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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Thanks, Liz

This year is... (fill in the blank).

To me, this year is impossible. A mess. A joke. A horror movie. A very long stress test.

Here we are a month later, and I'm still in The Shire. That 2 week notice didn't pan out, and after seeing the place, hallelujah. I'd have been backing my walker 5 feet down a narrow hallway to get to the bathroom. Still, I was told I'd be moved by the end of September. I gave my objections in an email to the head honcho and the bimbo in charge of this fiasco. Then I received a reply saying they'd have a real wheelchair-happy place open soon and I should expect to move the first week of October. Today I got an email saying I'll be moved toward the end of October. So it goes.

Yes, a wheelchair is in my near future. My legs are both bad, my arms are flagging their surrender to nerve problems. The nerve and joint pain is so bad I only sleep 4 hours or so a night. I can barely stand now, and can't get in the shower. I can deal with not showering; there are such things as washcloths and baby wipes. I've been homeless twice and couldn't shower for weeks on end, so I'm not freaking out. But this time it's different, I have a shower, just can't get into it without help. With Gal Friday changing to being an independent contractor, I only see her 3.5 hours a week now, and that's just enough to keep the house from disgusting nastiness and Beest and me from plague and famine. So I've applied for a higher amount of help, and am waiting for that evaluation to happen next week. I'll still keep Gal Friday, since she's been here all along and is qualified to be a health aide. The prospect of needing help to shower is humiliating and makes me cry, but that's life. This is requiring a whole new level of toughness, and I have very little support as friends drift away on their own seas of troubles. I never would've thought that I'd be such a trainwreck before I'm even 60.

Never would've thought that Liz Taylor would be an inspiration, either.
Life is full of surprises.
I'm hoping your surprises are happy ones.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Bugging Out

It's the end of August, the virtual end of Summer with Labor Day here already. It's our friend Mercury Retrograde again. It'll be done in 3 weeks, and as it goes Fall will be here. Beautiful, cool, lovely Fall. We may have had enough rain/heat stress ratio for colorful leafage. We will see.

Mercury Retro in Virgo

This year has been whizzing by. Full of plenty of lousy and a few hits of unexpected joy. Lots of deaths. A few beautiful babies. More drama than the Met in season. I think this is another year I'll be happy to kick in the pants as it goes out the door.

And yesterday morning- 5 years and a day since the flood-  I was notified that I'll be moved to Rivendell "in the next week to 2 weeks". I answered with surprise and questions that went unanswered. After a calculated response I was offered a look at the next apartment. Gal Friday will go in my place tomorrow, as I can't use my left arm yet. As long as there are no major issues- like the doorways being too narrow for my walker, or there not being a tub for my shower seat- I expect I'm outta The Shire in T minus 6-13 days.

This announcement was accompanied by the usual 'you should be kissing our feet with gratitude' tone that marks these things and makes them so special (the longer I'm involved in the poor-person-getting-help, or observing-fellow-volunteer circuits, the more I see the "You're lucky I care, I do this out of the goodness of my heart, so fuck you" attitude). Much of our gratitude must be for the admittedly fair deal that the BHA will pay the moving expenses and hire the movers. That is fair and right and good of them to do. Because I called dibs early, I was near the top of the list for Rivendell anyway. But really, they couldn't give me a month to pack some things, get rid of things, plan? Jesus.

So yeah, that's where we are tonight, August 30th, 2016. Getting ready to bug out.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Life in a Northern Town

It's a Friday evening in August in our little town. It's quite warm and humid, but there's a breeze. A neighbor and old friend, Special K, was just here bearing goodies. She's doing well and is more often ok now than she has been in years. I still greet her with the wary attitude, but that'll go away with time. Down the road a ways, a woman she went to school with, and who was a good friend to me when I first moved here, lies in state. Never fails to amaze me how someone can be here and hearty one day, and gone the next. RIP SallyAnn Tenney, not even 58 and gone already.

We finally had a couple of days of rain, keeping us off the drought maps. Not in time to save the potato crop, but better than the nothing we've had.

Beest is fine now, aside from that sebaceous cyst that grew back. Freaks me out. Doesn't seem to bother her. She's not vain. She continues to mellow out, and sleeps with her paw in my hand most nights.

We've straightened out the flying solo gig for Gal Friday. I'll be her direct employer thru the ARIS program, no more insanity with the VNA. The budget has constraints though, and I have to pay the ARIS program and the case manager as well as Gal Friday from that budget. So in order to pay her a living wage, I had to take a cut in my hours of help- 10 hours less a month. We'll just have to be more efficient with the time. It's cheaper on Medicare/aid, and it's better for all involved.

National politics is such a nightmare. I'm volunteering on Dave Zuckerman for Lieutenant Governor's campaign, and it's actually nice to talk to Vermonters about their issues and thoughts. My advice to anyone who does cold-call phonebanking: only use the script for messages left. If someone answers the phone, be a human. You get into some thoughtful conversations.

We began sorting the stored boxes that haven't been opened since the flood 5 years ago. I found a few things I'd despaired were lost- particularly Uncle Bert's WWI copper tube, which he used to deliver plans and maps from HQ to infantry units by bicycle around France. That was wonderful. I hope as we go thru things, all -or at least some- of the things that disappeared in that rushed pack and storage will be found. Hard to believe in 2 weeks it'll be 5 years since Irene made us homeless. Seems much longer ago.

This is our last Summer in The Shire. It will be my last Fall and Winter, too. Most of the Hobbits will relocate before Thanksgiving to the new building, Red Rover. I'll be here until the Spring, and move up the road to Rivendell. The Shire will stand abandoned until a developer comes along, as I predicted 5 years ago. This is beautiful land, along the Brandywine. I bet the developer who's involved in the new building will get this place. And I hope the Preservation Society gives him anal fissures over it.

Summer is peaking and will be winding down soon. We're at that breathless moment, when growing things are at their apex, before the days feel shorter, and things stop growing and turn to ripening. And allergies do queer things to your head and senses.

This week's theme has been pain. A new and angering clusterpain around my elbow is, according to the Doc, fibromyalgia. I never really believed it was a thing, a carry-over from when I was healthy and thought anyone with such a thing was being a Drama Queen. No, I was wrong, it's real. And it's a combo of nerve and muscle pain. For 2 days it was so painful it masked my hip pain. I'm not impressed. If my arm can't hold me up on the walker I can't walk. Not funny. Go away, fibromyalgia. You're a big fat nasty bastard.

Maybe this is the weekend I set up the new printer and camera that Billy gave me for my birthday. I found some photos I'd like to share online. If my arm behaves. This is a rare do-nothing, no company, no people passing thru town weekend. I have the new Harry Potter book, air conditioning and even some money left after paying everything. I could do nothing but read and ignore the world for 2 days. Life is good. :)

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

La Resistance Lives On

Tonight's convention brought the reality home with a sickening thud. Bernie will not be the D nominee. By and for whatever things, it doesn't matter, it's done. It's one of those definites, like being dead or pregnant. $hillary is the D nominee.

This is truly awful. I just got over the Gore/Bush trauma and here we go again, this time with even worse (who'da ever thunk that possible?) candidates. 30 years ago I would've started drinking tonight and not stopped til the inauguration was over. I don't have the stamina or bucks to do that now. I would've stopped paying attention until sometime next year when the new Pres made the first horrific decision/action/statement anyone ever heard anyone say. And I would laugh sardonically and self-satisfyingly, then write something bilious and cry me eyes out. {That 'me' is a typo but I like it so it's staying in}. Bernie's loss is a gut punch. This year sucks. I hate everything.

So our choices are Trump, Her, Jill Stein, Johnson the Libertarian- or write Bernie or someone else in. This is when I look at where I live. A teeny tiny state that will undoubtedly vote blue no matter who, aka Her. It won't matter what I vote, I'm thoroughly meaningless to the Presidential big picture. And I can eliminate Johnson, Her, and Trump right away. That simplifies things. Vote for Bernie as a write-in, or Jill Stein and the Green Party?

Here's where having a little knowledge and the practical application of that knowledge helps make a decision I can live with.
1) A write-in campaign needs more than 3 months to be effective. Only rarely, and never in national contests, do write-ins make it. In my state and case, I could write Bernie in but it'd be purely a protest vote.

2) There is a campaign finance code. In that code, amongst things like major parties (any that win over 25% of the popular vote) get $100 mill of our tax dollars to run their campaigns and conventions, there are other provisions. In fact, any party with 5% of the vote or more gets financed, too. It's way less- more like $10 mill at the 5% level and goes up with more votes- but this is how we boost a 3rd party into becoming a major player down the road.

We can't follow Bernie's revolution to the White House, but we can take it forward by supporting better people in politics. By being engaged and active, by encouraging each other to stay involved, by getting out the vote, by taking our Democracy back. And I believe getting a 3rd party in the mix is a great idea.

There are still 3 months+ to decide, though I'll have a ballot come September.
But I'm pretty sure what I'll do.
La Resistance lives on.
I love you Bernie, can't wait to see you back home.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

A One-off, or Maybe Two

The shirt is done. It even went thru the wash and stayed just as I painted it. I may make another for a friend, but this one's mine. Greg can make his own.

It's not perfect, but it's nice to know I can still do some part of what I used to do, even if it wrecks my hand for a couple days, it's totally worth it.