Monday, August 31, 2009

Sad Goodbye

Jack is gone. He was evicted as of 3pm, the locks changed on his apartment, and he was warned not to return to the project. Where he will go or what he will do, I don't know.
He came out to the patio around 7 am and another woman and I talked to him for about an hour and a half. During this time the manager came and told him how much she hated to do this but he had given her no choice. He seemed to agree.
Mercedes, although in very low spirits over a tragedy that happened in her best friend's family, came over to see him, and she was the one who took him back to St. Lukes to see if he could get help to sober up in there, so he will be fit to find another place to live. In the condition he is now he would not be able to get into a shelter even. There would be no place for him to go but the street.
Mercedes is the friend that I featured in an entry not long ago who is also a long time friend of Jack's. I posted a photo of her I took when she took me to lunch one year on my birthday. A few days ago her best friend's daughter, 24 years old, was drunk and got into a fight with her boyfriend. In an unpremeditated act she rushed up stairs and got a gun and shot herself. Mercedes showed me a photo of her. She is a beautiful girl. You can imagine the suffering of all those left behind who loved her. Neither her mother or her boyfriend can fathom how she could have done such a thing.
Anyway Mercedes was not too patient with Jack's suicide threats, as you can imagine. She has promised to let me know what happens to him, if she can keep track of him. We went to his apartment to try to pick up some things. We found his ATM card and his medicard, but his glasses are lost. Ten years accumulation of belongings were there in disarray. So we soon left so as not to get too depressed over it all. Jack will do or die, that is all I can say.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

My response to the paper on a huge article about the status of the mentally ill in Arizona

I feel I am a good person to blog about this subject since I have been certified disabled for mental illness for over 15 years. My mental illness deepened into physical illness going by the mystery name of chronic fatigue syndrome which does not exist for many doctors, especially those who treat the poor. My bouts of chronic fatigue were regarded as mental by some, but I only received sporadic and very limited recognition of it as a crippling conditon.
I have lived in subsidized housing for nearly 25 years now, currently at the Westward Ho for half of this period which is housing more and more people certified as mentally ill. (The fellow shown above in the picture is also well enough to live in subsidized housing which calls for some lucidity.)
My conclusion is that it is time for Arizona to go public in finding new ways to help the mentally ill, which would be by recognizing the fact that only a more healthy society can help those among us who are 'certified.' There is an aspect of mental illness to every addiction, alcoholism, smoking, drug addiction, and food addiction. The talking cure is better achieved by the society as a whole, which is not apt to be recognized by the professionals. The professionals need to form better relationships with the public who are so affected when a mentally ill person goes amok. You need to do more articles about what neighbors, family, and friends can do when they see incipient signs of a meltdown.
I see them all the time in here and we residents have learned to respond to a meltdown to protect ourselves. Newspaper writers and other concerned officials of Arizona need to acknowledge that it takes everybody to keep our society healthy.
This article is too similar to all others written about mental illness providers, expecting so much from so few with budgets that are squeezed even tighter.
It is time to get more creative and inventive about recruiting the public to get involved. They are anyway, clear to their necks. Most people have mentally ill relatives, friends, neighbors they watch out for and the more aware they are of their problems the better job they can do to protect themselves from someone's violence.
This subject has been so neglected, I could write a book, the subject of acting like the public counts, their thoughts, their impout and support. This harkens back to when professionals did not want ordinary people to do any thinking on this subject, but now that these very professionals are so beleagured and overworked while at the same time so much is expected of them, I think they might be ready to stop putting down efforts the non professionals make to deal with the same problems.
In fact, I trust ordinary people more than professionals, because the arrogance is missing that actually disabled me in a mental hospital. I already had chronic fatigue from stress and they decided I needed electric shock therapy which I told them might kill me. Do you think they listened? My chronic fatigue kicked in after 5 terrible days of stress in a psych ward setting and I had what they called a catotonic seizure which was undoubtedly the only thing that kept me from being electric shocked. That was also chronic fatigue, folks, which can kill you if you are put under too much stress when it activates.
I came out of that psych ward partially disabled, never to be the same again. I was in much worse shape when I left than when I went in, and the reason that led to my getting in there in the first place was because I had decided to surface some serious molesting that took place in my childhood I could never talk about!
Professionals make mistakes as they did in my case, because they did not understand that I had chronic fatigue. So we should recognize that psychiatrists and psychologists may also have their limitations, so common sense should be our guide!
Most people understand what that is, so when will newspapers stop bending over backwards to exalt the professionals when they write about mental illness, instead of acknowledging they are only human, may be doing the best they can, but that it takes everyone to make a more mentally healthy world. Everyone!
That means parents, relatives, neighbors, everyone who is apt to be involved with or affected by the mentally ill. Everyone is so afraid to give the common person any importance at all. I have tried to get books published to give me more authority, but have so far failed.
Well, out there, common people avert crisises all the time by using common sense, good character, caring, and other valuable attributes of quite a number of our citizens!

Gerry Hitt

The above letter will be reprinted in my blog on AZ Central called G4Life. (see blog list)
I will also show a video I made this morning on the same subject when it is uploaded.
I also want to call your attention to a new entry called Vista Home in my sister Ann's blog, KanyonlandKing (see blog list) which echoes what I have said here. Thank you sister, that is a touching poem. She also posted an excellent photo of our hometown, Boulder, Utah.
My sister Linda's poetry reading video fimed in the patio got two 5 star ratings! So she is a hit. I think she read her poems very well on some significant subject matter (Twisted Sisters). See my youtube channel on blog list. Over 100 people have watched her now.
P.S. Later in the day: my sister Margie who writes the blog "Marge" (see blog list) responded from years and years of nursing experience, including some years working in the Arizona State Mental, with some observations about the topic of mental illness. Thanks so much sister Margie, who is coping with chronic pain in her lower back down to her foot, thank you for responding. I know all my sisters have much to offer the public with their experiences and thinking. I hope the blogging world will accept them and be their friends. Once I get them integrated I will be back to reading all of you some of whom I have neglected on my blog list, but I am aware and will see you soon.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Ecco Mom Kelli, this woman needs help to clean up the world's biggest ocean dump!

But not until after you have cleaned up the beaches where you live and alerted everyone to how disgusting littering our beaches and our oceans really is.
Mary Crowley has gone out there in her 'elegant square-rigged ship' to study this dump and see if she and her supporters can fix it! There are millions of tons of garbage swirling around in a vortex in the Pacific. Some of it rolls up on beaches such as this Hawaiian one leaving a giant clean up problems.
She says we need to stop dumping garbage in the ocean!! Right, but how do we get people to stop doing it. It is so big, but now look what has happened.
I salute Mary Crowley and Kelli Nelson and all the Ecco Moms who are determined to clean up the earth. I hate litter bugs and always have. I was always yelling at my kids, "Don't litter."
My Aunt Nethella was my example who would go for her walk with a big garbage bag and clean up the trash from in front of people's homes who wouldn't do it.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Flyer for Son Raymond's show in San Francisco!


Off-Market Theaters and its managing companies, Combined Artform and PianoFight, are proud to announce the launch of San Francisco’s newest venue for solo performances, Stage 205 at Off-Market, which will feature the Bay Area’s longest-ever running solo show, Brian Copeland’s Not A Genuine Black Man, the world premiere run of Jennifer Jajeh’s I Heart Hamas, and debueting in San Francisco after a critically acclaimed run in Los Angeles, Raymond Shurtz’s “Bohemian Cowboy” kicking off the weekend on Friday, September 11, 2009 at 8:00pm.

All Shows at and presented by

965 Mission Street ,
San Francisco CA 94103 .

Parking near Metreon at 5th and Mission Powell MUNI/BART.

Tickets online at or (800)838-3006


Bohemian Cowboy
Raymond King Shurtz

9/11, 9/12, 9/18 @ 8pm & 9/19 @ 9:30pm - $15

In November of 2005, Raymond Dean Shurtz walked into the desert in Clark County, Nevada, The Valley of Fire, and simply disappeared.

For two years, Nevada detectives, Nevada Search and Rescue, psychics, private detectives, and family and friends, searched for his body. Mr. Shurtz has never been found.

A honky-tonk singer, a cowboy, a carpenter, and a traveler of mythic proportions, the senior Mr. Shurtz left an array of mysteries as a "disappearing specialist".

In an attempt to unravel these mysteries, his son writes and performs the legacy his father left him, using the same characteristics as his father, the original "disappearing specialist" and "bohemian cowboy".

LA Weekly – Pick of the Week

“Under the sensitive direction of Kurt Brungardt, Shurtz’s drama functions as both intensely personal family legacy and surreal picaresque." - LA Times

Bohemian Cowboy: or 800-838-3006.

Doc's channel is advertizing my plays

I am not going to just forget about Doc as he is still good advertizement for my plays. There are probably a lot of actors the public does not know are addicts of some sort, but we still going on liking their work and their talent. Lots of great piano players and singers.

This is the second part of the video we made about trying to change his Youtube channel name. A commenter said, "Is that a woman you are with? She is rude and disrespectful. You are better off without her. She puts you down. Just be yourself."
I went to her channel and found out she is only 14, but that does not mean she can't have strong opinions. She is one of the public who did not detect he is an alcoholic. Well, it was pretty early in the morning.
I told her," that woman hopes Doc will be himself on his channel just like you do...etc." See it on Doc's Channel. I read it to Doc all but the part where I said alcohol is his biggest problem. Good thing he doesn't read either.

And it's a good thing he can't upload yet, as he needs censoring as far as I am concerned. Look on my blog list for recent uploads. He still has TheMadDoc666 because I could not get the 666 off.

My sister Linda's poetry reading on my channel is doing very well. I will try to book her for a poetry reading everytime she comes to town!

Oh yes, once I quit watching TV all of a sudden I had energy to go on Facebook for the first time. I found friends and family over there, and I like having short chats with them. Facebook is good for a long winded person. I sometime need to be stopped from talking for the sake of my health. I think this is part mental from being silenced so many years about what I had on my mind.

Oh yes, when I went on Facebook today there was a great big photo of my son Raymond and the musicians he is playing with in Salt Gulch, site of the old John King homestead where I used to live with his dad. He lived there during his second year. It was the cutest photo. I just love it. So Facebook is definitely worth the trip. I also found my daughter, my sisters, nieces, nephews, old theater friends, and fellow bloggers. I still love my blogspot blog though. And yours.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Staying away from Doc today

I spent a long time yesterday talking to a very articulate woman here, a recovering alcoholic, who told me about her horrific childhood, one of the worst I have ever heard about. I have decided that I was destined to live so long in a HUD complex where so many younger disabled people are moving to. The more stable people among the populace here the less chance for some disturbing meltdown. I hear that Jack is in a hospital behaviorial ward which he has resisted before. I think the meltdown he experiences when he drinks indicates a petty severe mental problem which he has always avoided getting help for. He has tried to rely too much on himself, self help books, and friends, but sometimes they are just inadequate. I know I began to feel inadequate to help him quite some time ago.
The first step might be in acknowledging the severity of the problem before death and disaster can occur. I can no longer help Doc much. I have done all I could. However this does not mean that I think people should withdraw support from those afflicted with substance abuse problems. I think close family members should try never to give up on a troubled sibling with addiction problems. They can retreat to a distance, but need to keep a watchful eye on the situation to see if they can do anything to help at any time. Alchol abuse is such a big problem in our society, nobody can really retreat from it. All you have to do is drive a car on our fast highways and you risk running into a drunk driver somewhere sometime. If you get more in tune with the problem, I think that alerted senses can even help save you from meeting up with a drunk on the road. You need to have a heightened sense of the dangers out there, and younger alcoholics are the highest possible risk for wrecks. People can live in a safe protected world at home and drive out on the highway and encounter those who are definitely very dangerous to life and limb.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Doc calls me to come and drop the 666 from his Youtube User name

What a hassle this turned out to be. I told him Youtube does not make this easy because a bunch of stupid people want to change their user names all the time, probably. It was impossible. He was in a blackout when he decided on that number. I did not try to control him. Besides he wouldn't let me. He is now boss of his own channel. There has got to be some compensation for us going our separate ways. Mine is the sober channel, and his is well the inebriated one.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I see 'Brokeback Mountain' at last

I went down to the ballroom to see this movie as I thought that I was finally ready to see it, and I found out my video store did not have it. I wonder why. I did have quite a strong emotional reaction to the scenes with the wife who accidentally sees some intimate behavior going on between her husband and his lover, Jack. This ruins her feelings about her marriage to the character Heath Ledger plays and she goes for a divorce, but the kids still love him. Jack's wife never tumbles that he is bisexual but his father-in-law apparently does and after a few clashes with him hires some men to beat him to death and he tells his daughter and two grandsons that it was accidental. Pretty ugly.
The scenes on Brokeback Mountain reminded me a lot of the camping out done by the cattlemen when I was young, both on the mountain and in the canyonland country which was the winter range. My dad and his hired hand cooked many as meal on an outside fire and ended up doing just what those guys did on Brokeback Mountain, found sexual release with each other, and eventually grew very fond of each other, life time 'buddies.' Circumstances would change and so would the buddies, but a favorite would usually be with him for 5 or 6 years. Some of his drinking buddies did not work for him, but he had at least one he was fond of for years. And I thought there was a sexual element in their relationships from behavior I 'accidentally' saw as child.
I thought 'Brokeback Mountain' was a milestone in movies made about that subject. I had to laugh at how the people acted watching it. As soon as there was a revealing scene some would get up and leave until there was hardly anyone left at the end but me and the guy who was in charge of the movies. One guy kept saying, "I just don't get what is going on here." A lady in the audience told him in graphic terms what these guys were. I love Heath Ledger. His acting was so good he seemed like a real person and that is great acting.
I wonder how much this controversial role for which he was nominated for an Oscar, played a part in his death. I heard that he was criticized in his native Australia for taking such a role, which caused some suspicion about his sexual orientation.
Doesn't really matter. Now the movie will be forever associated with an actor who died soon after he played this role. I was proud of Heath Ledger for how good he really was. I salute the Chinese director who I believe did win an Oscar for this movie, Ang Lee or something like that. In this case Heath outacted Jake and that does not happen often. Don't ask me to spell Jake's last name but you know who I mean.

Monday, August 24, 2009

I spend the day helping Doc to create his own Youtube channel: look on my blog list

Doc could not get anyone to make a video with him for Youtube so he asked me to come back and make one with him so he would have something to put on his channel. His Channel is TheMadDoc666. I said what is that 666 for, you will get the devil worshippers. He said well, at least I will have some viewers. I told him I still want my freedom and independence, it feels good! I will embed the video in case you want to look. He called it 'there is life after death' meaning life after separation.
In the meantime I am carrying out my philosophy of talking to addicted people and people with mental problems as good medicine, vital for them and for me to make progress. I am sorry folks, drugs don't always do the job, there has to be more. I spent three hours this morning talking to EmmaJean, an alcoholic, who came back from 3 months in woman's shelter for spousal abuse because she only gets $300 a month on her social security. I did not think anyone got that little a check. So she came back to her husband as a last resort. They are still drinking but have not flipped out as they did when she left before. That was all out war. She is still wearing the scars on her face in broken teeth. Whenever EmmaJean finds time to talk, I always talk to her as long as she wants, and we were having a great conversation this morning. I love to talk to her as she was this morning, sober and charming and smart.
This is why I responded to Doc's call. I know he can't be squeezed off from communication or he will get worse.
Oh and great news I finally found a very good pool player I think I can play with here at the Westward Ho. We played about 10 games last night. I only won one but I blew three shots on the 8 ball, so I am just so rusty I did not do well. Then I had lunch over to the Silvercrest and LeRoy kindly played a game with me and managed to allow me to win. In other words, he threw the game. So today was a good day.

P.S. I could not get a link to embed the video, so look to the bottom of my bloglist where it says Uploads by TheMadDoc666.

P.S. The link has been added so I can embed it so here goes. Oh yes, I also put the full series of Aunt Santhea of Doc's channel. He doesn't know it yet. Just click All to see the list of those, Doc first acting jobs on Youtube.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Haunted by memories today of my years in the Westward Ho

This is a building fraught with history, built in 1928, a HUD complex for only 30 years after its glory years faded and old age set in. I have always liked to live in old hotels because the atmosphere is thick with ghosts and the good times of a building that may once have had a glorious heyday before it became the run down place I could afford.
I am thinking with Jack in the hospital again with a prognosis that is not good for continued residence in the Westward, how many people I have known who ended their struggle for life right here in their last home on earth, as I expect it to be mine.
I have been here 13 years, coming to live here in August, the year my grandson Jamal turned 6. He is 19 now, just going off to college, some miles away from home. It has been a good home for me, interesting in many ways. I have seen a downtown that was all but dead become transformed in the last few years so that people who have not seen it would hardly believe their eyes, the result mostly of ASU, a mighty University, establishing a campus here. All the growth is exciting.
I feel I have successfully changed my relationship to Doc now. He has accepted my need to see him less so that the drinking he chooses to do does not constantly irritate me. He is leaving me alone, respecting my wishes to talk to new people, become independent once again. He wanted me to tear up the check he gave me to buy him out, and promised he would cooperate fully in sharing the camera. He felt too lonely all at once with the prospect of not seeing me at all. If the camera breaks he promised to have it fixed and I know he will.
An ex wife finally tracked him down, called and left a message for him to call her. A voice out of the past after 15 years! Strange.
He will have been here 6 years, Jack 10.
The photo above was taken when the Westward Ho was in its heyday. It is my favorite photo of the Westward Ho. I hope I will have a few more years here, time to swim in the renovated pool, time to play pool over to the Silvercrest, time to ride the bus and new fast transit and go to thrift stores and to buy groceries.
My sister Linda has come to swim with me, and I really enjoyed her visit. I spent some time this afternoon listening to Charles Bukowski read his poems on Youtube. I saw him read one about her and cry. I saw him kick the other Linda, the one he married, right off the couch. He would not have dared kick my sister Linda, she would have gone insane and attacked him like a tiger. She means it when she says in her poem she is a warrior. When they first were going together he kept showing people the place on his arm where she bit him! His wife Linda said she learned not to take his abuse anymore she would just go upstairs and let him rant downstairs. My sister Linda threw his typewriter in the street and broke his windows and once tried to run over him in her jeep. He had to jump into a hedge. She tried to tear the robe off the woman she had caught him coming to see. I supposed that is why people still talk about her. I have had my fights with Linda, the worst ones I ever had with anyone in my life. Hours of fighting, but she would not hit me, although she did try to throw me out of a house we shared. She could walk up and down stairs on her hands. She was stronger than some men. No you did not want to get in a fight with my sister Linda.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Sister Linda reads her poetry on the patio

With the camera miraculously restored to function by a guy Doc called in Guatemala, I summoned Linda to the patio at 6am this morning to read poetry under the trees as the sun was just coming up. As it was people passed to and fro despite the early hour, but we finished a video and hope you like it! The camera may go kaput again, so we must take advantage of it while we can. Sorry the film turned out a little dark under the trees, but Linda's voice is strong and she is a lot more vigorous now than she was a few months ago. SF is starting to agree with her!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Dont be afraid of the dark

Kevin, artist resident, Sister Linda, and me out talking fast and furious in the patio.

6am: I am going down to the patio around six to wait for my sister Linda who is meeting me there. I am wearing my tye dye dress above so she can see it before she goes back to San Francisco, since she loves her colorful costumes just as I do. I am taking a photo of her sculpture of me so I can show Kevin the artist. Also a photo of the picture an artist up home painted of my dad. He was a school mate of Linda's and was showing a great talent for art when he was in high school. She had not yet discovered she had drawing ability which did not happen until she was around 29, so she was a late bloomer. I don't have a photo of Linda's famous sculpture of Bukowski the writer, or of the other poets' sculptured heads she did on display at the Beat Museum in San Francisco I can show Kevin but I do have one I can show here.
I hope Kevin isn't sick or something and makes it out there.
I went down to the patio last evening about dusk and was sitting there alone. Jack came weaving and stumbling out there and fell down in front of the swing when he tried to sit in it. He fell under it so I had to lift it up while urging him to crawl out. Another man came along and helped him, and he asked him for cigarette. This man was a friend of his and went and got him a package. He told him, Jack, you need to sober up. Everybody likes you. We don't want to lose you in here!
I then tried to probe a little deeper as to why he had snapped so soon again. I asked him about his girlfriend and he said, oh, she doesn't care. He also said Linda, the manager didn't care as she had told him he was going to be evicted. I said, Jack, you are causing her problems. I said, what will you do if you go homeless, even a shelter won't take you this drunk. I said you can't lay around in this heat, you will die. He said, oh I will get in a shelter, very confidently.
He then told me that his girlfriend was too screwed up and that the reason he didn't date me was because I was too screwed up, so I concluded that all three of us were too screwed up!
I knew my problems were too much for Jack, but I was determined to address my issues no matter what. Doc helped me do that. Time was of the essence. I needed to get the secrets I had been forced to keep out to the world.
I had seen Jack's extreme style of drinking close up six years ago and concluded no woman probably had a chance of a normal relationship with him, so I stayed to a distance all the time trying to figure out what had happened to such an attractive man to make him act so crazy.

8:30 am: Kevin, Sister Linda, and I met as the photos above indicate, and they had a wonderful time discussing the sculpturing process and other stuff related to art. Kevin asked her questions about her life with Bukowski, and she talked about being intimidated by the poets of San Francisco, but she said she is slowly working up her self confidence and figuring out how she could handle them. She said the Beat Museum wants a sculptured head of Bukowski to display also, and she says she can get a replica for not too much money. She should because that one is really a work of art. I showed Kevin a picture of the sculpture she did of me. Linda is leaving for SF in a couple of days, but we got in a good visit.

Famous sculptured head of Bukowski by Linda King

P.S. Check out the great canyonlands photo on my sister Ann's blog, KanyonlandKing, and you will know why she picked that name for her blog. She is an intrepid hiker and has been in many of the canyons in that rugged Utah country just to go there and explore.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

When you walk through a storm

As I came home from the Silvercrest and playing pool and eating lunch, I saw Jack stumbling along in some kind of hell I don't understand. When I got home I heard more tales about public exposure that will surely put the management at a loss to know what to do with him. If he spends much time homeless in this heat, he will surely die. No homeless shelter will even take him while he is this drunk. People don't try to save drunks like him. All too often, they sober up a little bit and insist on leaving any hospital or rehab. You do have the right to leave if you choose even if it means your death.
I do feel a lot better prepared for another meltdown than I was last time, still with alcoholic Doc. The only other man I felt any connection to in here was Jack, so I was very upset at two of them teasing death, and barely staying out of reach. Splitting with Doc I have been able to form a lot stronger bonds to some sober guys, my neighbors, and the Utah guy. The pool playing guys over to the Silvercrest are all sober, too. Now I can distance myself better. I have been talking to some of the women, too. I feel I am already to a better place.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tantamount to a tornado in our midst, Jack gets drunk again

It hard to describe how this guy acts when he gets drunk. But I am sure eviction proceedings have begun since he was warned by management that if he ever got drunk again and became a public nuisance he would be evicted. The preceding manager also threatened him with eviction, so he has had second chances for as long as he has been here which is around 10 years. He is the most charming guy in the world when he is sober. Everybody likes him and wants to be around him. He is considerate, smart, and civilized.
Then the tornado hits. Now people are discussing how long he would make it if he were on the street. In this heat, not long I would suspect. He was out talking to us under the trees in the patio just the day before and had been doing so pretty regularly since he came back from the dead after his last drinking bout. I have always been attracted to him, but having seen him drunk have been very wary of his extremist pattern of drinking. He reminds me of my Dad who was quite the suicidal drinker, nearly dying on many occasions and having to be hospitalized nearly every time he got drunk in his later years. His lungs would fill up. He would be in dire straits. Jack's girlfriend is a very attractive senior, but after his last terrible bout, she may have decided she had enough. Her withdrawal might have been the trigger. So many women who did not know about Jack's drinking pattern, since he had been sober five years, thought he would make a great BF. Well, he would if he remained sober, there is no doubt, but it is hard to tell what might set him off.
I remember years ago after he had nearly killed himself he went around to everyone who knew him and asked them to give their opinion about how he could stay sober. I told him he was the most invisible man I knew, which he was at that time. I recommended he try to talk more and assert himself, share himself, which he seemed to find hard to do. I thought that he had been trying to do that more ever since, and was really quite successful in getting more comfortable in group discussion.
I am writing about him now for fear the bell is tolling for Jack. He has had two last minute miracles that saved his life that I know of. He might be all out of miracles. It is extremely dangerous to drink until you are in a walking blackout. Anything could happen to you. People are sad. One of his friends asked me to pray with her for Jack and I did. It is that serious.

On the good news side my sister Linda and my son Dan returned from Utah and I went to breakfast with each of them at different times. We had wonderful visits all the way around. Dan is here for the winter, but Linda will be going back to her home which is now SF in a few days. Her son is flying in from Oklahoma and might drive her home. She still has numb hands so someone needs to.

I was going to do a video of her reading poetry, but Doc's and my camera started rolling and won't quit, then Doc got so aggravated with owning a camera with me, after waiting for me to call all morning, that he said he wanted to buy my share out. I knew this might happen and told him I was thinking of buying a new camera if he would buy me out, so we did not have to see each other that often. Today he was ready and even gave me a little extra bonus on top of what I put into it, so I can buy a new camcorder with no problem. He said we will always be friends, but now he will not have to be so aggravated! So it might take me another couple of weeks to get all the money I need together to buy a new camera, but I am excited. My son Dan will help me to install the soft ware to upload it to my computer. He is a good guy to have around.

Monday, August 17, 2009

No discussion this morning but here is the news

I was late taking my tea to the patio and when I got there everyone was gone or possibly no one had been there. So there was no discussion, but yesterday was a humdinger with this artist resident from Utah present who is a big talker. When I noticed how freely he talked some kind of recognition tugged at my consciousness. I thought he talks like Utah people. (me) I say that Utah people are not as affected by the alcoholic pattern as most states, because the Mormon church is so against alcohol and tobacco (and coffee and tea). So a lot of the young guys get their confidence early in expressing themselves, because the church also encourages self expression. You start giving little talks at the podium at a very early age. That is why a young Mormon missionary is never at a loss for words when confronted with an argument about the religion when he is out trying to proselytize. This artist went on a mission before he lost his faith. I had to get out my Utah talking style to keep up with him. When we sisters get together we will talk all day as fast as possible just catching up with the news and then we end up having a big discussion about what we think! This can be a 3 day talking marathon. When I called a friend from up there, we talked 2 and 1/2 hours with no problem, and we did not get 3/4ths of the town covered. She was a professional hairdresser, and they are some of the best talkers there are, because they know so much about so many. My sister Linda stayed with her one night. I would be surprised if they got any sleep!
There are many people in here who are quite withdrawn so when they witness two Utah people talking together they act like we are insane. In fact our family site web people say ours is one of the most successful family sites they have got. I am waiting for my sister Linda to call now, as she and my son Dan left Utah last night to come to Arizona. She may have gone either to her house or to her son's out in Gilbert. I want to film her reading some of her poetry.
My son Dan has come to see how the work situation is. He told his boss when he took the leave of absence he would be back about this time. The recession has hit Arizona big time. First there was a huge boom and now quite a bust, but anyone who comes down town who had not been here for a while will be hugely shocked. New tall buildings all over the place. I think they will record this as the fastest growing period in Phoenix history, when ASU became a presence downtown.

All new buildings. The first photo is of the big dorm, Taylor Place. The middle photo is of the new Walter Cronkite School of Journalism, in which he played a role in getting built. It houses PBS, public televion. The last photo is of the new Sheraton hotel where Dan worked this past year getting the hotel facilities ready for conventions, setting up sound equipment, podiums, etc, quite a process now days when they want everyone visible on a big screen when they are talking to the audience.

I talked to my daughter last night who says she is moving her son Jamal out to the Tempe campus where the business school is. She says she might cry as they have been an exceptionally close family.
I called my son Gary who says he has bought a house, taking advantage of the times. I told him to get one on the bus line so I could get there easier, and he says he did. But he says jobs for the company are harder to get now. The bids are all extremely close. The competition for what jobs there are is fierce.
Don't you love this header Connie made and sent to me. It made the front page on my family site. It is quite striking.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Why teetotalers talk more

I have had to think about talking patterns my whole life because I committed myself to sobriety when very young because of all the dangerous drinking in my dad's family. My mother who came from a family that did not drink whatsoever was a big talker. My dad, on the other hand, would go deadly silent when he sobered up. You could not get a word out of him which got quite boring on long cattle drives. My theory was that he developed a common pattern among drinkers who start when they are very young. He may have felt shy and thought that alcohol gave him courage. I remember a sheep herder drinking buddy of his saying that my dad came to visit him at the sheepherd and talked all day. I was astounded. I had never heard my dad talk like that, I didn't know he could! And he was a very smart guy but a painfully silent one. I used to beg him to tell some of his funny stories to my friends when they came to visit which he did for quite a while before he refused to do that anymore. I know these were the stories that so highly entertained his drinking buddies.
I am sure I am attracted to alcoholics because of their chatty talking patterns when they are drinking. But I have found that most of them are convinced they cannot talk when they are sober. Then their forceful silences have a bad effect on the women close to them who are often called chatterboxes etc. when they talk, especially by an irritable guy coming off a bad drunk. To me talking is a sign of thinking and if alcohol were never used to overcome inhibitions, people would become a lot more talkative and therefore better thinkers. They would find out that they could overcome their shyness and lack of confidence naturally. As it is, I believe alcohol has played a part in creating too many non communicative people who are not connecting to each other in normal ways. Silent men are too often admired because they don't expose themselves. But silence in a person after a while is boring.
I have found that some people just naturally limit their talking. They start to feel uneasy after they have opened up, and they don't ask themselves why. They just vow not to talk next time.
But talking is the means of exchanging ideas, loosening up, looking at problems in a different way with other people. I would say that every alcoholic who sobers up has to try to talk more, because if he does not he will start to feel needy, and getting drunk and uninhibited will seem like the only way he can get what he needs.
This is how you get people like Doc who are always drunk. I had a BF years back I never saw sober. Finally one time when I went to Utah I told him I would not talk to him unless he was sober. He surprisingly complied and I found I was dealing with a guy I hardly knew. All his flash was gone. He had never found it sober, so I am sure the whole time he was thinking I am not having a bit of fun. He was convinced sober people could not have fun, even though I would point out time and again that I was sober and I was having a great time. This guy died a alcohol related death. His brother, on the other hand, sobered up, found a personality he enjoyed being and is still going strong. My BF never gave his brain a chance to dry out and start functioning better as a result of sobriety. He wasn't my BF long, however, as per usual alcohol muddled his thinking to the point that he was worthless as a companion, unfaithful and deceptive.
I feel great joy when an alcoholic I like sobers up as I know if he can just hang in there past a state of irritation and repression, he will enjoy life so much more. I think this is why many alcoholics cannot stay sober without help like AA because these guys give them emotional support until they find out how much better they can think with a dried out brain.
I have told Doc he would be superman if he believed in sobriety, with his intellect, but he has convinced himself he would rather not go through the pain.
I have felt bad because my oldest son Gary has always been quite a bad drinker. This was a tragedy to his brother Raymond who committed himself to trying to stay sober when he was 20 years old. He knew he was a disaster when he drank. Gary has always made it to work, so he would mostly confine his heavier drinking to weekends, but he could never be convinced what this cost him in his relationships. He could never be consistent in his caring and communication and still tend to his drinking. He used to make a bar his weekend home. That is where we knew where to find him. So with his drinking pattern developing when he was so young, there has never been a more silent son. This son is very smart, he has been a supervisor for a long time, and he now bids the jobs, but his drinking never allowed him the luxury of being smart in his relationships. He simply let them go. He did not have them. Like Doc, he convinced himself they were not important.
Since his heart attack he has had to quit smoking. He now only chews if he feels the need which his doctor said was better for his heart. He said he is not drinking much either. I know I cannot expect him to quit every vice he has got all at once. But he is 56 now, and I have feared either I would go to my death or now he to his without us ever having a normal relationship. We do have a relationship, but it is a very limited drinker's relationship. In the hours that he could associate and get closer to family, he has loaded his brain with alcohol and could not do it. So his marriage suffered, his children, his brother, and his mom. His first wife divorced him years ago over his drinking, took the kids, and moved miles away. He terrorized his second wife once who was also a drug addict, which basically ended their marriage. Not often but on occasion, if he was opposed or pushed, he could be violent, as most drinkers are if pushed while drinking heavily. Alcohol can cause a person who is basically a peaceful easy going guy like Gary to be violent.
Raymond has tried many times to get Gary to commit completely to sobriety, but did not succeed in convincing him to do it.
Functioning alcoholics like Gary do not know what they are missing, what they have missed, for surely relationships can be as productive and add as much to your life as what you buy with money. Impaired thinking is what causes people not to value relationships. They reject the idea that you have to work on them, cultivate them as you would your garden, water them regularly, and only then will they reward you with the fruits of your labors.
I felt Gary was around too many alcoholics when he was young like his Granddad and Dad, as was Raymond, too. So with my two younger children, Ronda and Dan, I tried never to allow any alcoholics regular access to our home. I did not want them to be around drinkers. This some way paid off because my youngest son Dan did not drink, smoke, or experiment in drugs at all in high school. He left a bottle of champagne he got for graduation in my fridge for a year. I think back of him in high school as being nothing but a joy as was my daughter, Ronda, who never experiemented with anything either. Whereas with my two older boys I was always sick with worry for fear they were going to kill themselves. This went on when they were grown and drank, too, as Gary did regularly. Raymond would fall off the wagon on occasion which was always a big concern because of the way he drank.
Raymond certainly found his voice when he quit drinking in every way. He has written many plays, songs, taught theater to many people, and sings. To his brother Gary I know Raymond seems abnormally talkative just like his mother, but if Gary would sober up he would find that he was inclined to talk a lot more too. I have no doubt he does boozy talk in bars, but he can't do that with sober people. There is so much you miss if you never learn how to talk without alcohol!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

a poem is wanting to be born

the words caressed into being
like the petals of a flower
kissed by the wind
defying eternity
beguiled once more
into purring
the message
that passion sends
to the willing heart
I did not know
I could feel so much
that it would take years
to say it
my hands singing
as I form the words
that only a poem knows how to say
the almost unspeakable
the scented essence of a flower
you can breathe in
taking your time
you cant hurry them
those poems
they must come to mind
in their own time
now do you feel
the unlocked tongue
saying what you want to hear
in the form of a poem


Friday, August 14, 2009

Things are coming right along

I am wearing my rainbow caftan today, which reminds me, check out Connie's Photos for some gorgeous photos of a rainbow, even a double rainbow. It seems like I never have a camera when I see a rainbow here, but rain is so rare. Connie also sent me the header, which inspired me to wear my most colorful outfit. Have you ever noticed that it takes a certain mood to wear brilliant colors? I never wear black any more as I used to when young. Now it makes me think of mourning and death.
I got a call from my dear sisters in Utah, Ann and Linda. Linda drove from San Francisco to St. George in one day, with numb hands yet! When the doctors said she didn't need surgery I guess she decided to use her impaired hands and take off, but my son Dan will drive her the 800 miles to Phoenix when she gets to Boulder. She wants to get some of her belongings she left in her house, like photographs. I hope to have her read some of her poetry for the camera while she is here. Linda said she spent the night in St. George with my other sister, Margie. She has her downstairs rented to her grandson, so Linda slept with her. Linda said Margie's breathing machine which she uses for sleep apnea made a loud noise. She wondered if it does that when Margie stops breathing. Margie did not wake up, but her little dog did. Then Linda said she started to snore and the little dog came and put his nose right into her nose and woke her up. Sounds like a smart little dog. I think he will keep Margie alive, so it's good she's got him.
Then when she got to Ann's Tom, Ann's husband, was having terrible trouble. He started to develop big water blisters on the bottom of his foot and up the leg that the doctor had to put an artifical artery in. They called his doctor and he said to come right over there. Plus on Monday Tom has to have a shot right in his eye that cost $2,000 to try to stop the leakage which is causing him not to be able to see out of it except in a blur. Plus, he can't sleep in his bed anymore due to all the spasms in his bad back and damaged nerves. He was sitting on a chair and went to sleep and fall off and gashed his head on a cabinet and had to go get that taken care of. Ann said every problem he has is getting worse. She is afraid since he is not getting his sleep he will fall asleep while driving, but he was a truckdriver by trade and he just can't stand to let her take the wheel. She is a severe diabetic but I think she is in a lot better shape than he is right now. I had to stop calling her as it irritated him too badly. I told Ann it is no wonder he is an old bear with all that going on. It is no wonder Ann can't get to her blog, KanyonlandKing to write. Or even the family web site, and she is our most faithful contributer.
I have been out to have tea in the patio this morning at 6:30am and ran into the guy from Salt Lake plus the guy who had the alcoholic meltdown a while back. He is a very good person to keep the talking going, so he and I and Kevin from Salt Lake discussed various subjects, always a great way to start the day in my opinion. Kevin is about 25 years younger than I am. He was commenting on my colorful outfit this morning. Said I did not dress like most 78 year olds he knows, must be the hippie in me!
I am waiting for the poor people's food box. If I don't eat it, I will donate it to the office for people here who run out of food. One told me on the patio she had to go ask for food because her check got lost. Then I am going to head on over to the Silvercrest to play pool, as they don't open to outsiders on the weekend. I will have to think of something else to do then. I know I will go to the Farmer's Market and get a little water melon. Good eating right now!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Pool renovation and patio setting for discussion to begin

I woke up to a pleasant surprise this morning--rain. Since my TV is broken I have not been keeping up with the forecasts, so I had no idea it was coming. I went out to a few sprinkles of rain to sit in the patio and drink my tea. A resident I had met before came out and when we began to talk he said something about Utah. I found out he was born and raised just outside of Salt Lake where I lived for at least 7 years, going to high school, then college, and later with my husband and baby son Gary. So we had a great time comparing notes and experiences we had in common. He is an artist and had also gone to one of the Utah colleges and graduated in fine arts. He spent some time at the University of Utah, too, where I went. We talked fast and furious so the morning went by quick.
The workers arrived to work on the pool and I decided to go to the Silvercrest to drink some coffee. When I got there I realized that the single pool player who usually comes in the morning that I have played pool a lot of time with over the years was not there, leaving only a pool player with a companion. He had already said he had been chastized for playing with a lady pool player (more or less). His companion did not seem happy to see me so I whirled around and left. That is the hard part about playing pool, as there are few women players and you are always getting some woman's ire up who does not take kindly to seeing a woman's face among the pool players especially when she is not playing. I even used to have a bartender hating me named Rosie who was a better pool player than I am! But she hated me for another reason, I did not drink alcohol. She would try to bowbeat me into drinking, but as far as I was concerned the taste of alcohol spoiled every drink and I hated beer. I finally had to quit playing pool as they drink too much in bars!
I went about 10 years without playing, and then started again when the last manager's husband was promoting pool here to the Westward Ho. Pierre. He was a very good pool player and once he had recruited players, you had better show up every morning around 7am or he would get mad. His wife, the manager, finally complained she was compelled to eat breakfast alone, so he upped the time a half an hour or so and quit expecting us on Saturday. I finally got tired of being disliked over playing pool, so I quit. Pierre promptly quit, too and got drunk and stayed drunk about a month. I had not realized he was such a bad alcoholic, but his wife finally asked me to please come back and play pool again, so I did , he sobered up, and she acted nice from then on until their divorce. When she suddenly divorced him, put him in an apartment on the patio, and then got fired herself, he trusted me more than any other women, so I became his companion, all because I was a good pool player. But she could be a bad enemy, and she would call him at least twice a week from Texas where she went and ask him to forget the divorce and come back. Each time he would refuse, but he did not dare refuse to talk to her as she had threatened to put a contract out on his life. I heard her myself, and I also met the guy that Pierre feared might do it.
On his death bed he finally told her to quit calling as she was calling about 6 times a day and giving me instructions about how to take care of him. For one thing she told me that Pierre should be allowed to drink all the alcohol he wanted. What could it hurt? I said, well, it will hurt the caregiver more than it will him. She said he had always said if he found out he was dying, he would buy a big bottle and drink til he died.
I told Pierre if he was going to stay drunk forget about me being his caretaker, and the hospice nurse told him he would have to go into hospice under their care where he could not even smoke, so he agreed to give up alcohol (but not smoking).
Anyway I thought you might see a photo of the pool being renovated (header) and also a photo of the patio, under the gazebo. There are no people talking on account of the rain, but it is nice.

P.S. I walked back over later and played pool with all the regulars. I surrender my stick when there are too many regulars in the room to play, and just watch. But I did manage to get in a few games. I had a lovely lunch over there and came back home to take a nap.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Progress so far in breaking up my relationship with Doc

I think I am doing well. I saw Doc yesterday as I was standing in the lobby talking to one of the ailing residents about her back problems. He made sure he said hi and went on his way. He has not called and I have not talked to him since I made my video which has gotten hits quite fast. I guess people are interested that I have finally moved on after complaining about his drinking in so many of my videos.
I talked to Jeff last night about their night of drinking which resulted in a somewhat physical altercation, as Doc says Jeff threw his recorder against the wall and broke it when he foolishly (his words) said he was recording him. Jeff said he told him once, "Go home, Jeff, it is time for you to go home!" Jeff did not take kindly to this command since Doc was as drunk as he was. I told Jeff Doc got so agitated he called all night, but I did not respond. Jeff said he knew it would turn out bad. Yes, bad things may happen when two guys like Jeff and Doc drink together. Doc is prone to insulting analysis once he loses all sense of caution, and Jeff is too hot tempered to hold on to his control when he is very drunk. Doc knows this, so he was taking a risk when he asked him purposely to come and drink with him, after about a year of swearing off that 'drinking buddy' friendship.
Jeff lives on my floor so I make a point of talking to him once in a while, as he is a serious insomniac, and I think he holds on to his temper better when he can vent once in a while.
So last night he and I rode down the elevator and out into the patio to look at the progress of the swimming pool renovation. A couple of guys were out there in the chairs and I introduced Jeff to them as the 'swimmer of the Westward Ho.' He always does at least 100 laps when he swims. Nobody else even comes close. This guy is an athlete so needs plenty of exercise to keep his equiliberum.
I think it becomes a matter of survival in this complex where you are surrounded by people who may lose emotional control at any time to figure out how to be friends without making anybody too mad. That takes some tall doing, since you cannot allow yourself to be intimidated by bad behavior either. That is a sure recipe for living in an atmosphere of fear.
I also had a very lively discussion out under the trees with two black guys. I sat there with them and the woman who does not care for me a whole lot, and wondered how I could get a discussion going with them, and some sort of connection. I decided to use Harriet Beecher Stowe and Uncle Tom's Cabin to start a talk about the politics of today. When I introduced the subject the woman threw a mini tantrum and got up and marched off like I was committing a crime. She hates my efforts to get discussions going. I did not let that stop me as nothing was happening. As soon as she saw that the two black guys had responded and, indeed, had a lot they wanted to say about a black man as president, she came back over and entered the discussion. I think she is a democrat and just could not resist.
I try not to go out to the patio too often so she can have time out there without me trying to start a discussion. I think she has been too reclusive to appreciate my efforts.
One of the black guys is young and personable but nearly blind. The other is retired from a long time job as a cab driver. He especially love to talk. I already knew that from other encounters with him, or I might not have been so bold. He kept saying that never in his wildest dreams did he think a person of color would be elected president in his lifetime. I told him that I had seen my black grandson take on more confidence when people tell him he looks like the president. I think he feels validated as he never did before. I think he always felt too different in appearance, growing up in an all white family.
So I already think my reading of Harriet Beecher Stowe is bearing fruit. I copied and pasted my review in my newspaper blog G4Life. If you notice the headlines on AzCentral News on my blog list, you will see reports of extremely violent events on there quite often. In fact, I have been somewhat taken back by how many violent events occur in Arizona when you see these headlines encapsulated day after day.
Yes, I perceive that discussion is badly needed lest we perish or suffer a serious curtailment of our freedoms due to the violent people in our society. The time is past where we can just ignore them and be certain of our security. I think we all have to take action now and then to keep the peace in our communities. Otherwise the disturbers of the peace will eventually outnumber the passive peaceful. We have to be active keepers of the peace!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The doggie days of summer with photos of my new granddog, Raymond's Baby

My grand niece Kate sent me photos of Baby and her dog McKye playing together in Boulder and having a lot of fun. Kate has a blog for family and friends chronicling her life with her baby Kelton with lots of great photos of a darling subject.
I have gotten in the habit of going out early mornings on the patio, the time when dog owners are generally giving their dogs their early morning walk. This morning the renovaters were pouring the red cement walkway around the swimming pool, so a brigade of young muscular guys with wheelbarrows full of red concrete mix greeted me. They were working so hard wheeling their loads in from outside the gate and sweating so profusely I began to feel quite lazy. I hardly knew there was so much to this renovating of the pool until I started watching its progress every day. It is the most popular thing right now for residents to view. We haven't had this much building activity around here since the renovation of the tower where I live a few years ago. After that, we had the renovation of the elevators. You can count on somebody building something every day which always signals to me a busy bunch of people, and as long as some workers can keep on working all is well.
As for Baby, isn't she adorable with those big ears? The first photo I posted a while back did not show them.
Don't know what I am going to do today. I just play it by ear. I am afraid of intruding everywhere in people's regular activities after having been out of circulation so long breakfasting with Doc, talking and making videos. I have not heard from Doc anymore which is good. Shows he is adjusting to my absence okay. I had gotten so aggravated I don't really miss him either. It was time.
Maybe I will go play some pool this morning, maybe not. I think I will at least go and check to see if anyone is playing as this morning a bus was coming to take people out to breakfast somewhere, a regular activity they do each month. I purchased seven bus tickets, each for $1 yesterday so I am set to ride the bus for a while. I went to the grocery store yesterday and the thrift store which had unexpectedly changed hands since I was there last. My favorite clerk who has been working to Unique for years is gone. The Unique is now the Salvation Army thrift store, but I got a schedule and see they have some good sales, so I will be all right! I got two silk sleeveless blouses yesterday in beautiful colors of gold and burnt orange to go with my long full skirts. I don't wear anything else in the hottest month of the year here, August.
So I hope you get a lift from seeing this photo of Baby and his pal playing so exuberently. I did.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Harriet Beecher Stowe fought for women's rights as well as for the abolition of slavery

Most have heard of her famous novel, "Uncle Tom's Cabin" which people all over the world read and is credited with being the novel that did the most for the cause for freeing the slaves. But I did not know until I read this book how she often entwined the 'slavery of women' with the the slavery of the black race. At that time women did not yet have the vote and she struggled mightily to compete with the men as a writer. She also wrote about the enslavement of women in marriage where they were forced to wear themselves out in constant child bearing no matter how much work they had to do to keep up with the children they already had. In fact her husband had to order her home one time when she had managed to stay away months, but she said that she just did not feel well enough to go home and get pregnant. She had already had a number of children and miscarriages by then. Sure enough when she finally did go home, she became pregnant immediately.
Her own mother had died at the age of 41 of tuberculosis after bearing her minister husband, Lyman Beecher, ten children, plus taking in boarders. Excessive child bearing and overwork surely sapped her good health, because on the whole this was a very hardy bunch of people.
In fact, I would say that Harriet Beecher Stowe still has advanced views on Women's Rights which surpass those of today, putting the blame of constant pregnancy squarely on some mighty forceful husbands instead of somehow making it seem like it is the fault of the little invader in the womb. Her father was a minister and she always preached Christianity, which surely helped her to become immensely popular, not only here but in England, which had already outlawed slavery and was trying to influence America to outlaw it too. The churches were a lot more powerful then than they are today.
The rise of legalized abortion has dealt Christianity a mighty blow not only here but in England, even in Italy, the home of the Catholic Church. We will have to defeat that as being focused on the wrong thing and making women look bad with a resort to violence to solve an age old problem, unwanted pregnancy. Legalized abortion is a fast fix compared to fighting unfair men, men who would keep women down forever if possible. I am sure that is what Harriet Beecher Stowe would say were she alive today, being the stalwart Christian that she was. I think she would agree that progress at the price of death for the fetus is not progress. It is just going the wrong way for women down the difficult road to control one's very life and health. The sacrifice of the child is not acceptable for the mother who is the child's first protector. Yet, for years we have focused on the child as the problem, while the real problem lies in the relationship between man and woman. To agree to sacrifice the child puts the woman into a brutal category in regard to her child, similar to what exists in many cases between a man and a woman. Now we have the problem of trying to persuade women that brutality toward their unborn children is not a good solution. We cannot sacrifice what it means to be a mother putting her child's welfare first at all costs.
I remember how hard I thought about how I could live in a marriage with a husband prone to violence and still not have a child when I didn't think I was strong enough to take care of it. My health was impaired, so I felt that I had to resist pregnancy at all costs after the trauma I endured from him with my first child since I as a Christian and did not believe in abortion. I remember what a battle I fought for months to get my young husband to accept no penetration sex. He had never heard of such a thing. I said, no, because I am probably the first women in history to think it up and use it after marriage. I reminded him over and over that he had made my life hell while I was pregnant, to the point I left him. I came back because I could not live in my parents' home and listen to their terrible wars indefinitely, and I was too impaired to work and take care of a baby, too. I tried that, but my nerves were so tattered I did not last any time alone in an apartment by myself. I had to call my mother and ask her to take me to her home. I finally decided that if my husband who was asking for me to come back would agree to the kind of sex I specified I would return.
Harriet Beecher Stowe nor her mother I am sure would have had no way to back up that request. Too many pregnancies were their lot whether they were risking their very lives or not. Harriet's mother died young, so Harriet always kept that in mind, as she took her many trips, I am sure to forestall too frequent pregnancies as much as anything. She also wrote to establish her own independence. In fact, in later years she became the main breadwinner. She also expressed the thought that some of her children conceived and born under great stress simply were not as strong as the ones she had when she was able to space them better.
I used to be horrified at women who were at the mercy of husbands who kept them constantly pregnant. We have to face as Harriet Beecher Stowe forthrightly did that brutality, force, and intimidation can keep women barefoot and pregnant for years.
I decided another book called "Brainwash to Hogwash" was just too disturbing to review which is about the child bearing in a polygamist commune written by a very tough woman who escaped after a horrific childhood in polygamy. I would probably not be rewarded for writing about such harsh facts. And because we tend to think those things don't exist outside of aberrent life styles like polygamy.
But Harriet Beecher Stowe still has something to say to women, even though she lived back in the days of the civil war which is why this book, so well written by Joan Hedrick, kept me riveted until the very end. I admire her even more now that I have read about her life.
She was probably the most famous novelist in the world at one point. I envy her that some, but times are hard. I don't expect fame, as it would likely kill me in short order. She had to be a woman of iron strength to deal with hers. But many many other women will never be famous either because too many of them will be too abused to rise to those heights, and far too many of them will be murdered.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Catching up with my fascinating friend Mercedes

Mercedes called yesterday. The last time I heard from her she said she was going on a cruise many months ago. I did not know what happened to her and was almost to conclude she had found a life on the cruiseship circuit maybe singing? She said she had been in an automobile accident which injured her to the point she could not use her right arm. She said Barnes and Noble the bookstore where she has worked for many yers had been extremely good to her, and she was just about ready to go back to work after considerable time healing. She also said she had bought a house in foreclosure between a Barnes and Noble store on Camelback and downtown, so that puts her a lot closer to the Westward Ho.
I became fond of Mercedes when she was volunteering to work in the computer lab possibly 8 or 9 years ago. She always showed up each week and took an interest in many residents. We were grateful she always came to our karaoke parties because she could sing. She always added a lot to the party when she was there.
In fact I am hoping to invite my son Gary over along with Mercedes to a karaoke party in my apartment and I will film them singing! She sang with Raymond a couple of times when he came to our Westward Ho karaoke parties. Those were the days. Pierre was a great fan of karaoke parties and he was pushng them. He sang with Mercedes, too.
In fact, the last time I saw Mercedes Raymond and I spent more than hour trying to find her house and the party she was giving. Raymond would not give up. We finally found it by the sounds of a band playing. I will post some photos of the party, so you can see what a great time everybody was having. Mercedes had a live band and lots of singing and some great food.

Raymond and Meredes with friends flanking them at the party

Mercedes singing with the band to her party

But now Mercedes is becoming a healer, which is why she called. She has learned someething called pranic healing and she has sessions every Thursday night in Scottsdale where she leads. Maybe when my sister Linda comes we can go as I know Linda will be very interested because she needs healing. Linda took healing classes at her spiritualist church. I have always thought she had healing hands, like my grandfather who was a chiropracter. Anyway Mercedes was looking into the possibility of doing sessions here at the Westward Ho, but I told her I doubted if the manager would permit it, as they have had a lot of trouble with the desires of many different people to hold all kinds of services here. So they finally wouldn't let any groups have services including those who had been having them for years. If not, Mercedes said she will look for a spot downtown where a room can be secured for such, possibly in an alternative church. I think that is where her session of pranic healing is being held.
I am very interested in what she is doing because it involves telepathic healing as well. She says that they have been experiencing great success with sending healing vibrations to people who may not even know they are the subjects. I am sure many in blogland would be interested in any kind of healing as long as it worked.
When Mercedes came to take me out to lunch for my birthday, the day I took the header photo, she had been studying something about angels in our midst. I was fascinated with that, too, which I will have to talk to her about in more detail when I see her again.
Mercedes has had a fascinating life. She is of Irish descent and she went back to Ireland to college at Trinity. Mercede's father was a wealthy owner of a piano store in Baltimore I think. She was the youngest of a large family. Her parents died and the estate went into probate for many years. In fact I think it still is with many conflicts among the heirs So how do you beat that for interesting, an Irish heiress from Baltimore who went to Trinity, married an Englishman, divorced him and came out to Arizona to live, which is where we met her. I will be looking forward to our next encounter.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Playing pool with the master

I am just going by my instincts in going over to the Silvercrest to play pool. I skipped Thursday after finding a couple of guys here in the Westward Ho to play with, but I decided to go back over Friday. I saw Joann in the lobby and asked if she minded my playing with John. She said heck no, go ahead. Jimmy came at the same time I got there and he and I and John played for a while. Then here came Nate from the Westward Ho so that made four of us. Those guys play fast and down to business which was a lot of fun for me. I didn't play too badly for being so rusty, but I swear I could not play pool with Doc anymore and it was impossible to go find other pool players while I was with him. I did not play for over a year.
Doc did not hang out in pool bars like I did, so he does not appreciate great pool playing. He wouldn't take it serious. He wouldn't even believe me when I told him about the great pool player LeRoy over to the Silvercrest. He wanted me to take him over to the Silvercrest and he would beat him!
LeRoy came in about 11am and was in a better mood than he was on Tuesday. Since he promotes pool over there, he did not interrupt our foursome and played by himself on the other table. We played a few more games and then Jimmy put up his stick and LeRoy joined us. We played a couple of games, the four of us and then Nate and John left for lunch.
I remember how scared I used to be to play LeRoy, but we had played together enough that I was not nervous even if rusty. I knew he would understand, since he is a smart guy. We talked about Doc and alcoholism. LeRoy has hustled pool in a lot of bars so he knows a lot about drinkers. LeRoy does not drink. He is like another master pool player, a Mormon, from up home, he knows nobody can beat him drunk. He is a master pool player which means he does not let anything affect his pool playing adversely. He does not smoke either, and walks miles to the grocery stores. The drunks die but he is still in great shape, I believe around the same age I am.
LeRoy is not much of a ladies man. Like I say he lets nothing interfere with his pool playing. He loves poker, too, and has been almost too much of a gambler and card shark for my taste. But it does feel like a privilege to play pool with him. He beat me very fast in some of the games, but in one or two I got to play a few shots. I knew I was not going to get lucky and beat LeRoy, not after such a long layoff, no way. I have beat him a very few times but the balls had to lay right and I had to get way ahead of him from the start. Like any master, he was tickled a pool playin' woman actually won a game off him. In fact, he will give anybody every opportunity to beat him--if they can!
He jokes and laughs with the guys, so a game of pool always takes on some real excitement when he is in the room making the balls fly just where he wants them to go. He usually makes a running commentary about where he is going to shoot a ball and predicts quite accurately just where it will go. He knows English backwards and forwards. Amazing things he does with a pool stick.
Players like LeRoy are the reason I fell in love with the game and find it endlessly fascinating--when I am playing in the right company.

Friday, August 7, 2009

I try to scare up some Westward Ho pool players

I asked Nikita who is also trying to scare up some activities for people to help me and she was able to come up with two right away. So I played a couple of games with one who left because his back was hurting and about four games with another guy with the prettiest wild white hair who was good. We had some enjoyable games. Although our pool room is pretty shabby, not nearly as nice as the Silvercrest one which is furnished by the Laura Daniels Senior Center, a part of that complex, it will do for some practice runs.
Now it is around 1:30 AM and I could not sleep for some reason. I watched So You Think You Can Dance earlier, and was it good. Both nights were some of the best displays of dancing I have seen on television. These people do a class act show. Jeanine won, which I think she deserved, as she was very versatile. Kayla, the other woman finalist, was outstanding, too, tall, blonde and beautiful as well as a fabulous dancer. The two guy finalists were very good, too, so now I don't know what I will do without a dance show to watch.
My daughter is going to Palm Springs this weekend for a West Coast Swing Dance convention. She always has lots of fun there. It is great having such a lover of the dance to talk to about dancing. She will have taped both dance shows so she can watch them when she gets back if she doesn't have time to see them before. She is religious about dancing.
I even put out the word to Nikita I would play ping pong, too. I need to get in ping pong shape so I can play with my grandson Jamal if he drops by when he starts ASU. His girlfriend is going to be living in the dorm downtown just a few blocks from me, so he might come around more than when he lived 40 miles north. He plays tennis. I hope he will start playing out to ASU. It would be a shame to waste those skills he has developed going out in tennis in high school. Everybody needs a game that will give them a workout.
I do feel a little better every day now that I am no longer smelling alcohol fumes. They were getting to me. I even got around to some good blog reading today. I have got more catching up to do but I am making progress.
I decided I had to scare up some pool players here so as not to disrupt their established pool playing routines at the Silvercrest. That was making me a little nervous. There are a lot of new people moving in here. This old hotel attracts a younger crowd, since it has history and is located in the heart of downtown Phoenix. The main nervousness I feel playing pool is bothering the pool players' girlfriends. That has always caused some problems, especially if they don't play pool.
It felt really good to play with a good player tonight, but a younger man was there who kept saying he was no good and didn't want to play. He called the guy who was playing a 'snuggle bunny' once, so I thought he must be a boyfriend! He was very nice about us playing a few games and then he took him off to cook supper.
I have never lived around gays before which I find interesting. Maybe this way I will become friends with some. I am being very reserved at first so I won't antagonize anybody with something I say.
We are all tiptoeing around here part of the time trying to figure out how to get along with such a varied mix of people, retired and disabled. I am enjoying some of the conversations I am having out under the trees in the patio. There is a young woman who never talks to anyone, but she has appointed herself the housekeeper of the patio. She comes out and arranges the chairs and tables and the cigarette retainers. I don't know if she mops or sweeps after everyone goes to bed, but most of the patio people are intrigued by this mysterious patio housekeeper. Tonight she was eyeing everything thoughtfully, and then she came back out and moved a few things to suit her fancy and left without a word.
There are quite a few residents here who never say a word to anyone, some for years! But if you try to talk to a silent one, you are apt to get an annoyed response. I have learned not to try to draw out the silent and withdrawn. Sometimes accepting their presence in a friendly way works best. We have quite a few people living here who don't speak the English language well, so they are mostly silent for that reason, Roumanians, Koreans, etc.
I have been reading a wild biography I have been thinking about reviewing for a few days. I want to do a good job on this one as it is a jewel among biographies. It won the Pulitzer Prize in 1995 deservedly so I think, but I am not through reading it yet, so will hold off on the review. Got to figure out what is keeping me awake, so I can sleep! Good night all.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Parting of the ways video made in my apartment

When Raymond wrote in a new entry in his blog Cowboys and Bohemians that he was finalizing three play dates in San Francisco in September, I got so excited that I went down and got the video camera (4th interest is mine) so I could make a video about parting of the ways with Doc and preparing for a new exciting year with theater. By the way Connie just sent me the header of the lone cardinal. It made me feel kind of sad to see this bird there alone, but it had to be. Thanks, Connie, who finds a way to illustrate some of what I am feeling.
While I was down to Doc's getting the camera and editing my video he insisted on playing the video we made when I accused him of committing an infidelity and broke up with him over the film he made with another woman. Since Doc doesn't do sex, he does not understand how he could have committed an infidelity. Well, it had to be explained to him that just because people aren't having sex anymore that doesn't mean they can't be unfaithful to their partner in other ways. Doc, instead of doing something about the terrible problems we had as a couple including drinking, just went to find someone to entertain him after I went home because he was too drunk for me to tolerate. Doc even played this video for the other woman who was quite taken back to think she was being accused of an infidelity with him by making this movie. If I had not left Doc this film would sound like an old harpy bitching, but since I did leave him, it is now hilarious. The look of confusion on Doc's face is priceless. Doc had the nerve to ask me to sit down and make another video with him, but I refused, saying that I was only going to spend a very limited amount of time in his presence so I could continue on making this breakup a reality. I said I just don't want to live in your alcoholic world anymore.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Playing with the pool players at the Silvercrest

Yesterday was a long session as we started before 9 and played through until lunchtime at 11:30. I planned to stay for lunch as the meal served there for $2 contained food I can eat. I also found out I could buy bus tickets over there for $1 a piece which is way better than buying them at the terminal for $1.85. Today they are having a bake sale over there I plan to attend before playing pool.
The guys let me into the group pretty well. I was a little concerned about that. John's lady came in who does not play poor but she is cool with a woman playing with John, who loves pool with a great passion. She does not play, but boy is she a sharp dresser. She had the most gorgeous outfit on yesterday, a beige pants suit. I love her attitude toward clothes. She wears clothes she likes every day if she wants to. She has always done that.
Besides John, I played with two players who live in the Westward Ho, Al and Nate, I have known a long time. Jimmy was a new outside player. LeRoy, the master, pictured in the photo did not come. He must have had something else to do. He is such a challenge I love playing with him, but the others were all I could handle. I need to get some practice before I could expect to play a respectable game wih LeRoy.
Yesterday Doc called me up to see if I had the Sunday paper! I did not, but actually he wanted to tell me that the night he called all night he had gotten into a physical altercation with another resident. I consider this as much his fault as the younger guy's as Doc asks him to drink with him, supplies him with alcohol, which he cannot handle. He has too bad of temper. So then Doc gets drunk and goads him a little and the other guy has now taken to attacking him right in his own apartment. The police told him the last time he called them over this not to drink with this guy, period.
I soon cut Doc off and said I no longer wanted to hear any details of his drinking troubles, so the conversation was very short. When I came back from the Silvercrest Doc was playing the piano in the Concho room, but he sounded very rusty since he has not played seriously for eons. But I cannot concern myself with what he does. I am not going to make any videos for a while. Since I own part of the camera I will eventually try to see if I can make one up here and then upload it down there. If that doesn't work I might have to save for a camera of my own if I want to make any more videos. They are a lot of fun, so I might do just that in time. I could easily have my son Dan help me upload the software to to edit on my computer.
Well, I am off to the bake sale and more pool. I went out to the patio, but it was so hot and muggy this morning, I was driven in doors. Yesterday before I went to play pool I chatted with the woman who had taken exception to me coming out there and talking. She apparently decided to be friends, which was a relief. She is intelligent and talks well, so she could actually be a boon to my life if we can get past the first hurdles to friendship. A lot of residents have trouble accepting that the patio and other places are common grounds and being rude to other residents who come to them does not work. You have to be polite to all and can't make anyone feel unwelcome just because they are interfering with a conversation with a more fascinating resident. They may want to get in on the fun, too.
I have worked in the tenant organizations enough that I want to see lonely residents come out and join in the fun. Ways can always be found to have private conversations, just not in common areas. But we always have trouble with people taking exception to people they consider inferior to themselves or something having their say. It's probably like that all over the world.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Strange dream--what does it mean?

I dreamed I had a new boyfriend who was tall and looked foreign. I thought a woman came up to us in the crowd that it seemed like I knew from years back. She was slim and very stylish, but she had something red on her face, like rouge only way too much of it. I introduced her to my new boyfriend and all of a sudden this 'nice' woman attacked him! She said so many mean things to him so fast that I was completely taken by surprise. I was trying to get my wits about me to defend him when he ran off into the crowd. I ran down the street calling after him but for the moment he seemed completely gone. I wondered if I would ever be able to find him again.
I had this dream a couple of nights ago and am still wondering what it means. I do think however if he really was my boyfriend we would be able to find each other again once he had gotten over being upset over what the woman said to him. I couldn't figure out why she talked to him that way since she did not seem to really know him. But do we ever know each other?
I think this is a warning dream. I don't think it has happened yet. I think I am being given time to try to prevent this woman from having such a devastating effect on my new boyfriend.
The wars among the old about love can get every bit as savage as among the young. I have been battling another woman I do not know at all who has taken a marked dislike to me, I guess because I am spending more time out with people down to the patio than I have done before. I have naturally had to find some place interesting to go to since leaving Doc. I think she was also in the dream but not predominately, she was just another one I was having trouble with in my new role as a free spirit! Ha. I think this woman was also fighting with me over my new boyfriend in my dream.
I figured out that this boyfriend who seemed foreign in the dream had his counterpart in a tall dark resident here I have felt attracted to. But I have gotten no further with him than hello. I like seeing him here, hoping to talk to him sometime, so I hope something or someone doesn't run him off forever. I am being very cautious about hooking up to anyone for now and some time in the future. I think that is a mistake after a break up with someone you have been spending a lot of time with. I have to give myself time to adjust.
So I am not a threat to anybody right now, no more than I have been all along. Doc was never able to engage my romantic feelings so I retained my attraction to another guy in here I met 6 years ago. Those feelings have just kind of simmered along all these years with Doc. I finally decided that it was crazy not to have these feelings for Doc and put up with his drinking, so I decided to get out of that relationship. The other man has moved on, has a girlfriend, and seems pretty happy, but I did feel such a surge of feeling for him again after I left Doc I wondered if he was really as happy and engaged as he seems. However he seems still 'foreign' to me, as we never went together. I don't think he ever even touched me. The attraction stayed in the mind. Although such attractions can be very powerful they still do not have the reality of actual relationships.
Perhaps it is he who is in for some sort of savage blow from this girlfriend as was suggested in the dream. I hope not. For he seems quite fragile and does not give his heart easily. I am sure events will transpire that will explain the meaning of the dream, so I thought I would write it down here so I can refer to it later.

Go and see my sister Ann's marvelous photo of a 'royal bull elk' in her blog KanyonlandKing, taken near King's Pasture on the mountain. That pasture always meant so much to us as a family and I have never seen the mountain terrain looking more green and beautiful as in her photo. My sister Linda also wrote another blog entry in her Vooman's Voice blog explaining what a hard time she is having to find stuff, even her blog so she can write on it. The terrain is rough in blogland until you get used to it. But her best friend Jeannie from Phoenix who is very computer wise has found her blog and is now a follower and commenter. That should encourage Linda to think it is possible to tame the Internet blogworld and get it to do what you want instead of it frustrating you all the time.
My emotions have been in such a turmoil I have not been able to read too many blogs yet. If I see signs of trauma I go and check friends out, but am still in recovery!


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