Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy NewYears Eve

Happy New Years! So these fireworks were from Christmas Eve, but hopefully there will be another wonderful show tonight. I hope this year was a good one for you, and may the next be even better. 

Friday, December 30, 2011

Winter Park at Christmas

This Christmas we got to stay up in the mountains in Fraser CO. Christmas day was spent snowshoeing and we happened upon a moose and it's kid. It was beautiful even if the snow was a bit slushy. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Some more from the flight

Since both my flights were relatively short, I got some great photos as we didn't have to travel too high. The first photo was on the way from Dallas to San Francisco. The second photo was traveling from LA to Denver. Sunset is always beautiful from above the clouds. The third photo was from San Francisco to LA. It's always amazing to me how much and how easily it is to see the impact of humans on the landscape.

Saturday, December 17, 2011


When ever I fly, I always end up looking at all the geographic features and trying to get some photos from out of the plane's windows.

Friday, December 16, 2011

The last from this trip to San Fran.

Most of these are from nightlife, but then I had to throw in a view from my hotel window. It's such a great skyline. 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Some more from San Fran

There really were way too many fun things to do in San Fran. I need to come back and visit when I'm not at a conference.

At the conference centre there is a great merry-go-round.  Some day I'm actually going to go and see it during the day... 

Oakland hills had some great little hikes and a beautiful botanical garden. Someday I'm going to go back and actually have time to enjoy the walk through instead of jogging most of my way through it. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Some notes from my time in San Fran

While I was in San Francisco I got to go to the best thing in the world. Nightlife at the California Academy of Sciences. It was all I could have ever hoped for as a kid, and everything I wanted as an adult. The museum was turned into a club for all intents and purposes where you could get all these amazing cocktails and then go see an I-max movie. Here are just a few of the things I got to see 

Here is Claude an albino alligator. Apparently he doesn't normally move, so the fact that we got to see him swim all of 6 feet was pretty impressive.

A bit more fast pace were the sting rays and sharks. Always a lot of fun to watch, but they never seem to want to stay still enough for a photo...

This alligator gar was my favourite, mostly because I had just watched River Monsters where they fished for a whole bunch of them.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

AGU Conference in San Fran

Every year I try to go to the AGU conference in San Fran and every year I seem to miss out on taking photo of everything that I would want to... That being said, this year I think I got a few keepers. Let me know what you think. All three of them have the golden gate bridge. The first is from the bay model, the second, well that's obvious, and the third is a painting in a great pizzeria that we went to.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Getting ready for AGU

In about a weeks time I'm going to San Fran (hopefully I'll get some good pics). There is a huge conference for Earth-Space science going on. Today I finally finally finally got some new and interesting results, or at least I hope they are interesting. I really hate coding, especially in a new code (just starting to learn python). Anyway I need a coding break, so I thought I'd put up a few more pics from this fall. I hope you enjoy!

I think once I get this code working and the plots all out, I might have to take a trip to The Thirsty Scholar, because I'll be one scholar in need of a drink. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

I think this is Harvard... but I can't remember

Okay I know it is, but since I haven't been able to walk through Harvard Yard in a while I thought I might post some photos to remember what it is that we're not being allowed to see.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The wonderful T.

Having traveled a bit and living in multiple places, I have to say I love the T. I wish that all cities in the US had public transportation like Boston. For us it means that we don't need to have a car, no car insurance, and no parking spaces. This way we also get a bit more exercise as it's easier to walk to most places.  

Friday, November 25, 2011

Lazy Black Friday

So we protested Black Friday in the best way possible. We sat in old clothes and ate left overs, made bread from scratch and read used and or library books... Okay so that is the plan for most days off anyway.

I also spent the day going through some older photos and found a bunch from T's and trains. I hope you had a successful and safe Black Friday and that there were delicious leftovers aplenty.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Photos from America's First Public Beach

Although the hour long train ride was to try to get health care, I of course brought my camera and got some photos. I did not know this but the T stop at Ocean Beach on the blue line is right next to America's first public beach. It was a cloudy day and not in a good way. The whole sky was overcast and grey, but I think I still got a few good photos out of it.

How to make a Turkey...

There is some swearing in this... I also thought that it might need more wine.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

How I eventually got MassHealth

This story like many others I have come across is one of getting MassHealth sucks, but once you have it, it's amazing.

As you may have read in a previous post  I have found myself currently without work and with out the ability to afford health care. Thank goodness I live in Massachusetts! I thus qualify for MassHealth. Getting it though has been a bit of a problem... I went to one of their virtual gateways, filled out my form, read it over, signed it and was told that since I currently have no income, am not married, and have no children this will be easy. I depressing view of my current life, but at least it helps me get healthcare?

Anyway, ~4 weeks later I got a letter stating that I was declined because I am not a resident, but I am... So I tried calling many a help number given to me and was continually asked if I resided in another state at any point in time and did I receive benefits there. Yes I have lived in other states, but not currently, and no I have never received benefits before. Being asked this questions continually I started to become worried that perhaps some one had stolen my identity, but they would not tell me what state they thought I lived in or what benefits they thought I might be collecting.

I was told that I needed to file an appeal (I think, but some told me that I'd have to do this and others told me that I shouldn't) and that I should send a rental lease (which I don't have because I'm staying with friends), a utilities bill in my name (again staying with friends, not on any of the utilities, and also their rent covers all utilities anyway), or a notarised affidavit but they didn't say from whom.

In the mean time my friend was asking around to see if any one els had encountered these problems and how they got through it. Eventually he found Health care for everyone and called 1-800-272-4232. They were incredibly helpful and told him that since I was staying with him for the foreseeable future he should write an affidavit for me and then I should take it to 300 Ocean Ave, Revere, MA 02151, I believe this is the closest regional centre.

That day he went to the bank and got the affidavit notarised and the next day I took the hour plus train ride out to Ocean Ave. Once there I got a cranky women who asked me once again did I live in another state, and was I receiving benefits. I handed her the affidavit and she baulked at it saying that they couldn't accept on from a roommate, it had to be a land lord. I explained that I was told this would be acceptable and she reiterated it had to be from a landlord and added condescendingly that I should have known better then to think that they would accept one from my roommate. I then stated that in order to bring her the correct documents I needed to be told then what those correct documents where and not given false information. Was there something that I could give her then and there that would be acceptable? I had my Massachusetts drivers license, I had my US passport,  and I had my voter registration papers. She then proceeded to tell me that she had no idea why they stated that I wasn't a resident and no it did not say that I was or am a resident in any other state or receiving benefits from another state (thank goodness no identity fraud).  She finally went and asked if my roommates affidavit would be acceptable and they said yes, took it away, she came back in a huff and said that I now had health care and I needed to call this phone number the next day,  oh and I would need to provide a primary care giver good bye. And that was it according to her. I asked her where I might find a list of primary care givers and she almost exploded "I don't know call some one else". So I left. I did get some good photos though.

Since the MassHealth help lines hadn't been helpful I called the Health Care for everyone to ask where I might find a list of primary care givers. I've never had to do this before as I've been in school for my entire adult life and didn't get a choice, you just got who they gave you. I was then told that I should know better and call my private insurance plan. As far as I knew I didn't have a private insurance plan as I was now in one of the MassHealth programs, but didn't know which one. The lady then lectured me that I should get my organisations right. She did finally give me a number and informed me that I was on MassHealth Essentials, I didn't know that was one of the possible programs let alone the one that I was on. By this time I was in tears, but at least I had a bit more info.

I then called the Customer Service at 1800- 841- 2900.  Now that I had an Id number (not that I knew that I had one or what it was) the help was much better. I found out what my options were for the different groups I could go with and where to find a list of primary care givers. This I found out was a bit of a fluke, but how to play the system. Apparently one just has to keep calling, just call the same number and the same extensions over and over again until you find someone who is helpful. I thanked the girl profusely and told her how grateful I was that someone was finally willing to talk me through the entire process. I am new to the state, I didn't expect to find myself in this situation, I have never had to receive benefits before and the process was new and is very convoluted. Even though I have advanced degrees I was made to feel stupid and incompetent throughout the entire process. I don't think it was me, and I understand that the people working in the system are overworked, underpaid, and understaffed. However if you find yourself in a similar situation don't worry you are not stupid, you are not a bad person for needing this help no matter what any one implies or out right says.

My story it ends up is quiet common. According to the Health Care for Everyone employee that my friend talked to, many people are wrongly marked as not a resident. I hope that by reading this you've found some useful info and phone numbers or at least solace  in knowing that you are not the only one out there experiencing this.