So there’s this knitting thing I have been working on for a while. It’s called the Swallowtail Shawl (by Evelyn Clark). It’s a lace knitting project, and I am knitting with some nice alpaca I bought from the yarn shop garage sale person.
First effort took me to the 5th of 14 repeats of the first lace pattern before I saw I had erred irretrievably, but that was okay. With lace, at least for me, sometimes there is a learning curve, and I didn’t swatch/practice this pattern. I frogged and started over, considering this as my lesson.
Second effort took me the 9th of the 14 repeats before I saw that my stitches were not giving me the desired look. Something was amiss, and 1) could not be fixed, and 2) would not be lived with. I even tried to take it back to the last repeat and re-knit to no avail. In fact, this pattern does not lend itself to doing this successfully, to my thinking. Frogging ensued and another re-start.
Third effort began with much promise. I have learned to see how my stitches are happening, (how the k2tog K SSK build the ‘buds’, where the YO K YO build on either side of the previous K, etc...trust me, Brother, it happens....), as well as having ‘learned’ the pattern. I was (note the past tense) really clicking along. The knitting was not perfect, but I found mistakes as they happened and compensated immediately, such a good lace knitter I am! O pride….how she goes before the fall. I finished the 10th of 14 repeats with trepidation, knowing all was not right with my Swallowtail world.
At this point, I knew another re-start was required, and to quote (more or less) one of my favorite southern ladies of fiction, ‘as gah is my witness, I will knit that shawl! I will!!’ One day….but not this day. This day the yarn was rewound and laid away for now.
Christmas knitting calls, and I know when to say when.
Cool nights and warm days, even if the warm days bring no rain, give a certain vibrancy to my yard. While much is way past prime, some blooms are coming out fresh and bright and worthy of the camera.
The asters just started opening this past weekend. I am looking and watching for just the right time to cut them. All the dried flowers in the house (that have been there for…ummm…some years) are being replaced this year.
I didn’t get as much monarda cut as I wanted. After I made my first ‘harvest’, I saw how much the hummingbird was liking it, so I let it go. I am a sucker for the wild things. Hopefully there will be enough asters to compensate.
Or maybe I will just have empty vessels. Because the old stuff is leaving! It is time. Past time!
When I recount recent weather, I believe I sound like my mother. I remember hearing her speak of current weather trends often and thinking to myself, ‘Whatever could be so interesting to the other person about that?’
Maybe nothing. Maybe I just like hearing myself. Maybe that’s what the whole blog thing is about, after all.
It’s been warm here. Unseasonably. But I don’t mind at the end of September. It’s stretching summer out a bit longer, and for me that’s not a bad thing.
That being said, the unseasonable warm doesn’t happen until the afternoon, so when I am riding my bike in to work, there’s a chill breeze as I zip along. The day starts out somewhere around 45 to 50 F, and ends around the high 80’s. Today we may set a record in the low 90’s. That’s a pretty big temp range to dress for commuting on the bike.
But I manage. I will meet my goal tomorrow, surpassing 600 miles on my bike since May. And the season isn’t quite over for me, as long as the weather remains….unseasonable.
I may be posting photos of what every other Colorado blogger is posting this week.
But I have to. This year the aspens are mighty pretty. Or at least they were last Sunday, when The Guy and I loaded up into the mighty Nissan once again and traveled back into the hills. Or along the Peak to Peak highway between Estes and Nederland, at least.
How is it that today is the first day of fall? Where did summer go? Of course, when I look back, I see all that I did this summer, and recognized where the time went, but oh my! It does seem to fly by.
I am getting a few tomatoes every few days. And they taste wonderfully, too, but it's interesting. This year I have something eating on the fruit of my vines, as it were, on the ripe tomatoes. Sort of looks like the work of slugs, which is interesting, because slugs aren't really a problem in this arid climate. One year I had white flies. Most years, not a pest at all. Also, this year the grasshoppers are scourge like. Well, not really scourge like...not like in the Bible or anything...but there are lots of them.
I have started knitting on Christmas gifts. Actually I started while on the South Dakota trip. (Kate, we did not stop at Cosmo's, but managed to see much else of what the area offered.) Pretty fair planning to start mid-September. Let's see if the momentum continues. Let's see if I can keep the secretz!
And I am closing in on my bike miles goal. Still have a few left so not claiming victory. I rode home in the rain yesterday, but I am neither sweet enough nor evil enough to melt when wetted. It was pretty neat, though, smelling the dampness of the dried grasses and leaves...very....fall-like....
So there are my fall colors, my bright spot in the slipping by year. Christmas knitting momentum? Holy cow! I only have 3 months...
So I plant Morning Glories. I think they look really neat on my antique garden gate in full bloom. And they do. When they bloom. This year I planted a variety of colors. Just this past week, this color started blooming. I have had about six blooms. Earlier I had some ittle bitty red ones. Cute, but not the ones I wanted. I wanted these! So here it is. Late September, and finally...FINALLY, I get a few meager blooms. See how close to the fence? This one had stuck it's head through and was showing off for my neighbor! Now I like my neighbor and all, but darn it, this bloom is mine. I reeled it back through the fence for the photo. And for the day.
My other favorite color of Morning Glory.
The last of my hollies, which are now tall and straggly and spindly stalks, loaded with seeds. The guy is all 'are they ready for trimming?' Oh ho ho! Silly fellow! If I did that, how in the world would I get my volunteers for next year? The Guy and I? We have differing philosophies. He likes a neated up space. I see things growing freely and think...hey, what a green thumb have I!
As evidenced by my volunteer sunflowers this years...that provided us a bower over the walkway to the gate. Then a barrier....complete with bees! Fine, I said, and deadheaded, but only because I knew that would extend the blooming!
About 5 years ago, I bought my only hyacinth bean. Since then I have grown my bean trees from seeds. Like magic they are! They thrive despite me.
My other flavor of hollyhock. I wonder what sort of babies I will get next year?
Wonderful Guy are vacationeering again, this time in the wilds of southwestern South Dakota.
We have seen much of what there is to see in this neck of the woods, some of it impressive, some of it interesting and okay, and some of it pretty much for the touristas.
We are staying across the road from this place. Trust me. If I had known, and if it was open for the season? We would have so been there! Look at the Drive-In! Can you not see the 'Fred Flintstone foot-y-type cars' lined up? I told the Guy when we were debating on dinner last night that if that place was open? Dinosaur ribs would be the ticket...the ones that tip over the car...
And the bowling alley. Here there are cars of the modern variety parked in front, probably for some maintenancing activity. Or maybe they are having fun that we want to have, but can't!
So anyway. Things we can and have done. Seen the Famous Faces.
Seen the begging burros of Custer State Park. They are really a bit intimidating. We did not feed them, being trained as we are in all manner of not feeding the wildlife. However we heard from others that once fed, they don't withdraw their head from the car unless otherwise distracted.
I have seen many types of crossing signs in my years, but this one? I made Wonderful Guy turn around. Which he did. Because he is wonderful, and because it intrigued him as well. Does it mean that it is a 'slow turtle' crossing? Or slow down....because turtles are crossing?
These are hard questions...
The sign is located in Custer State Park, where most of the animals that live there now are not native species. The elk are Rocky Mountain Elk, which were shipped in after the Manitoba Elk were wiped out. Likewise, the Big Horn sheep are Rocky Mountains, instead of the native species which I can't remember now. There are mountain goats, too, but they were brought in because someone thought they would make for nice 'show and tell (and probably hunting)' up above one of the lodges...and the bison had to re-introduced. Of course. Similar with the prong horns. The herd was teetering on oblivion in the early part of the century until 20 bottle fed babies boosted the population.
The burros are from a herd that used to cart tourists up one of the peaks in the north part of the park. The herd was...just released.
Obviously there are no wolves or bears (black or grizzlies) and have not been since the 1880's.
I spent a good part of a past Sunday working with the alpaca and Jacob handspun that I thought I would dye. I had mumbled and muttered through what colors I was going to try (dark orange for the Jacob, and orchid for the alpaca, and finally got off dead center.
At the end of the day, I had dyed the alpaca dark orange. Being more brownish, I felt it would do better, and the Jacob which was intending to be orchid (one part fuchsia, one part turquoise) turned out blue.
Not really a problem. Orchid was a nice thought, but orchid schmorchid....I love blue.
What was a problem was that I dyed the six skeins of each fiber in 2 skein batches in the dedicated apparatus (otherwise known as the avocado green crockpot) and the batches? Well, I tried to do it precisely and scientifically and all, but…well, separate dye lots are not equal dye lots….as it were.
The next evening, thinking what I needed to do was overdye each fiber as a whole batch, I hauled my blue enamel canning pot up from the basement. And dusted it off. The dye bath was prepared using the same colors as before, and this time the process resulted in a consistent color. The only variation is due to the original shading of the fiber.
The dark orange dye exhausted almost completely which means the dyed yarn was left setting in almost clear water. The blue did not. My research leads me to think this is typical of the fuchsia and turquoise dyes. They are powerful dyes! The rinsing after dyeing resulted in almost completely clear water, so I feel the dye is set in the yarn, and that I used too much dye.
Still learning. About this and so many other things...
Interestingly, my laundry room, where I had 12 skeins of dark orange and blue (not orchid) yarn hanging? Sort of looked like there was Denver Broncos fan club thingie going one. Which is a little weird, because I am not so much one. Just sort of turned out that way….
Results? I am very pleased, and excited to pick something out of my queue to knit this stuff into.
The insurance website says the claims are paid, but I am waiting to be able to view the details.
Just to be sure. Because surely it can’t be completely done. Surely not. Not after all I have learned about how the business is done.
And what have I learned?
I have learned that ‘No pre-authorization required’ means that the charges can be denied on the back end.
I will call the insurance company for all future procedures. Beforehand. Taking names, dates, and times. I appreciate the healthcare provider’s office help. I do. I really do. But I am going to talk to a person at the insurance company. A live person. (Even if I feel that I have received some differing information depending on who I was speaking to this go-round.)
I will find out exactly what policies are used to determine if a procedure is deemed necessary.
I will hopefully receive something in writing.
If it takes longer to schedule something, so be it. Far easier waiting two weeks getting my ducks in a row, than what I have been through this past month.
Because I have, regrettably, and much to my dismay, lost sleep over this. Which is almost as aggravating as the whole situation itself.
As much as I would have liked to have believed it was all going to work out exactly as it needed to be, I found it hard to let it go, and not give it anymore thought that it deserved. And while I could let it ‘sort of’ go briefly, often, if I woke in the middle of the night, I could not shut my mind down from thinking what my next step would be.
It’s one of those areas that I had hoped that I had grown more in. But when it comes to thinking I should have done better, I didn’t do all I should have, and now it’s costing a boatload of money? I see I still have some work to do.
On the other hand?
(ETA: EOBs are up and in order. Happy dancing has officially started!)
I am close to my biking goal for the year, and hoped to have had another couple of day’s worth of miles under my belt before The Guy and I take off on our next excursion.
Not so. Not yet.
Apparently, this past weekend I had too much fun. And now I am hobbling around with calf muscles that won’t relax and hips that are saying they have seen too much of life.
I don’t know what did me in. There are options.
It might have been walking around on the concrete and asphalt jungle that was the zoo on Saturday. Concrete pathways are unforgiving on old joints. But all and one had a grand time of it.
On Sunday, we hiked a short, but quite a steep trail close to the homestead. Three and a half miles, but a thousand feet elevation gain. It’s not always the going up. Sometimes the coming down will get me in the calf muscles. It was a clear and hot day, though, and Monday was windy and chillier, so it was good to be up in the hills.
Then there was Monday. Monday evening, I played in the backyard with Grandbebe Girl. We played ‘house’ and ‘ran errands’. And by ‘ran errands’, I mean, we RAN errands. I gave no thought to what I was doing, except that she wanted me to play. I mean…because…after all…she said, ‘Grandma, let’s play!’
When was the last time I ran?
So. Here it is. Wednesday. And I am beginning to not limp. And I ask myself (and on occasion, whine to Wonderful Guy) ‘I am not terribly out of shape! How does it work that I can be in such pain!?’
Hopefully I will have some days left of commuting on Trekkie v.2 before I call the season closed for 2010.
Ask Wonderful Guy (who has been wonderful of late). I have not been cheerful. I have been overwhelmed with feelings between the insurance wars and the work situation, the latter which I really thought this past weekend I had tucked away and moved past. Then Monday past, the official announcement was made of the new full time employee, and it hit me in the gut again.
They like her better than me.
No one was playing with me on the playground.
I am in 7th grade sitting by myself in the lunchroom (only because DSis wasn’t there!).
However. When things have me down? I get busy!
I finished Twirly Skirts #2 & #3 for belated b-day presents to Grandbebe Girls Two and Bean. I finessed the waist elastic on Grandbebe Girl's to fit better as it was a shade loose, and this weekend, during the big family 'Labor Day Might Be Christmas This Year' get-together, when we were, indeed, all together, the little girls twirled...in their skirts.
There was twirling....
and running like the wind...
and looking to see....what's back there??? (It was a momma, and Grandpa Wonderful was right there next to them. My bebes were oh so safe.)
Twirly Skirt by Barefoot Knits, out of Cotton Classic and Cotton Classic II, by Tahki Yarns. (Modified from pattern to knit in the round, and complete the waist casing without seaming.)
Still fighting them. Almost seems I am fighting them on two fronts. I call the insurance company (making sure to write down names and dates and times) and find out what they need. I call the referring physician's office and ask for information to be faxed. However, they aren't owed any money in this. I think I may be losing their interest.
Nice as I am trying to be in spite of my frustration. And I admit. I am getting mighty frustrated.
Frustrating Facts of Frustration
Actual statement from benefits summary: 'Pre-authorization is not a guarantee of benefit.' [Now there is a trump card I would like to hold.]
Three 'customer advocates' (also file under Ironic Irony) have told me my procedure 1) required pre-authorization, 2) an initial phone said it didn't, but a 2nd phone call (that a mind reader would have known to make) (my interpretation) would have told us a pre-authorization was needed, 3) a pre-authorization wasn't required.
A 2nd denial (received this week) is based on the fact that the best way to deal with one of 'these' is not an MRI but a biopsy. I call to make sure it is understood we are dealing with nine. 9. NINE! (Incidentally, up from five, found six months before.) Yep. They see that. Biopsies should have been the order of the day.
That according the state insurance commissioners office, to the best of my understanding? They are within their rights. And basically can do whatever they want. And get away with it. (Because why should they fear me?)
Insurance wants family medical history to be faxed from referring physician. Same family medical history that I gave to referring physician. Verbally. But you know. It's more…legit…coming from me, through him, to them….
Those I talk to at the insurance company are called 'customer advocates'. I don't feel like anyone is advocating for anything on my behalf. AT ALL.
Thank the universe and all the powers that be that this procedure proved that nothing was amiss and the nines masses are just hanging out, chatting it up, and playing pinochle, or whatever it is that they do on their off hours. BUT. If something had been all goofy in there…would I be jumping through these hoops, or would that have proved that this was a necessary procedure? Gosh! What a relief to not have to worry about all of this? Just to worry…you know…about having health issues!!!
Resulting in…the feeling that this has 'red-flagged' me with these people. That no further claim with these people will ever go smoothly ever again. And that with that trump card? Why should I ever trust that any claim will ever be paid?
I truly believe it is not just healthcare reform that is required. It is health insurance reform that is required as well.
Because this is just not right.
As I have told my sisters, I feel like a five year old at a grown up's table, learning the rules to Canasta. Except I only have an old half a deck of Old Maid, and the grown ups? They aren't friendly and keep changing the rules and lying to me.
Which brings the question, 'why do I blog?' Because I don't want to be obligated to blog.
I want to blog.
I have a bunch of hooey going on right now and not feeling particularly cheerful. That would spill over in a post. Which brings another question, 'what do I blog about?' I don't necessarily want to harsh and rant and rave and spill all over with my personal crap. Unnecessarily so, that is.
I strive to be an honest blogger, though.
Iron Needles is read by some close relative and family members, some friends, and some internet acquaintances, who have become friends, and some I know only by their general locations as they show up on my tracking software. And I know that isn't even an exact science, as when I happen to check on something from work? It will show up as a NY location as opposed to Colorado! And that begs yet another question of appropriateness of content, which my daughters may believe I crossed in the post about their grandmother's man-friend.
There needs to be balance in my blog.
And while I like to think I can take some snazzy photos of the particularly beautiful part of the world I live in, and while I like to think I can turn an interesting, and sometimes humorous phrase, I understand I can rely on neither writing nor photography to totally carry this undertaking. Moderation is the name of this blog. (Well, not really. It's Needles of Iron....)
"What I see, What I've been taught, What I've learned, What amazes me..."
I came up with that 'sub-title' two years and 8 months ago, and in reviewing it, I think I will leave it alone. It still works as a guide. This blog is mine, for me (to do with as I want), with respect to my audience (as it is, and as I understand it to be), for me to stretch my writing muscles (for what they are worth), discussing , observations, life, and accomplishments.
And for those still around, thanks for sticking with me through my August dry spell.