Thursday, October 28, 2010


Mel, “cool” tee-shirts is/are a brilliant idea, which I shall make use of. Especially as it can be employed for those most difficult members of my list, young teen-aged boys whose interests and expertise lie entirely in the field of computer gaming.

And, Angel, my husband has those very slippers, and is equally devoted to them. Alexander and Ketki wanted to give him slippers one Christmas, and I said – how did I know? – order those, from LLBean. It was obvious that they wouldn’t come in time; Alexander and Ketki would have given up and gone for British slippers. I said no, persevere. So on Christmas day all my husband had was the description cut out from the Bean catalogue but later he got the slippers.

Christmas has always been a big thing in my husband’s family. It’s hard work, but it’s the price that has to be paid for returning light and the coming of spring. One of my few efficiencies in life is to keep a spreadsheet of what I give whom. Most of the columns are now suppressed, to make room on the screen for the last three years. And some of the rows are hidden, too, as people drop off the perch. I’ve started the 2010 column. Just contemplating it helps.

Yesterday I remembered EZ’s hats in Knitting Without Tears: they are practically instantaneous, and there are some people on the list who haven’t had too much knitting lately. I’ve got a brioche watchcap of my own, and am fond of it. One has to fiddle with stitch numbers, if one’s stash contains nothing as huge as Sheepsdown. I knit the snail hat once and the result was about big enough to fit a snail.

Amedro shawl

Here is a progress report:

The odd thing is how I don’t seem to accomplish any more rows-per-evening, now that individual rows are so short. Never mind; I am progressing nicely. Now there is only one column of patterning left in the wings, and I am half-way through the penultimate repeat of it. The centre pattern remains demanding, but I’ve got hold of it.


I do not at all understand poor Annie's struggles with health insurance (just as I have never understood much about American health). I thought Obama's much-maligned reform meant that everybody had to buy insurance, and that insurance companies couldn't turn you down for pre-existing conditions. Clearly not so, on either count.


  1. Always glad to see you back Jean. You are certainly making progress on the Amedro. We finally got a frost here, which is very very late. So soon I'll have to dig the potatoes, clear out the beds and get them ready for winter. If I am feeling ambitious, I may plant garlic. And t-shirts are just the thing, it sounds like. I may start shopping.

  2. Anonymous1:34 PM

    The new American health care program won't go into effect fully until 2014, although some smaller parts of it are already in effect.

    American health insurance companies are private companies, and like most private companies, can pretty much set their own rules and prices. One very common rule is that they won't cover any "pre-existing" condition. So if you have asthma, say, they will not cover that, at least for some amount of time, though they would cover any new injuries/diseases. And since they can set their own rates, well, the sky is literally the limit. And they are not required to cover everyone - so if they feel someone is too much of a risk of expensive payouts, they can reject your application.

    I know many are not happy with the planned new system, but the old system definitely needed to be changed.


  3. Ah, Christmas presents... I always make a list in my current diary, because I can then tick people off when I catch my breath on a shopping trip. My main problem is how to keep track the children of nephews and nieces ... what they would find acceptable at their age. Recently, subscriptions to LoveFilm and cinema tokens have hit the spot.

  4. Linda1:02 AM

    Ok, a snail hat that fits a snail made me chuckle.

    And maybe I am cynical in my old age here, but how can someone (Annie)afford to go to Italy, but not pay for anti-depressants?

  5. Even with health insurance things can be quite expensive. I have bad allergies and a severe allergy to bee stings... anyway when I was a grad student at Duke I had so-called "Cadillac insurance" (meaning the best kind of coverage you can buy in America.) And yes, it was good insurance, but when I needed to buy my Epi-Pen (which is the adrenaline shot that you use to counter a severe reaction, which I carry now in case of a bee sting) I remember it costing me $75 dollars. For one shot. And that was with the insurance covering part of the cost. I asked the pharmacist why, and he said "well, because of how the insurance classifies it.." and this for something I have to have, I have no choice. Without it, if a bee stings me and I don't get help in five minutes, I could die.... So the American system has way of nickle and dimeing you...

  6. Anonymous6:44 AM

    I am retired after a 27-yr. career with a major U.S. health insurance company, and I must disagree with most of Beverly's comments. U.S. Insurance companies must operate under the insurance laws of the state in which they do business. (And those laws vary from state to state.) They do not have "free rein" to charge whatever they wish in premiums or to cover (or not cover whatever they wish). Not all health insurance policies have a pre-existing condition clause, although individual policies do and they are medically underwritten. The premise for a pre-existing condition clause is to prevent people (whether on a group policy or an individual policy) from applying for and paying premiums on health insurance only when they are seriously ill or injured. The cost of medical care is expensive, due in part to advances in technology, the high cost of medical malpractice insurance, and people living longer (due to technology). I wish that all people who scream about the state of U.S. healthcare/health insurance could work for just 6 months as an insurance underwriter. I think it would be a sobering experience for those people to see the premium paid in versus the claims dollars paid out in any given year. Many of these same people are the ones who scream about being over-taxed in the future. I, too, wish that every person in the U.S. had health coverage. But the cost of coverage has to come from somewhere, and there is no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, so who is going to pay for this coverage?

    Sorry, Jean and everybody else, I'll get off my soapbox now.

    Mary G. in Texas

  7. One thing that suddenly struck me reading Annie's blog post was that having to stop taking anti-depressants this summer might explain some of the things that have been said about her manner teaching classes in Stirling - and also her reactions to the comments.

    The NHS is one of the things I really do thank God for, and pray that our leaders mean it when they say it's safe in their hands.

  8. There's also the fact that Annie could have gone to a UK doctor while in Stirling and got an emergency prescription very easily, and only had to pay the cost of the drugs, if that. And that cost should be covered by her travel insurance, unless she was daft enough not to have taken it out. The Stirling University medical centre would have been the obvious stop for an emergency prescription I would have thought. During the summer they're not exactly busy.

  9. Once again I am so glad I live in Canada.
    I am very happy to pay my taxes to receive key services.
    In late August my father became ill. We could go to emergency and he could be admitted to hospital without the hospital asking anything about insurance or payment.
    We were charged a total of $45 for the ambulance, which was reimbursed by his former employer's extended insurance.

    I think the Amedro shawl will be very striking indeed. Is a special lamp required to work with the dark yarn?