pameladean: (Libellula julia)
So I filed our taxes late again and am therefore only now narrowing down the not-very-appetizing choices remaining on MNSure for health insurance for David and me. I found a pretty good and a slightly better plan; the first is through Health Partners and the second through UCare. Both of them have a lot of complaints on the BBB site and scattered about here and there. My mother, who used to work for an insurance company and still has an interest in how they operate, is not very enthusiastic about Health Partners, though the anecdotal evidence she has is somewhat outdated. Health Partners seems to have inspired a lot more annoyance and dislike in the people it billed for premiums they had paid, whose doctors it made repeatedly re-authorize the same prescriptions, and so on. I have had a UCare plan before and, aside from having a very primitive website, they did not do anything egregious during the year I was their customer. But the Health Partners plan has a lower co-insurance and a lower co-pay. What to do, what to do? I'm leaning towards UCare, partly because they use the Fairview provider network.

A major annoyance in all this is that no plan available on the exchange includes HCMC in its network. I've been at HCMC since 2002 and I really don't want to leave, but we are eligible for quite a hefty subsidy on the exchange and really couldn't afford any health insurance if we had to pay all of it. But I am viewing all other provider networks with a very jaundiced eye. Anyway--

If anybody has experience with either provider that seems relevant to this choice, I'd love to hear it.

Thanks so much. One day I will make a post with actual content.

P.S. The upshot of the last problem I asked for advice about was that [livejournal.com profile] lsanderson most kindly came over and took down all the tiny trees with a Sawsall and a green-wood blade. He did this on the last day before it snowed for the first time back in November. I failed to bundle up the branches in time for the last yard-waste pickup of the year and was still contemplating doing so and calling the city, as the city say sone may, to arrange for an out-of-the-ordinary yard-waste pickup. In the meantime I took [livejournal.com profile] coffeeem's recommendation of A-Tree Service, and they dealt with the larger trees that had got tangled up in the powerl ines, and with the one branch of the Chinese elm that was hanging threateningly over the garage and rubbing on the tree's main trunk while it did so. The day, which involved Xcel energy's dropping the power lines and the power consequently being out for about five hours, felt quite traumatic at the time, but it all worked out well aside from the hole left in the bank account. As a very nice bonus, when they cleaned up all the branches they had cut themselves they also took all of Larry's. Thanks to all who made suggestions and recommendations.

Pamela
pameladean: (Libellula julia)
Hello hello! I have a huge backlog of things I want to write about, from my last hike of the season with Raphael to camping with Eric and doing early voting and going to see Ten Thousand Things' production of Pericles to my adventures with David in recovering my camera from a rental-car company's lost-and-found office in the twilight zone.

But right now I'm hoping some people local to me can recommend a tree service. Things have been neglected around here for too long. We need trees trimmed back from the house and from the power lines; there are bunch of volunteer trees that are a bit large for me to remove, though I could do it if I had to; and there's a big Chinese elm back by the garage that needs some attention.

An extremely nice man came out from Rainbow and opined that, while they would be happy to do the work, most of it did not require the services of trained arborists, and if you asked trained arborists to cut down a bunch of little trees and haul them away, it would take a lot of time and would cost us a bundle of money. He named a number that made me blanch and suggested getting some other bids. So I am thinking of saving the Chinese elm for Rainbow at some later date, and getting some competent people who aren't quite so exalted in their expertise for the rest of the work.

Recommend away, I beg of you! If you are comfortable with saying how much various services charged to do your work, and what the work was, that would be excellent.

Pamela
pameladean: (Libellula julia)
The most common remark I seem to be making, possibly excluding, "Aren't you cute!" or "I hate this kitchen" seems to be, "I don't know how it got to be [whatever day/month/year it may be at that moment]." Theoretically, I know how it probably did, but my journey through time seems to be quick and irregular.

Last Sunday, when it was brutally hot, Eric and I had just brought Lydy's car home after running some very necessary errands. B, for Behemoth, has a perfectly good air conditioner, but it was not keeping up with the heat index at all. We had collapsed in the media room air conditioning with an attendant young black cat (Ninja, who is very fond of Eric) when my phone tweedled. Raphael had sent a simple message, "Dishwasher just died."

Cut for boring domestic detail )</lj-cut The new dishwasher seems to work fine, and it uses less water and less energy than the old one. I am also pleased to have a cleaner staircase and a good light at the top of it so that I don't feel either than I'm losing my vision or that something is going to reach out and grab my ankle as I go downstairs. But this all happened in very hot and/or humid weather and seems to have taken a long time. I now simultaneously want to Clean All the Things and work on my short story. The Things are probably more cooperative. The story thinks it is a novel and keeps putting guns on the mantelpiece, and I keep taking them off again and sequestering them in a notes file for use later on. Pamela
pameladean: (Default)
David went around the yard a week or two ago and took some splendid photos. You can look at them here.

I had a lovely time at Wiscon and managed not to bring any horrible viruses home with me. Raphael and I went to Murphy Hanrahan Regional Park earlier this week and saw clouds of dragonflies, mostly dot-tailed whitefaces with a leavening of frosted whitefaces, common whitetails, and at least one twelve-spotted and one four-spotted skimmer. Over the weekend Eric and I went to Eloise Butler, where we saw dozens of four-spotted skimmers and a goodly number of whitetails; not to mention two large and extremely oblivious wild turkeys browsing under the birdfeeders. We also went to Lebanon Hills Regional Park, where we were too late for dragonflies but delighted to see fireflies twinkling and flashing in the vegetation next to the fire road.

Also, I had a writing date with Pat WINOLJ, made copious notes, and wrote 500 or so new words on the Liavek novel. The style of the novel as written so far pleases me a lot, but it's rather mannered, and getting back into it will be interesting.

Pamela
pameladean: (Default)
David went around the yard a week or two ago and took some splendid photos. You can look at them here.

I had a lovely time at Wiscon and managed not to bring any horrible viruses home with me. Raphael and I went to Murphy Hanrahan Regional Park earlier this week and saw clouds of dragonflies, mostly dot-tailed whitefaces with a leavening of frosted whitefaces, common whitetails, and at least one twelve-spotted and one four-spotted skimmer. Over the weekend Eric and I went to Eloise Butler, where we saw dozens of four-spotted skimmers and a goodly number of whitetails; not to mention two large and extremely oblivious wild turkeys browsing under the birdfeeders. We also went to Lebanon Hills Regional Park, where we were too late for dragonflies but delighted to see fireflies twinkling and flashing in the vegetation next to the fire road.

Also, I had a writing date with Pat WINOLJ, made copious notes, and wrote 500 or so new words on the Liavek novel. The style of the novel as written so far pleases me a lot, but it's rather mannered, and getting back into it will be interesting.

Pamela
pameladean: (Default)
The snowdrops came up all of a piece, leaves and drooping white flowers, three or four days ago. The purple snow crocuses are blooming in the front flower bed. The peony on the south side of the house is showing red shoots, as is the evil but beguiling Japanese knotweed. The bleeding-heart in the front flower bed has put up red-and-green shoots, already frilled with proto-leaves, right out of its mulch. The blue-and-yellow thug irises are putting up leaves, as is the burgundy one that hasn't bloomed much in recent years. I should feed that one.

The dames' rocket and the motherwort have greened up. The daylilies are four to eight inches high, depending on where they are. The bare earth of the south side yard is filling up with tiny violet leaves, a bit of periwinkle, and the aforementioned Japanese knotweed. The grass is greening up. There are small leaves on both mock-orange bushes, and on the neighbors' peabush hedge. I really ought to rake the leaves off the remaining plants, but I have a deep conviction that we are going to pay for this weather with sub-zero temperatures and a raging blizzard, pretty much ANY TIME NOW. So I walk around in bemusement instead.

Ari and I saw a morning-cloak butterfly a few days ago, sunning itself on the back of a lawn chair. I've also seen various small flies and beetles, but no queen bumblebees yet, and no green darners.

Juncoes are still here, and there are so many I think they may be either passing through or preparing to leave. We have a pair of cardinals, which is always cheering. The chickadees and house sparrows and house finches are singing in their various ways, and crows are rattling.

In a rash frenzy, I ordered a bunch of plants from the Lake Country School just down the street. They used to send out six-year-olds with forms to go door to door, and you never knew exactly what you would get when you went to pick up your plants. But now everything is online. I confidently expect that the edited manuscript of my book, with a short deadline for return, will land on me on the weekend I am supposed to pick up the plants.

The mint hasn't come back yet, which concerns me. If it doesn't, I had better buy three plants of it and put them in different locations. This is a good recipe for disaster, but maybe the mint can fight back the Japanese knotweed.

Pamela
pameladean: (Default)
The snowdrops came up all of a piece, leaves and drooping white flowers, three or four days ago. The purple snow crocuses are blooming in the front flower bed. The peony on the south side of the house is showing red shoots, as is the evil but beguiling Japanese knotweed. The bleeding-heart in the front flower bed has put up red-and-green shoots, already frilled with proto-leaves, right out of its mulch. The blue-and-yellow thug irises are putting up leaves, as is the burgundy one that hasn't bloomed much in recent years. I should feed that one.

The dames' rocket and the motherwort have greened up. The daylilies are four to eight inches high, depending on where they are. The bare earth of the south side yard is filling up with tiny violet leaves, a bit of periwinkle, and the aforementioned Japanese knotweed. The grass is greening up. There are small leaves on both mock-orange bushes, and on the neighbors' peabush hedge. I really ought to rake the leaves off the remaining plants, but I have a deep conviction that we are going to pay for this weather with sub-zero temperatures and a raging blizzard, pretty much ANY TIME NOW. So I walk around in bemusement instead.

Ari and I saw a morning-cloak butterfly a few days ago, sunning itself on the back of a lawn chair. I've also seen various small flies and beetles, but no queen bumblebees yet, and no green darners.

Juncoes are still here, and there are so many I think they may be either passing through or preparing to leave. We have a pair of cardinals, which is always cheering. The chickadees and house sparrows and house finches are singing in their various ways, and crows are rattling.

In a rash frenzy, I ordered a bunch of plants from the Lake Country School just down the street. They used to send out six-year-olds with forms to go door to door, and you never knew exactly what you would get when you went to pick up your plants. But now everything is online. I confidently expect that the edited manuscript of my book, with a short deadline for return, will land on me on the weekend I am supposed to pick up the plants.

The mint hasn't come back yet, which concerns me. If it doesn't, I had better buy three plants of it and put them in different locations. This is a good recipe for disaster, but maybe the mint can fight back the Japanese knotweed.

Pamela
pameladean: (Default)
I am so smug. I am always excessively, obnoxiously smug when my failure to do something that everybody else does and that I've been beating myself up for not doing turns out to have been beneficial.

The tree on our boulevard is a Norway maple. All Norway maples are on a schedule that may be Norwegian but may be from some alternate dimension. They stay green late, late in the fall; if there is a hard freeze they shrug off their green leaves and look insouciant; and if allowed, they turn a glorious gold in mid- to late November. Then they like to preen themselves a little. I'm sure that, whatever timestream they hail from, they know exactly when Minneapolis has decided to send in street sweepers to get the leaves out of the gutters. Then they drop about half their leaves the day afterwards, and hold onto the rest until their local human companions have raked their yards clean.

The maple on our boulevard is always the last one to drop its leaves, and the one on the boulevard of our neighbor to the north is the next-to-last to do so.

The entire public sidewalk and a good portion of the walk leading from that sidewalk to our front porch were solid with maple leaves. In a wet autumn, I'd have had to deal with them because wet leaves can become as slippery as ice. But these were dry and crisp. I did try to prevent the leaves from utterly concealing the one step down from our walk to the public sidewalk, but it was so windy that in as little as half an hour after I cleared the leaves, more leaves would gather and obscure the step again.

On Saturday, it snowed, first ice pellets, then big fluffy flakes, then pellets again, for a total of maybe two inches. I had actually planned to just let the stuff melt, since it will be fifty during the day by Thursday. But then I remembered that the person delivering the groceries would have a bit of a struggle if I didn't shovel. The mixture of ice and snow, dyed a delicate yellow by the underlying leaves, looked pretty grim. But it peeled right up from that glory of glories, a perfectly dry sidewalk. The sidewalks of my obsessive raking neighbors aren't nearly so clear.

I am so smug.

Pamela
pameladean: (Default)
Well, that's a rather grim subject line, but on its own it feels like what I'm doing with the book. After a long hiatus and a lot of hair-tearing, I opened up one of the files and revised Chapter 2 to have more tension in it. I have not yet attempted to gaze into the abyss that is the fallen middle of the narrative, but I hope to do that tomorrow.

In other news, Raphael and I have been thwarted two weeks in a row in our plans to go to Itasca, because the weather has been impossible. We will try again after Fourth Street. In the jungle of the yard and garden, the dame's rocket is almost done, the spiderwort and daisy fleabane and Shasta daisies are blooming, the rudbeckia is thinking things over, and the phlox is growing very tall but not budding yet. The volunteer milkweed is in bud, as are the true and the day- lilies. The peonies were slain quickly by heat followed by rain, but there were certainly a lot of them while they did bloom.

The snow peas are blooming, and the sugar snap peas are thinking about it. The snow peas are supposed to be bush peas and to need no support, but they are climbing the dame's rocket at the edge of the raised bed just the same. I have lots of lettuce. The spinach bolted while I was at Wiscon (see aforementioned heat), but remaining leaves are not bitter. My mother and I are going to Mother Earth Gardens tomorrow to get some tomato plants.

Pamela

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