An Excuse to Cozy

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So yesterday I shared my adventures in trying to cancel my dental insurance. And did I manage to do it? Drum roll please…

Maybe.

Yep. That’s the best I can do. Maybe. It was a convoluted process, and I was told a rep might contact me to discuss my “situation” — I have no idea what that means, despite the very nice agent explaining it to me — but it should be cancelled. I think. So yay?!?

Meanwhile, today is very gray, and we’ve been promised a huge winter storm of ice and snow and rain and blizzards and pestilence and demons and black holes and end-of-the-world proximity. As of yet I haven’t seen a single drop of anything, from liquid water to frozen or anywhere in between, but the wind is howling and the waves explosive and huge.

Oh wait.

I take that back. There is a veil of silvery-white descending. Batten those hatches.

And I have to tell you, right now I have ideas a-brewing, as the light gets cozier inside and it gets ickier outside. Many ideas that need to be cataloged and saved before they dissolve away.

This is the part that makes writing fun, exciting, enticing. The siren call of fresh ideas, untested, new places where you can vanish while building the world around you.

Check out  my full-length novels,  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only), and the sequel, Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) which is now available!

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Adventures in Cancelling Dental Insurance

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So I took a gamble this year and picked up a dental insurance plan. In the past I have priced them, and given the waiting periods for most, you end up shelling out more for the plan than the value the plan provides for services. Which is probably to be expected, because that is how profits are made.

But this year, I found a plan that sounded reasonably priced and seemed to cover the services I needed. I had an appointment scheduled in February, so I figured I’d only be two months into the plan when I had the appointment and then could tell if it was worthwhile.

The appointment came and went (yay on the went) and my brand-new insurance covered…$3 less than what I had paid into the plan thus far.

In six months, when I go back, I will have sunk four more months into the plan to get pretty much nothing out of it.

So I called the insurer to cancel the plan. First I had to wade through computer voice hell, a hell where the tone is much too pleasant, so you know the computer is enjoying it. I finally got a human, a lovely human as it happens, who told me that she couldn’t cancel the plan, that I needed to talk to a “marketplace representative.”

Uh huh.

Clearly it’s a tactic to try to get people to hang up. But I would not be deterred. She said the wait time would be 20 minutes. I figure I can write a blog post, right? Why not?

She asked if I wanted her to hold with me. I asked if it meant that they’d get to me faster. She laughed, and I took that as a yes. She said she was putting me back on hold; she promptly hung up on me.

Oops.

I called the number she gave me, waded through another electronic voice, and got in the hold line. Still 20 minutes. I settled in, but the other line rang. Then my cellphone.

It was my agent friend! She didn’t know what had happened but she kept our place in line, so here I am listening to tinny music through my phone speaker as I type this. I’m not sure where we are in the 20 minute odyssey, but I will cancel this insurance. I will.

I’ll keep you posted.

Check out  my full-length novels,  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only), and the sequel, Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) which is now available!

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China in Chicago

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Warning: there is a photo below that shows the x-ray of a deliberately-created physical deformity. If that is something that is not OK for you, you may not want to read today’s post.

This weekend, I visited Chicago’s beautiful Field Museum. There’s a very detailed, comprehensive exhibit about China, The Cyrus Tang Hall of China, which was fascinating. But one part really got to me.

In a packed stream of artifacts, these shoes got my attention:IMG_9020

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It’s tough to judge how tiny they are, but they look like they were made for a doll. Three inches, is what the description said.

They were shoes for bound feet. Imagine that, a full-grown woman tottering around on three-inch long, brutally misshapen feet. Hobbled, so that her feet could resemble those of a doll.

At least in shoes.

I warn you, the next photo is disturbing, at least I found it so. This is an x-ray of a woman’s bound foot:

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I cannot begin to imagine the pain of the binding process, let alone the pain of living with bound feet. Over the centuries, the cruelty and torture women endured in the pursuit of “beauty” is staggering. It makes me sad for our long-gone sisters.

Overall, though, I highly recommend the exhibit if you happen to be in or around Chicago. It really makes you consider the people who make up the history of a fascinating country.

Check out  my full-length novels,  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only), and the sequel, Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) which is now available!

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Why Hello, Wednesday

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Today I am singing a nonsense tune. Is it a sign of a good mood? Is the sign of a tune firmly lodged within the recesses of my brain? Is it a sign of caffeine doing its job and perking up my thought process?

I dunno.

I do know that I would absolutely love another cup of coffee, but I also know I would be trying to pry my fingernails out of the walls. Which would be quite impressive, given that I think my walls are largely made either of concrete or a substance from another planet which is completely resistant to nails. The metal and the biological kind.

Overall I have been eating well, I am exercising, and I actually think I got a decent night’s sleep, something that doesn’t always happen.

So here I am, bushy-eyed and bright-tailed, fingers ready to take on the keyboard. Wish me luck.

Check out  my full-length novels,  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only), and the sequel, Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) which is now available!

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Sorry. I have to talk about it

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So Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died this weekend. While I try to stay away from anything political here, it is such an enormous event, it’s impossible not to acknowledge it. Particularly as I am a former attorney.

I know that most of my posts are about the small things, the close things. The day-to-day living things. And believe it or not, Justice Scalia’s death impacts exactly those things.

If his dissenting side had won the Obamacare decision, I probably wouldn’t have health insurance right now. Why? I’ve actually used my health insurance this year, and in the past, before the health care act, in the Wild West of the individual health insurance market, my insurer could have dropped me just for the risk that I might actually obtain services in exchange for my premiums. Any health problem — even an abnormal pap smear — could be used as a reason to deny coverage. The law may not perfect, but it’s better than what was.

Friends of mine can make the most intimate decision and marry the person they love now. Again, not because of Justice Scalia, but in spite of him. They can decide what their families will look like and receive equal treatment under the law.

The concept of the Court seems so remote for most people. It seems lofty, as though it has nothing practical to do with us.

But in reality, the Court has enormous power to dictate to us the minutiae of our day-to-day existence, or give us the room to simply live our lives. It is the Supreme Court that decides whether money is speech, how much religion is permissible in public life, what “privacy” means and how much of it you can expect from your government. It is the Supreme Court that decides what is fair when you are accused of a crime and what is fair if you’ve been convicted of one. It is the Supreme Court that can determine whether the way you have sex is legal.

No really. Michigan just passed an anti-sodomy law, despite a Supreme Court ruling finding them unconstitutional.  You’d think Michigan would have other things to worry about (uh water), but there it is.

So while what is likely to be an epic fight over Justice Scalia’s replacement gears up, please don’t tune out. Don’t glaze over, don’t shrug your shoulders and dismiss this as politics as usual. It isn’t.

This choice could literally change your life.

Check out  my full-length novels,  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only), and the sequel, Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) which is now available!

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Conveyor Belt of Indecision

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So yesterday I had to take my car in for some recalls. A bunch of recalls. What’s that you ask, hypothetical reader? Was I slow to act on the recalls? Why no, I wouldn’t put it that way. I’d call it efficient. Better all done in one long, long, long session than a bunch of separate ones. Right?

Right?

And I got my oil changed. Hear that sound, hypothetical reader? That was an angel getting its wings.

I was out and about in the wider, cold, cold world (it was freezing yesterday), hoping the change in routine would get my brain ready to write. Remember my dilemma earlier this week? Well, I need to  have something for our meeting later.

While sitting on the fence, my position on the fence scooted itself up, turning the fence into more of a conveyor belt. A conveyor belt of indecision. What’s that, hypothetical reader? That was a terribly elegant metaphor? Why thank you, hypothetical reader. You’ve got such a fine sense for the literary.

Sometimes you’ve got to remind yourself that doing nothing is also doing something.

Now I am writing a blog post, instead of facing my sea of blinking cursors. Which wouldn’t be a quite so vast a sea if not for an operating system update that rebooted the computer and lost something I was working on, which is a whole other story. Moral: always save. Even when you’re only leaving your work long enough to blink. Which I didn’t, it was overnight, but lost is lost.

Speaking of which, there was a thread here somewhere. Oh yes. Writing. Guess I’d better go do it, blinking cursor help me.

Check out  my full-length novels,  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only), and the sequel, Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) which is now available!

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A Writerly Dilemma

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Today is one of those days where the sky looks like a dingy cotton sock, the kind that no bleach can make bright again. The clouds aren’t doing anything, really, they’re just sitting there, a solid, overarching mass, hanging in glumly.

Sounds about right for a Monday.

And today I find myself with a dilemma. As any writer knows, the well of writing is not infinite, you can only write for so many hours in a day. And in doing so, you have to prioritize your projects.

Regular visitors might recall that I was recently involved in the writing and creation of a comedy sketch show at the Second City Training Center, a show that was sold out for all four weeks of the run. And now my fellow writers want to mount the show again, but this time with some new material.

New material which needs to be generated. Of course.

It is an incredibly talented group, and each one, I am certain, will go on and do amazing things, perhaps together, perhaps individually. And the idea of another show certainly has appeal. But the question is, do I want to sink my writing energy into new sketches, into this format that, as we know, has never quite fit me comfortably?

This is going to be a lot of work, and while a lot of work doesn’t faze me, my books have been long neglected. I find it difficult to do the sketch writing and my fiction at the same time.

So what to do?

Check out  my full-length novels,  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only), and the sequel, Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) which is now available!

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