Friday, July 29, 2011

Insurance Scam

I just switched birth control pills. My doctor, who I love, spent some time going through her little prescription book to find a brand that would qualify for the much-advertised $4 a month rate.

When I got to the Target pharmacy, though, it rang up at $28.86. When I asked about that, they said the $4 a month rate was only if it ran through insurance, and I was listed as uninsured. So they re-rang it and I waited around for 30 minutes.

At which point in came up at $29.96 because that was the insurance rate. Apparently, because I have a high-deductible plan, the $4 rate does not apply — it DOES, however — the cashier helpfully explained — apply for Viagra and a handful of other items. When I asked why the insurance rate was higher than the un-insured rate, I was informed, with a straight face, that it was "a SERVICE on the part of the insurance company, so that people could reach their deductibles quicker."

I declined the "service" and made them re-ring it.

You just can't make this stuff up.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Pinterest Mash-Up

For a long time, i've been looking for a new jewelry storage system. I had my necklaces tossed into a dresser drawer, and then my earrings hanging on an old, metal peacock shaped holder than was a little teenage for my taste. I had liked pictures I have seen online of earring holders that used a picture frame for that purpose — the earrings hung inside the frame on pieces of screen, or wire strung across, or even foamboard.

But then I saw one that used wine corks and I was like "THIS is it!" You probably know I love wine corks and am always looking for great ways to use them.

The only frame I had in the right dimensions, though, was basic balsa wood. I figured I would paint it, maybe glue on some buttons or something for interest.

Then, I was putting away things from our road trip and inspiration hit. I had loved an image on Pinterest that framed photos form a vacation and used a map for the mat. I could cover the frame with our Boston map! Which I did, and I think it looks great!

So, for a grand cost of $0 since I had all the materials on hand, I have a great new way to store my jewelry and stay organized (worth a fortune around here.) I do, however, still keep an antique teacup by my bed to store my watch and earrings when I forget to take them off before bedtime, which pretty much happens every night...

Friday, July 22, 2011

Blaming the Victim

As I type this, I am watching a Twitter exchange between the MPR NewsCut blogger (Bob Collins) and several of my friends on Twitter. In a short version, Collins tweeted:

The idea of a youth camp run by a political party is kinda scary.

Several people (my friends included) called him out on this, and it's degenerated into kind of a Twitter snipe-fest; though anyone is welcome to have their own views, I don't think that if I were tweeting for public radio I would respond is such a curmudgeonly manner.

What Collins fails to grasp is that he is more than welcome to his opinion about whether or not political parties should run camps. But to make that your very first tweet on the subject after tweeting earlier simply that you were "Following Oslo..." reeks of "blame the victim." I think it someone had commented after Columbine that it was a "scary high school," there would have been all kinds of offense taken — and rightfully so.

Collins' comment is not unusual. It's not really all that different than wondering out-loud "Well, what was she doing there?" when finding out a woman was attacked in a bad neighborhood, or any other comment that draws an unwarranted relationship between unrelated issues. He claims that:

What I said was I like to think ppl who folo me are able to differentiate btween finding camps scary & wishing ill on attendees.

If so, why make the comment now, as your first impression of the Norway shootings? What Collins fails to grasp is that cause and effect don't stop with an issue, they continue into the reporting on it. Twitter, blogs, and other citizen-journalist methods are rapidly gaining ground as how we learn about things. And I think we owe them all a little more thought.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Read Local

Recently, I had a bad experience with, of all things, a New York Times column. A writer there was a lurker on a private message board that I belong to, and lifted some quotes from a thread on that board to use in her column, without clearing it with the original posters. Sloppy journalism/poor ethics aside, it got me thinking about reading things written by people you know, or who are in your community.

Admittedly, I am lucky in this regard. The Twin Cities has a virtual plethora of local writers — mostly penning mysteries — of which my favorites over the years have been John Sandford, Erin Hart, and occasionally Tami Hoag. This month, my aunt is going to a garden party featuring local author Marisha Chamberlain, who I originally knew as a playwright and who has written the exquisite The Rose Variations.

Lately, I found out that one of my neighbors and all-time favorite people, Mike Faricy, is an excellent author of truly compelling mysteries. And of course my husband, Patrick Rhone's book Keeping It Straight is a must-read.

What local authors have you been reading?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Children's Day

Today we did various Beatrix-themed activities, and it was a blast!

This morning, we use dour brand new membership to go to the Children's Museum with our friends Leah (plus Maesie and Ella) and Erica and Joe (plus Olivia). Everyone had a ton of fun, though we all ended up spread out all over — it was helpful to have the extra parents around to keep an eye on the kids! Beatrix gets to go to the Children's Museum often with Clara and Alex, so it was great to have her show us around.

We then had lunch at the Cheeky Monkey (though Leah had to go). Though we ate inside, I am in lust with their new patio, and hope to go back soon.

Before naps, we checked out our friend Krista's gorgeous new house, which is just perfect for her. I'm in love with it! Then long naps (for everyone).

We went to see Milly and Tillie tonight at Open Eye. Beatrix is a M&T groupie, having seen it several time last year, and I am sure we'll be back this year. Seriously, do yourself a favor and go, whether you have kids or not. Tickets are dirt cheap ($5 adults/$1 kids), the show is incredibly enjoyable for all ages, and there's free ice cream afterwards. I mean it! GO!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Pimp My Block!

Wow, suddenly everyone on our block is fixing up their place!

Thanks to the hailstorm last year, pretty much everyone got new roofs — except us and our neighbor, who had just gotten new roofs. We did get approval from insurance to get our house painted though, and we're rebuilding our porch, and both look great!

But on a walk around the block with Beatrix tonight, I noticed how much work is being done. The house across the street got new porch furniture. A house halfway down the block has a whole new porch, and the one next to that is getting painted/restained (that house needs a lot of love...). The condos at the end put in a new brick path.

I love our neighborhood!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Foodie Dream Vacation

I kind of lost focus with the trip blogging because of sporadic internet, yet another glitch with the autopost to Facebook (why does that happen?), and mostly because I was, you know, too busy having a vacation and hanging with friends to write. Obviously, I'm not going to get hired as a travel blogger anytime soon.

I should be, though! Mainly because out time in the Finger Lake area was pretty much the best foodie vacation ever!

To place it in context, we stayed with my college room-mate and still one of my closest friends ever, Molly. She and her family (wonderful husband and two charming boys who Beatrix loves to pieces) have a cottage on Lake Cayuga. Even better, they have a completely separate guest cottage, so we had our own space when we wanted it, but could just hang out as well. They kids went wild playing while the adults got to hang around and eat, and talk, and drink, and read — perfection!

But the foodie part...

Our first day, we were excited to discover that there were several cheesemakers in the area as well as vineyards. We packed up the kids and headed to the Lively Run Goat Dairy, where we were able to sample all the cheeses, then tour the farm so the kids could pet the goat, see the piglets, etc. Their cheese was amazing — herbed chevre, a very smooth Cayuga blue, a soft cheese called Eidelweiss, and a perfectly salty feta. They actually buy much of the milk from local Amish farmers and keep a small herd to milk and use to to try new cheeses, to great effect.

We then visited Bellewether (hard) Cider, where the kids ran around outside and played with the cats while we did a cider tasting. Delicious, and so refreshing! We bought several bottles to bring home.

Somehow, the boys never made it to the vineyards, but Molly and I were able to make it to two. Wine tasting is the perfect way to try some new things while chatting and catching up, and we took full advantage of that. The first day we went to the Thirsty Owl, which was very good, and we were able to take a nice walk around the premises. My favorite, though, was Goose Watch Vineyard, which featured great views, an 8-pour tasting for $2, and some lovely reds. We even picked up some juice for the kids.

Lots of wineries (and dairies, and cider places, and distilleries) we did not hit, so I guess we need to go back...


(Oh, and the best part? I don't have the picture, but the double full rainbow that arched across the lake just hours before the New York legislature approved the Marriage Equality Bill. So much hope for the future!)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Mad in Minnesota

Lost momentum on the blog during the trip between too much to do, some kind of messed up feed to Facebook, and internet issues. Ruminating on some posts but need to get more caught up first.

In the meantime, here's a guest post of sorts I did on the "Mad In Minnesota" blog.