Identify what is most important )0( Eliminate everything else
The idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that is wrong with the world. Dr. Paul Farmer
The suffering of others is not alleviated when no one knows about it.
There is no one right way to live. Daniel Quinn Ishmael
The only thing that you need to start an asylum is an empty room and the right sort of people.
We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be. Kurt Vonnegut

Saturday, December 29, 2012


Apparently I am as stupid as I think myself to be.

A week ago Friday I was driving home from up'nort and about five miles from home the steering wheel began to shimmy.  I got groceries, just made it to my therapy appointment, went home and stayed there until yesterday when I had therapy again.  Too ill to even take the garbage out for collection.  Just hunkered down with CoolCat and napped and had lots of tea and meds.

When I got in the car to fetch more food, the steering wheel, heck, the whole column, was rotating back and forth, more than just the little shimmy from a week ago.  It reminded me that because I had to cancel the car tune-up appointment a month ago when I became sicker, I had better reschedule whilst I was still feeling a little better.

I called, chatted with my guy there and told him what needed doing and mentioned the steering wheel movement.  He told me to stop in before running any errands and when I got there he showed me the portions of the tires where the the steel fibers were showing and explained that he could not allow me to drive with that condition, that he would replace that worst tire and do the rest at my appointment on Wednesday and sent me to the waiting area.  I knew this was serious because they were really busy.

An hour later I had four new tires.  Great.  Super.  Super-duper.  Except that even though the family that owns this dealership have been good friends for more than thirty years, they have no idea of what this past year has brought me, so he put on the kind of tires that my ex used to put on the car he drove. 

I have been putting a little money away for this car work, but I never factored in new tires and the $700 bill he gave me before I left left me speechless.  I know these people.  I totally and completely trust them.  That is why I never go anywhere else.They have never led me astray, and I know, with absolute certainty that they put on top-of-the-line tires and charged me approximately half the price at which they are usually sold.

So, I am grateful.  I have so few resources that I am unreasonably frugal when it is not in my best interest to do so.  Whilst I am not sure how long I can afford to keep this car, I have to take care of it. Me=stupid.

The tires were essential.  Had I been paying attention, I would have clearly seen that they needed prompt replacing.  Had one of them failed I might have been responsible for hurting, or even killing, other people.  Me=super-stupid.

So, I did what any frugal-minded person would do.  I paid the bill and then went shopping.  I bought enough meat to have some every day for at least two weeks, depending on when I get may appetite back.  Until then I am going to eat better food.  All this time of not doing so has been poor, and yes stupid, behavior.  I do not know how long my resolve will last, but the tires issue has been a call to attention and I am hoping for much less personal stupidity for a while.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012


I was looking for something tonight and found an article about the underbelly of Las Vegas.  Well, one of them.

Below the glittery and lavish excess that is a large part of Las Vegas there are perhaps hundreds of people who live in the flood tunnels beneath the city.  Disenfranchised, jobless, homeless, either without other resources such as family, friends or social services, or they are ill-suited or disinclined to ask for or seek help.

Gathering what they can find from dumpsters and other places of disposal, they have created a home in the tunnels, where there are clusters of inhabitants in the miles of underground space.  Residents gather neglected or abandoned money from slot machines and some other stuff which I have already forgotten.

There are dangers here.  Water collects on the floors and possessions are elevated on salvages pallets and crates.  Poisonous spiders are among the danger from predators of all kinds.  Most residents carry weapons.  No surprise there.  Apparently, as long as the residents hold it together and manage things the authorities and police sort of ignore them.  Wintertime brings the greatest threat of flooding, which is why the tunnels were constructed in the first place.  The dry desert cannot absorb the excess of water and the tunnels flood, often at a rate of a foot per minute.  Possessions are destroyed.  Lives are lost.

The first reference was a slide show, and one of the last images is of a wall where someone has written.  I have copied it here, not changing anything.

Dieing is easy
Living is hard
  1. I started out with nothing and still got most of it.
  2. We are born wet, naked and hungry.  Then things get worse.
  3. If at first you dont succeed, destoy the evidence that you tried.
  4. Consciousness:  That annoying time between naps.
  5. I used to have a open mind but my brains kept falling out.
  6. The more people I meet.  The more I like my dog.
  7. Eat right.  Stay fit.  Die anyway!
  8. I just let my mind wander and it didnt come back.
  9. I've only been wrong once and that's when I thought I was wrong.
  10. I can handle pain until it hurts.
I need more information about this.  I need to know if there are similar living circumstances here, where I live.  I know about the shelters and I am involved in finding and offering and facilitating services to the people with whom I work.  All of us doing this work are working as hard as we can, knowing that there are countless others who cannot, will not, are unable or unwilling to seek us or other services and resources.  Out of all the work we do, this aspect is among the most distressing.

My first information came from Environmental Graffiti

Matthew O'Brien is mentioned in the above link and has written a book, Beneath The Neon.  His web site is:


Dear Diary,

So, you know how when you ask someone how they are and they always say 'fine' or something like that?

Well, none of us, well, hardly any of us, a few of us do not want to burden anyone else with the crap buffet our lives can be sometimes, so we answer 'fine' should someone be so bold as to risk asking us how we are.

Anyway, my therapist always begins our sessions with asking me how I am.  I say 'fine'.  Then, she asks me to rate how I am feeling by grading it, as in A for great or B or C or D or F for really messed up.  At least she used to ask me to grade my feelings.  Thank goodness she stopped.  I guess that means she is a good therapist.  Yep.

Last week's session started the same way, with her asking and then mentioning the grading system.  However, I was ready for her and told her that I knew that she would ask and that I was tired of just saying 'fine', but that it really was what worked for me, as compared to just about everyone else I really and truly am fine.

Whilst feeding the parking meter before going inside the clinic, I thought about what I wanted to say and this is what I have.

I am on my way to hoping to be fine.

Well.  It sounded all right when it was in my head and then when I said it aloud.  Now, seeing it in print, well, it looks kind of dumb.  But, I cannot think of anything else, so it has to be fine.

Maybe I should try to think of something new each week.  Like, I am fine, but I was better yesterday.  Or, I am well...grounded.  Or, something.  Ha!

Monday, December 24, 2012


Dear Diary,

It is nearing midnight.  My daughter and her family are with my son-in-law's family all the way over there in another state.  The winter holidays work well when one family is Christian and the other is not.  I am the not.

My oldest grandson had his holiday program on Thursday, so I was invited to come a day early because our first wintery weather was expected.  It mostly rained here, but where they live it had snowed the couple of days before and more was expected for most of the state.

The program was so wonderful.  The students in his school are being taught American sign language and the final performance was the entire school singing and signing a song about wishing that no one would be sad or feel bad and it was so beautiful.  Watching them signing as effortlessly as taking a breath was a powerful experience.  The little one sat between his mother and me on our folded coats and we all watched, completely enthralled.

We celebrated Yule early so that they could get away west as soon as possible, bad weather forecast and all.  Yule dinner is always on me and since the boys came along, is always take-out from their favorite Chinese restaurant.  And, their favorite dish is meat on a stick, lots of it.  We get enough food for two huge meals, and it is really delicious. 

The big snow did arrive, and I spent another couple of nights until it stopped and we could dig out.  There was less and less snow and icky roads as I came closer to home and when I got here the streets were clear and dry, with barely a dusting of the white stuff left on the grass.  Apparently it was seriously windy, though there was not much damage.

My little angel was sick.  I knew it.  He knew it and everyone else did.  I let him kiss me anyway.  I keep promising myself that when they are ill that we will hug and snuggle, but that no kissing will take place.  I cave every time.  I get their illness.  Every time.

So.  I have been sick since Friday night.  Taking lots of meds and keeping it at bay.  No voice.  Too bad no one else is around to appreciate the lack of my chattering.  Except for CoolCat, and he is mostly bewildered by the occasional squeak, and alarmed by the nearly constant coughing.  Hack.  Lordy.  I have been taking this mucus-reducing stuff and it might be working.  At least I do not have a crappy infection in my crappy lungs.

I took a month off from work, am half-way through it.  I needed the time to try and become healthier.  The results from my check-up a few weeks ago were not great and I am kind of ashamed that I have let lots of things go during the mess.  You either pay attention or you pay the price.

Therapy, well, what can I say.  I apparently need it, and I do not hate it as much as I used to, although I still mostly hate it.  I might stop.  It is not as though I do not appreciate the work that needs to be done or that I need to do the work.  I get all of that.  The work on being able to have feelings, you know, like a normal person, well, that is too difficult.  I cannot even get close to dealing with what happened.  If I do that, get close, do the work, I will have to feel stuff again.  I will have to relive all of that.  I think that I cannot do that, but mostly it is because I will not.  I am not going there. 

And, here we are.  At least I am.  I have this new life, whatever it is or can be will be of my own making.  I kind of love where I am right now.  No sense messing it up. 

The good part is that this holiday season is the best I have ever had.  Ever.  At least for the past forty years or so.  No stress and worry about doing the wrong thing without ever the benefit of knowing what that might actually be.  No concealing what was really happening and making all nice and cheerful so that no one would know.  So many secrets.  So many and I will never share them with anyone.  There are a few people who have the general outline, as it were, but no one, not a single person knows the truth, besides me and someone who is not me.  This is take to your grave stuff. 

When someone is alone during regular family-get-together things the popular theory is that that person is most likely feeling vulnerable and lonely.  I am certain that is so for some people.  The news lately has been so full of terrible things, stunning loss and natural disasters and lost jobs and serious health issues and so much more.  I am not comparing myself and my circumstances to those of anyone else, but I am grateful that I am doing as well as I am.  I am more lucky than I deserve to be.  It simply does not get any better than this.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

dunt wanna

I am so tired of talking about all of this.  Oh, not the griping and moaning and groaning and complaining that I do here.  This is therapeutic.  I get bogged down or scared or something and I mostly just go to bed, but sometimes I come here and just spew.

The talking I hate is with my therapist, who insisted on two sessions this week.  I am hoping that writing tonight will release some of this stuff so that I might be able to do some decent work tomorrow.

But, the spewing here.  It empties me so that I do not have to deal with whatever it is for a while.  In starting this project, it was my hope that by writing and getting some of the stuff out of my head that I could gain some kind of perspective and that it would help memove on with my life. 

But, the truth is that I thought, believed that when all the clutter filtered out through my fingertips that it would make room for emotion.  The lack of which is holding me back.  I cannot cry, although when something scary happens or something tender happens I can feel a little weepy, but nothing more than moist eyeballs is the result, and that is not good enough.  Even I know that.

I am repressing all of that crap from before and the process of doing that is keeping me from feeling anything.  Even good emotions.  Sure, I can feel happy and content, and I know that for certain because it has happened four times since moving here.  If it can happen a couple of times, well, then it is possible to have that more often, even regularly. 

I feel satisfaction from my work and from the little bit of artsy stuff I have been doing.  Surely that is a start.  It would be nice if I could find some momentum and keep on going to other feelings and emotions.  And, it is not like I am trying to suppress anything.  I am not.  I would give just about anything to cry, you know, just feel all...or even a little portion...of the grief that I know must be inside me somewhere.  Hell, surviving all of this, I have earned the right to experience grief.  I cannot.  There has to be sorrow and loss and yearning and wanting and need and hope and love in me somewhere, too.  There has to be.  I thought that my life was over whenever he decided, and there was that certainty that the life I wanted, the kind where I would be loved and honored and safe simply was never going to happen.  At some point I realized that I had truly and soundly resigned myself to having only what he allowed.

What I can feel is fear.  Fear that something more will happen to me.  That I will be out somewhere and be confronted or attacked by him.  When I am out of the house, at the market or Walmart or at a restaurant or anyplace, I am hyper vigilant about my surroundings.  I watch my immediate geography all the time so that no one can sneak up on me or catch me unawares.  Parking lots are places to be especially cautious.

I greatly dislike being out of the house after dark.  We are experiencing lots of gloomy weather, clouds and fog and stuff and even today it was dark by a quarter after four.  Everything stops then and I get on this computer and read stuff and visit a couple of web sites and play puzzle games.  All of that is fine, but I want more.  I want lights on at night.  I think about this all the time, every day, even before it gets dark.  I am so freaking stupid.  I know better and to be caught and held by these fears is stupid.  It is stupid.

I have no problems going to work or on errands or to my daughter's, but other than that, I am reluctant to leave the house.  I am careful when I walk onto the porch to get the mail.  I worry about what might be in there.  They have been well instructed to not contact me in any way and I worry about them violating that just the way they are about the financial stuff.  Which, by the way, is now four months in violation of the court orders.

Oh, and I keep thinking that if I am going to be worried about anything it should be that whole money thing, but amazingly I am not.  Stupid, I guess, or maybe there is not any worrying room left for this.

So, I am hoping that by writing all of this tonight that I will be ready for tomorrow's session.  Part of the problem is that I feel like a fraud.  I am able to go out and work and do whatever needs doing, but I cannot do the personal, interior work that I have to get through.  And, it is not as though I am not trying.  I am.  I want this more than anything.  I want this even if it means that I get stuck crying for a while, even a long, long while.  Even if it changes the kind of person I am.  Even if I temporarily stop being myself.  Even then.

Maybe I need medication or less chocolate or more chocolate or something.  What I am not going to do is to run away from any of this.  There were too many secrets for too long.  I may never share most of what happened, am pretty sure that I will not, but I need to do something to find release from the hold all of it has on me.

C'mon, Tomorrow.  I dare you to challenge me and make me cry.  I dare you.  I double-dog dare you.  With a cherry.