Posted in birthdays, chronic pain, depression, disability, family, friends, grief, health, life, medical, music, Personal, Science Fiction and Fantasy, society, writing

11/27: Dad, #NaNoWriMo, and Life

So, today is my dad’s birthday. If he had lived, he’d be 91. I had all these ideas for honoring him today, things I was going to do on the anniversary of his passing, but then decided to do them today. Namely, I was going to go to Ace Hardware and the music store to get some sheet music. Those things primarily because going to Ace was a tradition when I was a kid. I followed my dad everywhere. Especially when working on the house and getting supplies for working on it.

The music store because he was so excited when I said I wanted to save up for a piano. He really wanted me to get back to my music. He died before he saw me get my piano, but getting some sheet music would be fitting.

But coming out of Safeway, my knee gave out and is still hurting an hour or so later, so I need to do as little walking as possible the rest of the day. I figure the honoring will be in doing the two tasks I have that are finishing items the clients couldn’t do. And writing. No matter what we talked about, he always asked about my writing. If I had stalled, he always told me to never give up, to never stop writing because I was too good at it.

This year, for NaNoWriMo, I’m struggling. Maybe it’s from the stress of my current life situation, but it’s been difficult. I can still do it, but it’s going to take a lot of work the next few days. Right now, I’m sitting in a Starbucks downtown with a couple more hours to kill before I head to my other task today. Oh, and a knee that’s swearing at me for existing. I need a gym membership but can’t afford it. I know there isn’t much they can do for my knee. I need to strengthen my leg muscles, especially my thighs where the muscles/tendons connect to my kneecaps.

But enough medical/health crap…

Back to writing and general stuff…

~A

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Posted in activism, anxiety, community, depression, faith, family, friends, grief, homeless, housing, life, poetry, society, urgent, writing

11/18: Feeling Broken

Something happened today.
Something that ripped me to pieces.
I want to believe there are humans
Who understand what being
HUMAN
Is like.
What being
HOMELESS
Is like.
My day was okay.
Except one brief moment.
That formed a black cloud
Over my head.
My soul is soaked through.
My heart and mind
Need to be wrung out.
The cloud weighed me down.
I wonder now.
Who among us
Has compassion?
A safe place for a woman and her cat?
When the world buckles underneath you,
Who do you turn to when it makes you fall?
When the help you need the most is not the help family can give you?
Where do you go?
When you scream for help, but there is
None to be found.
~A.
November 2017

Posted in dreams, faith, family, grad school, grief, individuality, life, Personal, storage, writing

2017: Dear Dad

Three years. I miss you. I always will. It hasn’t been an easy three years. I’ve struggled with grad school, finding work, and am now homeless. I know what you would say if we could talk on the phone. “Hang in there.” “You’ll sort it out.” That’s how you were.

The day I’m actually writing this (11/7) is the anniversary of the day I last talked to you on the phone. I called you in the morning before heading off to OryCon. I insisted on figuring out a way to get down to CA to see you for Christmas. One more visit. You said to not worry if I couldn’t… that we’d have phone calls and it was okay with you. You asked how my finances were doing and I said I’d be okay, but January might be tight. You said you’d see what you could do to help.

But you never were able to. And I wasn’t going to get one more Christmas with you.

That next evening, while I was at OryCon having dinner with friends, you passed away. We were notified the next morning. I had just finished my morning shift at the store (unlike you, I’ll never be a morning person) and checked my messages.

My world -the one where you were my lifeline, my cheerleader, my rock- turned upside down. I was just finishing up my first semester of grad school. Finally making progress in my life. I had my cheerleader a phone call away. And then you were gone.

I want, more than anything right now, to be able to pick up the phone and hear your voice. Knowing what you would say isn’t enough. Hearing them from you would mean the world to me.

You always joked that it was up to me and Bud to get the rest of the family into heaven. I always responded with, “Dad, it doesn’t work that way.”

“Oh, I’m sure you two will figure it out.”

Honestly, knowing you as I do, I don’t think you had any problems getting through those gates. Bud joined you a few months later. I’m sure the two of you are sitting on a bench somewhere, watching over me and everyone else.

Still want to hear your voice, though.

Tomorrow, I’ll see about picking up some sheet music. You were so excited about me getting back to my music. And maybe hit Ace Hardware. Not the same one you took me to as a kid, but my favorite one here in Portland. Maybe I’ll find solace in going places and getting things you would want for me. I can’t go play my piano. It’s in storage and needs an outlet. I told you I’d get an electric one.

I miss you. Always will. But I’m going to do my best to live my life as you would want me to live it. No holding back. Never settle and never give up on my dreams.

~A

Posted in cats, creativity, dreams, family, grad school, life, nanowrimo, Personal, Science Fiction and Fantasy, writing

11/3: NaNoWriMo: WTF am I doing??

Yeah… three shorter tales. Below is what I put on my NNWM profile for this years’ work. Intel Reports may get a title change… potentially DisPATCHES from Earth… but we’ll see. Mausi is the historical piece. I’m expanding upon a short-short I wrote for the Writer’s Games in 2016. I loved the characters… still do. Something about the bond between grandmother and granddaughter. Maybe for me it’s to do with the fact that I never knew my maternal blood grandmother (she died when my mom was young) and barely knew my paternal grandmother (but we had a bond nonetheless… she passed away when I was 6). I find the bond spanning generations to be fascinating and wonderful. What I do remember of my dad’s mom was a woman who loved me and wasn’t afraid to say so. I still miss her 40 years later.

So an “orphaned” young teen trapped on a transport ship with no human contact; feline reports about trying to make contact with humans; and a tale spanning decades and generations. Yup… I have my hands full. Plus school and everything else.

******

In Between (YA SF): Trapped on a transport ship, Leyna is now a young teen, having grown from infancy unwanted back on Earth due to reasons she doesn’t understand, and is unsure of why the destination colony hasn’t accepted their ship. While the older passengers have been in stasis, she was saved from death and sent to the colony. During her time in a specialized stasis chamber that allowed her to grow and thus learn by subconscious transmission, she has come to understand that she is “different” and the colony is little more than a fancy prison.

As she reaches the age of 13, she is able to leave the chamber and learn more about the ship and her fellow passengers. What she learns and what she realizes about herself forces her to make decisions that could cost her her life, and those of her fellow passengers.

*************************************

Intel Reports (Comic SF. in progress name): We all know it. Cats are smart. Little do humans know, but they’re really an alien race that has sent several intel operatives to figure out if humans are ready to handle becoming part of the Universal Consortium.

One problem: They can’t seem to communicate with the Felines. A few manage to get close, but their sentences are gibberish. This Tail of Time is made of reports from operatives throughout time. From the Egyptians to modern humans in the 21st Century. Reports from the Front Lines of First Contact.

***************************************

Mausi (Historical Fiction): Mausi is the nickname for 10 year old Anelie Scheer, but only her grandmother, Annika “Oma” Siegel is allowed to call her that. It’s the eve of the fall of the Berlin Wall, a wall that separated Oma from her beloved husband, Erich, after the end of WWII. The rumors of the wall coming down bring Annika to reminisce about her marriage and the hope of Erich still being alive. She wonders if he remembers her.

**************************************

~A

Posted in activism, bigotry, community, family, history, life, politics, society

9/25: Silence

This part of Simon & Garfunkel’s Sound of Silence struck me as powerful at this point in time. While many younger people may know Disturbed’s version better (which is the one I’m listening to on repeat on iTunes), I know both, hence referring to as S&G’s song.

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening

You may already be onto what I’m referring to.

The NFL and others in silent protest.

It started with Kaep a year ago. I’m a die-hard Niner’s Girl, but I’m still pissed off at the owner for releasing one damn good player because of some controversy. Controversy over Kaep doing something GOOD. (He needs his damn job back.)

Here’s the thing that I know a bunch of (fellow white) people aren’t grasping about the whole protest: It isn’t about the flag or the anthem. It isn’t insulting to servicemen and women. They fought for our right to protest.

So, what was Kaep protesting? And what many others in the NFL and other sports are now doing?

The extreme violence and senseless deaths of PoC, namely black men and children.. sometimes women. And all, or nearly all, by police officers. You know, the people who swear to -serve and protect the community- … and yet they kill PoC. What far too many of them are using as their defense is that they feared for their lives or they thought the 8 year old had a real gun. Or any other number of really lame excuses.

My opinion of officers being afraid -so afraid that they shoot a child who clearly has a toy, or an adult PoC running away from them- that they shoot to kill, not maim is that if they’re so damn afraid of getting hurt by a child with a toy gun or someone running from them, then they do NOT belong on any police force.

I want to look at the training practices between US police departments and other countries. This will take some time. But I have a distinct feeling I already know the answer: police in the US do not get enough well-rounded training.

So, back to Kaep and all the other players who took a knee this past weekend. While there have been a few here and there, it wasn’t until 45 (and if you don’t know who 45 is, get out from under your rock) publicly insulted Kaep, his mother, and every person who has supported Kaep’s mission. Don’t you dare insult these men. Men and women vastly better than you (45) fought and some even died for the rights stated in the Constitution. And men much better than you (45 again) are taking a knee in silent protest against the senseless and needless deaths of PoC in this country at the hands of police.

There are some who are angry at Kaep and the others for their silent protests. But these are the same people who get pissed off when protesters stand in the streets… when they hold legal, permitted rallies and hold signs… You want them to not be so loud, but when they do a silent protest, you still get angry. Why?

Could it be that you are racist and refuse to admit it? Quite likely. You want them to not speak up at all. To be subservient and quiet and do as they’re told… right? Admit it.

I know people like you. I was raised by a person like you. I chose to do the opposite. I chose to fight for equality. For true civil rights for everyone. No special treatment, just equal treatment.

If their protests make you uncomfortable, then they’re making their point. And your uncomfortability over being stuck in traffic, or watching football players kneel instead of stand for the anthem, is a tiny price to pay compared to the blood of black children and adults being spilled in the streets for nothing more than racist fear. If you are uncomfortable with these protests, then you need to check yourself in the mirror. A racist will be looking back at you in your reflection.

My father served this country. His brothers, his father and uncles as well. My mother’s brothers-in-law served as well. I have cousins and friends who have served. If my dad were alive today, I think he would be proud of Kaep.

All voices need to be heard. Even the silent ones.

People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening

Kaep and others are talking… will you listen?

~A

Posted in activism, anxiety, bugaboos, chronic pain, crowdfunding, emergency, family, health, homeless, life, medical, Personal, politics, storage, urgent

9/20: Round 3: #Healthcare, ##GrahamCassidy & #crowdfunding Life

Yes, still on the non-violent warpath to get storage covered before auction. As of this post, I have $609 and need to hit a total of 1025 (plus yet another damn lock, which is $15 or so) before Noon Thursday the 21st…. tomorrow. Preferably today before 6pm Pacific (3.5 hours) so I can sleep easier. So a little over $400 needed. Small donations, large donations… I’m not gonna be picky. I don’t expect any one person to cover the rest… but any little bit helps.


While I am merely crowdfunding to keep my belongings safe from auction while I’m homeless, others out there have to do the same for things like medical and vet bills. Vet bills, I can understand as pet insurance isn’t a huge thing still… and past a certain age of the pet, you can’t get it (at least what I looked at years ago). It isn’t required and it is somewhat affordable. Human healthcare, however, is not affordable. And now, here in the U.S., it is a requirement.

Only now, for the umpteenth time in less than 12 months, the GOP is trying to yank our coverage out from under our collective feet. They’re like the little kid who refuses to listen to “mom” and not put their toys in the microwave and setting it for 10 minutes.

Fool me once, shame on me; fool me twice, shame on YOU. 

Why? Why do they do this? Because they can and because it was “that black dude” us Liberals voted into office for two terms who got the ACA passed. Is the ACA perfect? No. Was Obama perfect? No. But when it came to a number of things, he still did a lot better than the GOP is now. The latest bill to repeal the ACA and kill off American Citizens access to coverage for millions of people. GOP Cruelty at it’s finest ugliest.

If we had the money, I say we form our own superpac or similar and lobby the ever-loving shit out of them, luring them away from Big Pharma (who does some good, but not as much as they’d like us to think), billionaires, and the like. I get it, they want to keep their money. But they’re risking the lives of those who do pay their taxes.

I have a say in this. While my senators are working to fight the GOP insanity, there are too many who don’t listen to their citizens.

One of my many health issues right now is cluster(fuck) headaches. Not much can be done for them and even narcotic pain meds weren’t very effective at even knocking the pain down more than a notch or two on the pain scale. So I was frustrated. It renders me unable to do much of anything. Doctor on Monday suggested oxygen therapy. I had no clue if it would work. At that moment, the pain was lower, so I didn’t bother. But it returned with a vengeance shortly after and I went back yesterday to try it.

It fucking helped. The pain went from a 9 down to a 3 and then I was able to take Aleve (I have prescription strength at 500mgs) and knock it down completely. I still have a few twinges of pain here and there. Now comes the hard part: Getting my insurance (OHP+/Medicaid) to cover a tank for home therapy. The doctor/clinic will be going to bat for me and hopefully get it covered. I had wondered why I never heard of this option before. I thought that maybe it was a new thing. But then I looked it up. Nope. They’ve known about this since the 1930’s. Holy shit.

A friend of mine from the UK said it’s used over there and is one of the first things tried. That’s when it hit me: Big Pharma. Like I said above, they do a lot of good. I’m pro-vaccine, etc… just got my flu shot even… but this is my theory about why this therapy isn’t offered. Pharmaceutical companies would rather you be pumped full of their drugs first. Oxygen therapy isn’t lucrative, after all.

So, back to crowdfunding and the financial burden of human healthcare…

I had sub-sub-sub-par health insurance back in 2008 when I landed in the hospital with Cellulitis. After it was all said and done, and after my bone-break a year later (patella… that was fun to explain to the doctors), I was over $60K in debt. JUST medical debt. I had about $5K in consumer debt… I ended up filing for bankruptcy in 2013. I had to. There were no other options.

When the only options if your uninsured or underinsured are bankruptcy or crowdfunding, the immediate future looks dreary. There’s no way I could have crowdfunded 60K. Not a chance in Hell. Changing my name and moving to Ecuador sounded really good there for a while. But I stayed.

I have a friend who live in an assisted/independent care facility. Her fiance moved in and then was diagnosed with a form of dementia. They moved into an Assisted unit, but his dementia is already beyond what they can do. They were not going to get married because it affected certain financial and medical insurance arrangements, but now that he’s in a different facility, they will be. There are a vast number of reasons why, but I won’t go into them here. The reason I do mention their story is that for two people in need of a senior facility, being legally married should never have a negative impact on their Medicare or Disability.


I’ve seen rallying cries of “Medicare for ALL!” recently. Here’s my take and then I’ll go on my merry way. I watched from a distance as my father struggled with caring for my mother in her last weeks. Hospice had been set up, but they struggled to find a bed for her. After weeks of home care and searching, a bed was finally procured in a facility where they lived (and where I grew up). She was admitted on a Sunday or Monday. On Wednesday, my dad was informed that, DESPITE BEING AT END OF LIFE, she would be discharged Saturday because MEDICARE only covered 6-7 days. My dad, the doctor, and a few others scrambled to get my mother on Medicaid (Medical, technically, as they were in CA) in time. They got it Friday. She passed away a few days later.

I don’t agree with “Medicare for All” mostly for that issue. I say expand MedicAID, include some of the good parts of Medicare, and make it one giant Single-Payer service. Cut the insurance companies out, except for possibly dental and other secondary services (vision, for example).


This is one of my longest posts yet. I don’t normally go over 1000 words on here. But medical care is a big issue with me. And the GOP want to take mine away. The very coverage that handles my dental, my physical therapy (when needed), women’s services, medications that I couldn’t otherwise afford but help me function, and the list goes on.

Call your senators, especially if they’re GOP. Help them understand who is really getting hurt with this mess. Let them know that their constituents refuse to be silenced.

~A

Posted in chronic pain, community, crowdfunding, family, health, life, medical, Personal, storage

9/17: #crowdfunding and pain

Yes, #crowdfunding still. About halfway (I think). Please use PP donate button. 

There may be typos today. This is why: back around 1997, I got a headache that stuck with me for 2 1/2 months.  Ever since then, I get the same kind every couple of months and they last from 2 days to 2 weeks. Back in 2006, I took notes tracking them. After every other menstrual cycle…. SLAM!! I got hit. I went on birth control to manage them. It has helped. Until Thursday. 

The pain showed up, backed down a little with meds, but nothing is helping now. Pressure points, meds, nothing. 

Admittedly, I’m a week away from my next Depo shot. The other factor is that they may amplify with the very distinct possibility that I’m in perimenopause (premenopause for those not used to the new term). 

Well, I may go in early to the clinic for something else that’s bugging me (rash in places I ain’t mentioning publicly). So I may bring up the headache. 

This isn’t just “some headache” … this is a debilitating pain encompassing the right side of my head. Always the right side. 

I had plans this weekend… shit ain’t happening. The pain scale is inaccurate for me. What a 10 is for average people, is more like a 5 for me. This headache is about a 9 for me. It would send most others to the ER. I used to call it a migraine, but it isn’t. It’s closer to a Cluster Headache. With a little tension thrown in. I swear I’m gonna start calling it a Clusterfuck Headache. See if that makes the doctor laugh.

***

In other “news…” 

If my mother were still alive (passed in 2013), she would be turning 88 today.

***

~A

Posted in chronic pain, community, crowdfunding, depression, family, friends, grief, health, life, Personal, storage

7/29: Paying It Forward & Other Things…

Storage: Yeah… still need a little help with storage. The ongoing task I’m doing won’t pay the first round in time, so it’ll help for August, but not July. I’ll tally up and see what exactly I need tomorrow. But payment has to be in by 6pm tomorrow Pacific Time. (I’ve had to use some for food, as I ran out of FS funds, but I’m guessing between 60-100 or so, once you add in the late fees.)

Shit… I need cat litter soon… like SOON. Also, cans of food for her. I swear, if I could have a public wishlist on Chewy, I would. But I talked to them and they don’t have anything like that.

Paying It Forward: After friends, and even a few strangers, stepped up to help me get my stuff packed up and into storage during my eviction, I felt I needed to pay it forward in some way. I don’t always have the emotional or physical strength to do a lot. But helping a friend move between units in a retirement building was manageable. I spent yesterday and today helping move stuff and some furniture between floors. Most of what’s going into the new place is done. Still a few things to get done and moved down, but maintenance will be able to help.

We all have limitations. Some of us have good days where our limitations don’t affect us as much (although what we do on those good days may lead to some ugly days shortly after). This weekend has been a pair of those good days for me. It’s funny to me that I look at my own belongings and be mentally paralyzed… meaning I look at it and just don’t know how to tackle it. But then I look at someone elses’ things and I’m all, “okay, so this can go here, and we can load that, and go ahead and put that on there. No, that won’t fit that way…” you get the idea.

My friend I helped this weekend has Fibromyalgia among other health issues. Her limitations are far greater than mine. I certainly have my days where even fixing dinner and sitting upright is a challenge, but give me a task and a tight deadline and I’m in a mindset of “pain? what pain? oh, THAT pain… nah… I’ll deal with it later.” I am sore right now. That’s what happens. And besides, those desks weren’t that heavy. Once the drawers were out, they were pretty light. I can deal with the aftereffects. Helping someone move from one studio to another in a short time is worth the pain I’ll have.

Losing People: I’ve faced my own mortality on more than one occasion. It sucks. But I’m not afraid of it. Others are. Something I’ve never understood. It is inevitable, so why fear it? A friend and former coworker passed away recently. She wasn’t a young woman, but not pushing 100 either. She passed away quietly in her sleep. Losing friends and family over the years -of all ages- is something I ponder on. Everyone has their own way of doing things. My parents were “no fuss” types (even though I still want to have the ceremony and have their ashes interred in a military cemetery as my dad was a WWII Vet. It’s just a matter of getting them from a certain person in the family. Long, ugly story). Then there are others who do various celebrations of life and a funeral and all sorts of rituals.

What matters to me is to remember my mortality. And then celebrate the fact I’m still alive, despite staring death in the face. I may not always seem like I’m celebrating, but I am grateful to be able to wake up every day. Sometimes, that’s enough.

~A

Posted in chronic pain, community, crowdfunding, emergency, eviction, faith, family, friends, health, life, Personal, society, storage

7/29: Need & Hope #crowdfunding too

(Still scrambling to get the last of my storage rent covered… anything helps)

Ideals give us hope.
Treat others as
You
Wish to be
Treated.
Give and take.
Life is about more than just
Taking.
Help others.
As if your life
Depended on it.
Ideals of equality
The hope of sharing and love
Make us better.

(This comes out of spending a few hours helping a friend move from one independent living unit to an assisted living unit because of her fiance needing more help. For me, helping a friend who needs that help outweighs my own desire to have a day of chilling out. 

The least of us gives the most… as we know the feeling of true need.

I try my best, pushing myself beyond my limits at times, to do for others what I hope is done for anyone in need. I got help from people during my eviction. I needed to give back in some way. This working to help each other is how society should function. I see too many flaws and things not functioning as they should. I can expand on this later… right now, my back is telling me to get rest. I’m going back tomorrow.)

~A