NERVE to tell me when I can and cannot have it refilled, though they refuse to cover it. So, why, exactly, am I sending them money every month that I could be using to pay for my scripts?

Actually, I'll tell you why-- because it's bundled with the medical coverage, and if I want that, I have no choice.

Now, please, go tell your bosses at Caremark that you haven't convinced me, or anyone else I know who has dealt with them.

2/365-- Hillary

Hillary-- generous, open, encouraging. My first real acting class outside of college. Helped me believe in myself enough to try it again, for real this time. Whatever career I have, I owe to her. Exercises, safety, risk. Pride, learning, teaching.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

This week.....

has just basically sucked, for the most part. The kids were really off this week. I'm still not sure why, but REALLY off. I'm really not feeling well... my thyroid needs to be checked, BIG time. I am feeling the fatigue, and the lack of ability to physically do stuff, which makes rehearsals (and learning lines!) tough. I'm doing fairly well learning my lines, but there are two scenes that are real bears and that's driving me nuts!

EVERY DAY (except Friday), there have been HUGE accidents-- and not just one or two, but a LOT of them. On Thursday, it took me over TWO HOURS to get to work. And I've been asked to do several extra things for work, as well, which I really don't mind doing, but right now I don't feel like I have the time. It's really hard to coordinate having everything I need where and when I need it for work, which is yet another stress, and I'm finding it hard to get up in the mornings (yet another reason for me to know that I need my thyroid checked, IMMEDIATELY). And I'm just feeling in general, depressed about everything that's going on and am afraid to look at my 401(k) right now.

And on Wednesday, I'm up in my room teaching and one of the guys comes up and says, "You'd better check your car. You have a flat tire!" Well, it wasn't quite flat, but it was getting there fast. And it was fine (to the eye) that morning, although I had noticed a little vibration and pulling when I braked the night before, so it was a slow leak, apparently. Called AAA, and they tell me that my membership has expired, and they didn't get my check for the renewal BACK IN AUGUST. ::SIGH:: NOW, you tell me? Anyway, I had to pay by credit card (they were really nice about it), and now I'll have to try to find the check (which won't be easy since the bank doesn't return cancelled checks anymore).... anyway, the guy who came out was very nice. He put air in it, and I put some more in a bit later, and then went to get it fixed. Cost me $25 and 2 hours of time!!!!

We got our info for our benefits enrollment for next year. I was HOPING that it would be better. It's not. The medical coverage is not a problem (although it's expensive, when I hear what other people are paying for theirs, I feel lucky). It's the Rx that I can't stand. They changed two years ago to a particular company, which was then 'taken over' (I guess) by Caremark. I HATE Caremark. I hate them with a passion. The first thing they did was IN THE MIDDLE OF THE YEAR, the increased our co-pay. When called to ask why, the only answer I got from them was, "We're not your insurance company, we're just an administrative company." Yet, EVERY SINGLE COMMUNICATION avenue goes to them, so you can't actually TALK to anyone at the insurance company... but Caremark won't give you any answers. They tried to push a generic thyroid med on me. Now, that would actually sorta be ok, except for the fact that the generic is NOT 'bioequivalent' as they tried to tell me. Their definition of 'bioequivalen' is a TWELVE PERCENT difference in effectiveness. In this case, stronger. Now, for some medications that might not be a problem. For thyroid, it's enough to land you in the hospital. Not to mention that you don't necessarily get the SAME generic each time, and each one is a different strength, so you can never regulate it... and thyroid hormone has a very small margin for error. THEN they sent a notice that they were not going to cover another med AT ALL. So, for two years, every time I go to pick it up, I get, "Don't you have insurance?" And have to explain the whole thing to them-- and then this SAME insurance company that won't COVER it has the NERVE to tell the pharmacy that they won't permit a refill because it's too soon! TWICE. Morons. If I could have, I'd've stopped paying the premiums, because it was simply costing me more money-- they weren't paying for anything... but it's part of the package with the medical coverage, all the same premium.

Anyway, so now we're going to have Rx coverage through BC/BS. Okay, fine. Except that EVERY SINGLE brand medication I looked at (and I looked at a lot, just to see), is what they call a "Tier 3" -- with a very few exceptions that are "Tier 2." "Tier 1" are all the generic ones.

Which means, you pay a co-pay (relatively small one) for a Tier 1 med. A $25 copay for a Tier 2 (a 'preferred brand" med) and for a 'nonpreferred' one (Tier 3), you pay FORTY FIVE dollars, PLUS the difference in cost between the generic and brand, up to the cost of the script. Which means, again, I'll be paying premiums and getting nothing in return. Oh, it just INFURIATES me how they can take advantage of people. And how we spend SO MUCH on health care costs, and get relatively little for it, in comparison to other countries. We have one of the most expensive health care systems in the WORLD, and yet we are FORTY FIRST in life expectancy among the industrialised nations.

1/365-- Mom

Got this idea from -- a very interesting idea.... each day for 365 days, choose one person you've known who impacted you and write a certain number of words about them (could be your age, or another number you choose). Started with a guy who wanted to celebrate turning 40 in an unusual way. Here's his original.

OK, here goes....

Muv-- amazingly strong, beautiful, courageous, loves animals, able to do anything. Still, doing more than those half her age,-- "What am I supposed to do? Just sit here?" Green thumb (wish I'd inherited that!). Classy, determined, always positive. My hero.

Monday, November 5, 2007

...Oh, and.....

I guess I should add to the avalanche hearing our alleged president say that to have his AG nominee answer questions about waterboarding would be giving terrorists the 'playbook' about what we would or would not do.... OMG!! As the one senator said, I WANT my president and AG to be CLEAR to EVERYONE that the US does NOT condone and will NOT allow torture! Aside from the fact that that just drags us down to their level, it DOES NOT WORK. It has been proven time and time again that information extracted through coercive methods is NOT reliable. It's just NOT. And to think that we have someone who is supposed to represent us who thinks that it's ok! I am just really depressed right now, about a whole lot of things....

Where are we.......

and why are we in this handbasket??

WHAT is happening? It seems that just in the last week or so, the whole world is suddenly collapsing. We have the situation in Pakistan, where at least 1500 people have been arrested for DARING to protest the martial law imposed by a dictator they didn't ask for... and Bush's response is, "I would hope he would take off his uniform." @@ I mean, seriously????? What the heck is THAT about? And he's STILL giving him aid and STILL says this person (absolutely not any better than Saddam Hussein) is a 'partner in the war on terror.' ::SIGH::

Gas prices have jumped THIRTY CENTS in just the last couple of weeks-- and they say it is only going to go higher-- another 20 cents or more! Very worrisome, especially with the SEVENTY FIVE percent increase in electricity costs in the last couple of years, and now they're asking for MORE! That apparently just wasn't enough!

And, now, the writer's strike, which is actually hitting much closer to home right now. With my friends in the Guild who are being hit hard by this immediately, it worries me, with the SAG contract coming up soon, and the possibility that SAG may go out sooner in support of the WGA, this could last for a LONG, LONG time. We're talking through the fall of next year. Last time, it was 22 weeks... that's going to impact me and a LOT of my friends. :*( But, the thing is that the WGA is NOT asking for unreasonable concessions, and SAG is going to be asking for the same for us actors. If they don't get it, neither will we. But, this is going to devastate a LOT of people, not just writers, actors, directors, etc.... but all of the tech crews, the catering crews, and everyone else who supplies goods or services to the film/television industry. All over the COUNTRY. But, the producers are acting like they're asking for the moon, and as if THEY have been SO accommodating. PLEASE. They never even made a COUNTER proposal to the proposal of EIGHT LOUSY CENTS per DVD. HOW is that asking for something unreasonable??? And if it is, why not make a counter? That IS what negotiating is supposed to be about, isn't it?

I'm truly starting to get a little scared about the future...... may God truly bless us right now, and protect us from our own mistakes.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times

Well, she most certainly did help!!!! I think she gave me the key, and I hope I can do what she wants me to do!!!!! She helped a lot, and was very positive... but she told me that my headshot was 'REALLY, REALLY bad," and not to send it out to anyone... I knew it wasn't great, but I didn't think it was HORRIBLE. Oh, well... off to NY I will be. I didn't want to spend that much money, but it will be worth it to FINALLY have a headshot I can get work from.

I spent as much on my first ones several years ago (not including hair and makeup) as a couple of names I've been given, so I guess it will be worth the investment. I just have to find time to spend a day in NY, and that's not easy, either. Not to mention either driving up there or trying to carry what I need on either the train or bus. ACK! Oh, well, we'll see, but it's going to HAVE to be NY.

We really worked on 'strippping,' as she calls it-- distilling it down to the very basics. It was EXCELLENT, and 'grueling,' but very definitely worth it. I really DO understand now why I haven't booked a whole lot of film/tv auditions I've gone on. Now, I have to work on the 'vulnerability.' Tomorrow's scenes are tailor-made for that, so hopefully I can really nail them! We discussed what types we were, and she was very clear and straightforward, even blunt about what was good and what didn't work, so it was VERY valuable. I'm hoping tomorrow will be just as good.

Then I went out with T's class for dinner. I only went really because of the special guest who was there-- and it was great to meet him! :) However, $25 for paella that had shrimp and mussels in it (which I didn't/couldn't eat), a salad that had mussels in it (which again, I couldn't/didn't eat--although the waitress brought me a separate side salad with no seafood, which was very nice of her, and the salad was ok), and some chicken thing which I don't THINK had seafood in it-- we'll know for sure in the next few hours!-- just was NOT worth it. Oh, well, the company was great and that's all that really matters!

Friday, November 2, 2007

....And so it begins....

WGA has decided to strike. This is going to impact pilot season BIG time. The studios are so greedy.... the agreement they have right now with regards to dvds, downloads, etc... all the 'new' media... was reached in the 1980s, LONG before they had the impact they have now. Yet ANOTHER indication that studios (and thus the entertainment industry) are now run by 'suits' who care ONLY about the bottom line, and couldn't care LESS about the creativity or the quality of the product.

The last time this happened, they mad reruns of old shows (like Dark Shadows)... just reused scripts. Not going to happen this time... the entire sets are going to be shut down.

And whatever the agreement is with WGA is going to impact the negotiations with SAG and determine whether we actors strike this summer. I can only hope this is a very short strike. As both an actor and someone who loves tv and movies. ::SIGH::

Me, I have to worry about the workshop tomorrow... I REALLY want to nail these scenes and hope that she will call me for pilot season (if there IS one at this point!)..... or have some good advice on how to take my career to the next stage. Not to mention improve my booking rate re: film/tv. And, most of all, I think it will be fun!!!!!