Monday, November 30, 2009

One of my favorites

i carry your heart by e e cummings

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)

i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Yeah, yeah, it goes to 11

I've had my doubts about the pain rating scale that doctors use for quite awhile. If you've seen a doctor in the past 8 years or so for anything pain-related, you've seen it.

Image 1: Happy smiling face at 1, crying sad face at 10.

NPR even had a story a week ago about what a breakthrough this was on helping people manage their pain. Um, ok. If I'm discussing pain with a doctor, it's at least a 5, or I'd be at home, drinking tea on the couch. Anyone who says 10 is either addicted to painkillers (and hoping to score more) or lacking in imagination.

Let's take that old standard, childbirth, as a ten. Well, what if you were giving birth and someone started stabbing you repeatedly in the foot? While splashing boiling water on you? And pulling out chunks of your hair? You'd feel silly then, wouldn't you. You'd already self-reported your pain at the top of the scale.

So, under the premise that "It could always be worse" (my personal rallying cry), let's just save 9 and 10 for wartime and torture. So we've now shrunk the useable part of the pain scale from 5-8. That's not much of a range.

All this to say I have pleurisy. After my usual hemming and hawing, I gave it a 6.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Did I mention that UnitedHealthcare sucks?

Yeah, the problem with giving free tote bags to people when you give crap service is that they might, I dunno, change them. And carry them all over town. A lot. (previous post on UHC saga with advice)

So, UHC lied and said they paid those 3 speech therapy sessions from November 2008. As in, a year ago. The last several times I talked to them they said, "You no longer have coverage with us." And I said, "No shit. I'm still trying to get you to pay for something that every person I've spoken with at UHC says we should be covered for under our gap exception FROM LAST YEAR."

So I heard a rumor that the insurance companies hate it when you file a complaint with the state's Department of Insurance (
Illinois). I hear there's loads of paperwork. So tomorrow is my last call to UHC.

Thanks to the power of Twitter, here's just a few of the dates when I've tried to get these claims fixed:

  • I'm on hold with United F'ing HealthCare.
    9:43 AM Jul 27th
  • Can NOT believe that UHC still hasn't paid 3 Easter Seals bills from November. Q: Could they possibly suck more? A: No.
    7:10 AM Jul 27th
  • UHC rejected our 3 claims from November 2008 *again*. They once again assured me that they will be corrected this time! No, really!
    9:28 AM Jul 30th
  • On phone with UHC about those 3 November charges AGAIN. Do NOT use UHC if you have a choice! #UHC sucks
    11:59 AM Sep 4th
  • Look at me! On phone with United Health"Care"! Again! Person telling me how it's probably my fault November dates not processing. #UHC sucks
    10:05 AM Sep 14th
  • Just wrapped up a call with United Health"Care" regarding those same! 3 November! dates. Feel strangely optimistic that they might fix them.
    9:52 AM Sep 21st

We've had BCBS for a year now. It's been fantastic.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Next two book club selections

First up for December: Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger. I've already read it, so that frees me up to finish some other giant piles of books next to my bed.

For January, it's The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I've heard good things -- looking forward to it.

There are many remarkable things about our group. My favorite one, though, is that none of us scrapbook. That's probably why we get along so well.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Vantage Lite - tips on getting started

We finally had our first training on the Vantage Lite last week. It was very helpful, but really the biggest take-away from the 2.5 hours was one simple thought. If most language is based on the same 400 words used over and over (and it is) and that core vocabulary is in the talker already and fairly easy to navigate with some practice … then why are we assuming we need to program in the specific nouns for Nea's science unit?

The example given was, don't point to a picture of an apple and ask the child, "What is this?" and they go off and find the button and press "Apple". Instead, ask questions around that picture that uses core vocabulary as the answers. So I decided immediately that I had to experiment with Nea and her talker. I went home and asked her to tell me everything she knows about penguins.

What color are they? (black, white)
What do they eat? (goldfish crackers - har! and fish)
What do they like to do? (swim)
What would you wear if you were visiting them? (swimsuit)

Then we found the penguin button, too, but we'd used the talker so much before we even did that. It was fun, and she enjoyed it, and I hope doing activities like this will help her realize that the whole world is pretty much in that box. She just needs to learn how to use it more.

Because, you see, the talker is difficult in many ways, but the hardest for us is that Nea can talk a little. It's hard for her to decide to go through the effort of figuring out how to say something on the talker when she might be able to get her point across to us by speaking. This will resolve itself in one of two ways, of course. Either her speaking will improve to the point where she doesn't need a talker. Or her talker skills will increase to the point where it's not such an effort to say something.

Today I took some online training with the woman who developed the software we are using, WordPower. The most useful part of today's session was seeing how powerful the Vantage Lite can be once Nea is more literate. The word prediction is especially helpful. If you know how to read.

A couple links:
It looks like most of them are geared toward Unity, which is the software the Vantage Lite comes with. But what's a little customization.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


My parents are back from Europe, and they brought us (reverent voice) Luxemburgerli. Yes, apparently they love us. Sadly, they did not bring us enough Luxemburgerli. Because there is no such thing. There are never enough. It's the heartbreak of Luxemburgerli, really.

Many Spr√ľngli locations, but only in Switzerland. Big big sigh....
Now I'm just torturing myself. Ugh, so awful! Wah boo hoo, no more Luxemburgerli.

Monday, November 9, 2009

National Blog What Now Month?

I guess I signed up for NaBloNeMo (National Blog Neglecting Month) by accident. Instead of the better known NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month). Do not confuse either of these with NaPoBloMe, which I expect would be different. Eh, what the hell do I care.

things i do not like
yappy dogs

lukewarm baths
cottage cheese

Chrissie Hynde's voice

things I do like

movies, especially with popcorn
Peanut M&Ms
all food, really, just about*

Ira Glass's voice

*cottage cheese is not food

Monday, November 2, 2009

Tricky treat

We really do live in a wonderful town. These people were driving around giving out candy on Halloween, freezing their butts off. Sure, sure, so much for all our safety training. "Don't take candy from strangers! Don't go up to cars filled with strangers! Don't go up cars filled with strangers trying to give you candy! Don't go up cars filled with strangers trying to give you candy that are dressed up like the Munsters!"

Oooo! Free candy from strangers! I think all they heard was "blah blah blah candy! Blah candy blah blah!"