Sunday, October 31, 2010

Dancin' and Drummin' at the Who-o-o-o!

Sometimes action speaks louder than words. Below are some of the residents dressed up and not, getting ready to do a little dancing as the drummin begins.

In the header photo our Hud Coordinator Sharon stands by a resident with purple hair waiting for the good times to begin.
Pretty Abby is all dressed up for the show, but Harvey and Butch are just their smiling selves. PJ in a colorful Halloween hat can hardly waiting for the dancing to begin. The drummers are ready to start and finally Lois, a resident in a white T-shirt, outdoes all the dancers with her moves!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Happy Birthday to that second kid, what's his name, oh yes I remember now Raymond!

Raymond was born in 1957 and always complained that he could find no pictures or hardly any of self in family album up until he went to school. Yes, that oldest son, Gary Dean, was photographed to a farthywell, in fact he almost broke us paying for a big photo every year we or I signed for, so naturally there was no money or inclination to speak of when second son came along, but he was certainly a cute little fellow, just as good natured and smiling all the time as his older brother. I didn't know what it was not to have smiling kids until last son came along they called 'little frown' who did not smile at all until he was 2 months. He thought a big scary frown suited him better, but oh yes, lest I forget whose birthday this is let us get back to Raymond who did get one photo taken of him when he was three months old and that had to do until he was formally photographed at 3 when I dubbed him the sunshine boy he looked so sweet and 'sunny' to me.

But as you can see not having his picture taken early on did not prevent him from looking the picture of confidence in the school boy photo. I think this is a photo that accurately portrays the character and looks that were going to take him into the world of theatrics and tricks and making a name for himself. He was already walking on his hands everywhere by then. When he was ten I would take him to the grocery store and if I did not watch him closely he would walk on his hands up and down the aisles. I remember him inspiring children even then. A little boy in the grocery story saw him walking on his hands and pointed to him yelling at his mother, "I want to do that!" Raymond did end up teaching a lot of little boys and girls to try to do just that plus more.

There is one quiet photo of him he sent me once that turned out to be my favorite because he looked so pensive on it, thoughtful.

This photo, however, of Raymond with long blond locks just like his cousin Camille's, two years older, personifies to me some of the trouble he got in high school. Both of my sons wore their hair as long as the principal would let them, and I was sometimes called in because it was just too long. Once Raymond, before he grew to six feet, was taken for a girl by one cop who picked up him and his friend Red and called me to come and get her. I knew who he meant and said okay and then thought I better check and said I did not have a daughter. The cop said 'oh er-son.'

However Raymond soon became known as a gymnast who was just a little bit too tall and had too long of feet to be the ideal size for turning somersaults, but that never stopped him at all.

He was and has remained as interesting a kid as you want to have around, sometimes too interesting as he was fascinated with the wild west and playing outlaws, sometimes for real. And got himself and even his mother in all kinds of trouble. We had only lived in California a week until he and I both had to visit our probation officer once a week for six months. I had already pulled him out of a scrape in Arizona by moving him, but as you can tell he always had a way of calling attention to himself. His older brother pointed that out to me. Said he had done everything Raymond did but just did not get caught like Raymond did. Raymond's purpose in his early life in theater, starting in the 6th grade, was to make sure nobody missed his act, if it was playing a scarecrow that turned somersaults in the Wizard of Oz or what. In fact when I went to see him play Little League I was shocked to find him playing Yogi Berri as catcher at home plate. Usually people watch the pitcher but in this game everyone's eyes was focused on young Yogi Berri at the plate wondering what a sixth grade little league player would think of to holler next at the befuddled batter.
Once the restaurant where I worked hired Raymond as a bus boy. I was even shocked to see that he bussed tables so fast that you held your breath wondering why everything just didn't fly off and crash. I could see he was practicing his clown and juggler act to keep from being bored. I was even a little relieved when he said the job was too boring and he was going back to his other restaurant where I suppose he had a bigger starring role.
Life with Raymond was never boring for anybody. He was always a very entertaining kid and kind hearted and sensitive too.
The little kids in the family were naturally fascinated with his act, as he would always try to do improv with them and get them to performing as soon as possible.
Here he is with baby Ethan and Dante is hanging on his shoulder who became a natural for his improv act, Raymond playing the Italian cook father and Dante is waiter son. Dante would serve us the meal and collect tips from us as directed by his mean father who threatened to beat him every little while. Dante thought it was all great fun. I don't know if he inherited his uncle's actor genes or what but he's another you can't take your eyes off from when he's around.

Thought you would enjoy this tour into Raymond's past via photos for his birthday, a little different, just as he is. A very entertaining son. Below is a photo I took of him with his dog Baby, his latest student he is teaching tricks.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Congrats to daughter Ronda for passing $550 test to become an International Lactation Consultant to add to nurse's degree

In the photo Ronda was graduating from ASU in 2008 with a nursing degree.
Since the cause of breast feeding has always been big on Ronda's list of health concerns for babies, she is very happy she has passed this big test she was studying for during the summer. She said it was fairly hard, but she hoped she had studied enough and she did. She has always had a very good memory so that probably helped. Right now she is working at a new job which might be in jeopardy if the public votes to have the funds transferred to other places in the budget that the legislature thinks might need them more. This child care help for the very young at risk might be sacrificed as other needed programs have been in the budget crunch.
I also noted in the paper that some of the restrictions on abortion that passed the desk of Governor Brewer at the beginning of the year will now go into effect including one in which a doctor must perform an abortion rather than a nurse practitioner which PP says will keep women in rural areas from securing an abortion, as physicians are in rather short supply there. But PP can no longer delay the restriction from going into effect. It has been impossible for the legislature to get any restrictions on abortion passed and into effect with democratic governor Janet Napolitano in office who vetoed them all, but once she left for her job as head of national security, Governor Janet Brewer who is pro life passed them on through. I hope to see news of others going into effect soon, too. I hope the legislature will keep finding ways to cut back on abortion deaths, keeping the cause in the news and in the public awareness.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

We wear masks in more ways than one!

As you can see I did find an eye mask over to the Farmer's Market. It was only $6 so I thought that was a good price. I was thinking as I bought it how I have always been fascinated with masks, being in theater for one thing, and because we all have to mask our feelings at one time or another. I have sure been masking my feelings lately down in the patio as my aggravation has increased. A new person has joined us down there every day for hours and she is a very extroverted personality with a lot to say and a bombastic way of saying it. I also know from her past she is very hot tempered, so I am trying to think of a diplomatic way of telling her she should show a little interest in what someone else has to say once in a while. As it is, people are not entering the conversation at all unless they are very hardy, and the patio round table has gone down a notch in content and interest.
I have also been worried about members of my family and sometimes we have to mask what we are really thinking in order to deal with crisis. We have got to be very diplomatic when people are hurting. Especially the young, so I have contented myself as I sometimes do with sending telepathic words of encouragement and am also trying to iron out past conflicts that way so as not to say anything to anybody I should not until the crisis has passed. Well, I won't then. Some conflicts are deep seated in the family especially when there is divorce. Divorce is a good indication that these conflicts are not going away easily and may continue to do harm for years.
Now I must go down to Doc's who is going to play Obama's appearance on the Jon Stewart show back to me. I will see you later and tell you what I think. Obama is sure to be wearing a good presidential mask for the people. I will see what I think of it!
PSS I watched President Obama on the Jon Stewart show which I really enjoyed. If anything I think President Obama is focused almost too hard on improving our way of life with his term as president. He had a hard time relaxing enough to enjoy himself on a comedian's show for heaven's sakes. Jon Stewart of course enjoyed himself immensely and got the president to relax and smile a little bit. Better luck next time. But I think the president is wearing a terrific presidential mask which will probably help him win his next term, if he keeps this up. I think he is very intelligent and is working very hard to do a good job. I will let others re-elect him as I continue to cast my vote for a pro life candidate. I have to put pro life as a high priority because we must have more working on this cause to be able to bring down the abortion deaths.
I am afraid as intelligent as many democrats sound, like Jon Stewart and Barack Obama there is still the fact that there is popular intellectualism and then there is the tough unpopular kind that republicans don't get behind enough either. The kind that supports life and rejects death as a solution. Good people have to be supporting bad policy for it to stay the law, and a lot of people have to get behind reform for a violent solution to a problem to be rejected. So the work never ends as long as this law goes untouched.
This is why I paid tribute to Sarah Palin and her son Trig. She lived up to principle by bearing this son and taking him about with her. She doesn't have to say anything. Trig speaks volumes for her cause. Pro Life.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

We are getting ready for Halloween in the WHo, or I am anyway

Seeing my sister Linda King on the karaoke party video reminded me of all the parties she attended with me at the WHo. This Saturday will probably be the first big Halloween doings she will miss at the Ho she would love. A party featuring Dancing and Drummin' would get her all excited, except she still has numb hands and feet, she says, so don't know whether she could dance as she used to, for hours at a time. Time changes everything! I just got word from her son Scott Dylyn Hall on the family site that she has found a new apartment to move into after developing a frightening allergic reaction to hers from either mold or a gas leak or both! He also posted a flyer on the family site of an unveiling she is having of her latest sculpture of the poet, Jack Hirshman, plus another poet named Neeli Cherry she also sculptured. She and both of these poets will read their poetry as well. Her son Scott is helping her with this. He also reported that he has sent her screen play about her life with Bukowski to another movie producer who is said to really like Buk. He worked with his mother on the script so has a vested interested in getting it produced!
In the photo below she and I are standing at the entrance of the Beat Museum in San Francisco on a trip we made there three years ago. The tall figures are Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassidy, the beat poets and writers and close friends. Jack's most famous novel is "On the Road."

Well, I am going over to the Wednesday Farmer's Market this afternoon to see if I can buy an eye mask. After many years, I can actually wear one! Look, Ma, no glasses! I can hardly wait. I was always blind as a bat in a Halloween mask so never liked to wear one. There won't be as many vendors on Wednesday, but I will see if the one is there I noticed last Saturday.
I hope everyone who has a mail-in ballot has voted. They are begging for us to get our votes in there, otherwise it is going to cost money to count them if they are not mailed in early. Arizona can't afford it!
My niece Cheryl just had a hysterectomy two days ago, but is recovering well. Raymond is over to Boulder tending the dogs until she returns. He has been too busy to clock in I take it. He said he still has a lot to do before he can head south where the snowbirds all go when it gets frosty in the cold places!
I called my son Gary who says he is waiting for a phone call to go to work for another construction company as an estimator. He says he is getting bored now, so needs to get back to work. I hope the phone call comes soon.
A bunch of residents I see are thriller readers and have filled our library with copies of the latest as well as older ones. I just read "Storm Flight" by Mark Berent which I thought was one of the best of the many I have read. It was all about the last days in Viet Nam written by a former pilot. I think this guy writes very well about the piloting of the fighter planes as well as the B-52 bombers Nixon sent to bomb Hanoi to persuade them to meet the U.S.'s terms in ending the war and releasing all the prisoners of war. I recommend this writer. I am going to try to find more of his books. I get library books, too, but in between times I stock up on the thrillers I have not read in our little WHo library. I don't know what I will do when I catch up on all the thrillers. Then I will really be scrounging for something to read. Maybe I will be inspired to write rather than to read! I hope so.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Son Raymond and I sing to a karaoke party in 2001

I am springing this surprise on my son Raymond who will be headed for Phoenix in the next couple of weeks. He is always saying he is never ready for a video so I went back in my videos and found this karaoke party and filmed some of it off Doc's big TV. Doc persuaded me I needed to put me in it, too, so Raymond would accept it better. He looks very young and handsome in this video so I am sure he will just love it. I was with Pierre, King of Karaoke, who is sitting beside me as well as my sister Linda now in San Francisco. She used to attend all our parties. Pierre is gone but Doc hasn't left this world yet, and helped me film. He says he never knows what I am going to want to do when I walk in the door in the way of making videos.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Dancing and Drumming in the Patio to take place on Halloween

I am looking forward to Halloween now, as a poster has gone up announcing a musical group is returning to celebrate with us from 6pm and 8Pm in the patio. I am thinking about buying an eye mask I saw over to the Farmer's Market and some ways to decorate one of my hats which I will wear with orange and black. The last time this group came they said the drumming was so loud from the lobby where they set up it could be heard several floors up. I forgot about it and did not attend, but I don't plan to miss this one! I think they will be just right for Halloween.
I have primed Doc to make a karaoke video for Halloween. So that will be coming up soon. Linda, who did the video singing the national anthem to show how she had recovered her voice after a permanent tracheotomy is practicing her songs for a Christmas video. She is very pleased to hear that her "trake" video has so far gotten 77 hits on You Tube. It seems that people have been interested enough in her dilemma to watch it. It is still listed in the front of my channel GerryKing40 in case you did not see it.
Residents are still talking about how some of their photos were turned into 'art' with blobs on them and hung in a local gallery. One lady said hers looked like she was being prepped for surgery with a white cap painted over her hair. Some have no idea theirs were displayed, which by the way will be taken down I think this Wednesday so I will not be able to get over there and see all of them after all. I don't go trekking around at night. I did see about three of them.
I have heard that the resident whose photo was featured in the New Times with squiggles and blobs on it called up the paper and scolded them. I am glad some of the residents have let their opinions be known other than just to each other. I wrote a letter to the New Times, but it did not get there soon enough for publication in this week's issue.
I remember the photographer displaying some of our photos in the public library art display room a few years ago. Nobody objected to those since they were not 'defaced' as some are putting it now. They were just regular photos.
Residents will probably be quite leary of any photographers coming into the WHo now.
I thought some of the photos I took of residents and displayed in my blog quite good, but of course I took all of those before this story broke. Now I might even have trouble getting permission! I am still trying to line up video projects, though. And am still taking photos as I can.
We are still discussing an artist's license to use other people's photos to paint on without them quite knowing or exactly agreeing. But a waiver was signed with residents thinking they were mostly taking the photos for the office copy.
I had a little meltdown over it seeing the blobs as metaphors for aging or disability, especially connected to mental illness. Anyone who has ever been incarcerated in a mental ward knows how hard that stigma is to contend with over the years. I always emphasized the chronic fatigue part of my disability, but my nervous system was seriously compromised with all the stress, causing me to behave in such a way that it was thought a psychiatrist might be needed.
My father was the one I feared when he learned I was opting out of college in such a way that it could not be readily 'fixed.' He was the one who was going to go crazy. But I also felt very disillusioned and disappointed in the university. I had always looked forward to attending a university. Now it looked as though I was not going to be able to use my 'education' in any practical way, since I thought that I would have a very tough time holding down an English teacher's job in Mormon Utah. I felt that I would get into trouble very easily since I had already been run out of my Sunday school teaching job at the age of 15, and almost anybody could be recruited to teach Sunday School, even a person close to retarded. This did not bode well for my future as an English teacher. I just called far too much attention to my self with my flamboyant acting style.
I remember coming home and reciting "Mountain Whipoorwill" to a stunned audience in a drama competition in southern Utah. They did not give me any prize at all as they said that I was a 'professional', making it sound as though that was bad not good. My sister Ann later was not rehired in one community because she apparently did such a spectacular job of teaching Greek Mythology that she was said to have introduced a new 'religion'. She did find a job in another southern Utah community and was finally accepted as a very good English teacher who also saw to it that the kids got a chance to write.
But it was my fate to be overtaken by an almost lethal bout of chronic fatigue brought on by being forcibly incarcerated and threatened with electric shock. I knew very well I had better not have that with what I had. There were too many connotations of punishment about it, therefore it was too high stress for me combined with all the stress I had already endured growing up in the home of a bad alcoholic always fighting with my mother when he was under the influence.
I know that at best after my stay in the mental ward I was thought to have been a genius gone mad. Even my aunt said after hearing one of my plays I wrote not long after I came home that I was either a genius or insane. I thought she rather leaned toward the insane diagnosis. She was my dad's sister but solidly conventional. She had been a school teacher for many years with no problem being accepted at all. This was who my dad thought I should pattern myself after at all times, but that was just not me.
I could hardly live with the idea that I was now too frail, at just 20 years old, to hope to have much of a career at anything. My poor father never did accept it. He told me at 36 that he regarded me as a loser, 'fallen to the gutter' as he put it, slinging hash for a living. He thought I was faking it somewhat I suppose, just stubborn and sort of crazy, which got him off the hook for some of the responsibility for the childhood stress.
I thought I was damned lucky to be able to sling hash for some months before I would have to quit and rest. I could always get another job in a cafe. So that became a way of life for me, boring, but earning me and my kids the food and the rent when I no longer had a husband to support me. As if my own life was not a disappointment to me in many ways, falling far sort of my dreams, but somehow I knew that the life of a successful writer with recognition and money was not going to be mine. I saw poverty as a condition to study and understand. I looked around me and observed and wrote, even if people were not too interested in what a life of poverty was all about. That was not the American dream, but poverty has come to be the lot of many all over the world, so I did not feel alone.
In this country more people have fallen into poverty, too, so with all the losses sustained in this recession perhaps people will not look down on poverty and disability quite so much. Many born into the ranks of the minorities have so few chances to succeed on a grander scale. I came to live in a Mexican neighborhood because they understood poverty and the limited range of the disabled better than they did in Utah where people with food stamps might even get a few hostile stares in a grocery store. And being on welfare might be regarded as a bigger disgrace.
Nobody in my family had ever been on welfare before I had to apply for it. I was petrified at having fallen so low. I wondered if I would survive it. But I did with the help of a lot of other 'po' folk who taught me to accept what I could not help in good grace.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sarah Palin and Trig photograph inspires this pro life democrat: 'art' photo not so much

I made a video this morning, first talking about the rather strange happening in my complex to do with photographs taken of the residents, which has happened other years, but this time signing a waiver led the photographer to make a deal with an artist to do something as shown in the photo to about 12 or so of the photographs, now hanging in an art gallery. I haven't yet made it over there, but I plan to next Saturday after which I will tell you more of my impressions of the 'art'.

This result is rather shocking you must admit, which shows us the power of a photograph to inspire, agitate, upset, etc. depending on what is done with it. There are some very large price tags on these works of art, something like $3,000 or so which eased the pain for some of the residents but not all.

The next photo is of Sarah Palin and her son, Trig, a Downs Syndrome baby that Sarah knew about before birth but had anyway since she is pro life. I talk about the photograph inspiring me on my video as I am sure it will inspire others, which Sarah Palin probably intended to do. Pro choice democrats think she is short on brains, but I think she is quite great of heart. I talk about the reasons I remain a pro life democrat rather than switching to republican. This is a party with a great history of accomplishment with civil rights and gay rights. Right now it is hitting zero with the right of the fetus to feel safe in the womb until birth with a big support of legalized abortion. There are good laws and there are bad laws. Legalizing abortion did not make it a good law. But it has tempted so many people we are going to have a terrible time getting it undone. The churches have to be very strong in their leadership on this issue. Intellectual democrats try to demonize religions, but religion has given mankind many gifts. And have kept many people from going astray which the intellectuals cannot always say they have done. I think there have been religious people who have been very brilliant in their concepts of how to influence people to keep from harming others with their actions.
I credit my religious bent with saving my life. I was at death's door and angels intervened. One time I thought it was Christ who came, I will have to find out for sure when I reach the other side, but I knew only God could save me from certain death. And I was saved.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Palin makes a quick stop in Arizona, is photographed carrying Baby Trig

I don't really pay too much attention to what Palin is saying, but I did like that photograph of her and Trig. Trig is her Downs Syndrome baby. I listened to her speeches on a number of occasions when she was running for Vice President as picked by John McCain who if you remember ran for President. That seems like a long time ago. I read what she had to say when she resigned as Governor of Alaska. She sounded like she was very tired and needed a rest.
Sometimes it seems to me that the democrats pay more attention to what Palin is saying than those who might vote for her if she should by some chance become a nominee. And Glen Beck seems like such an extremist. I have watched him on a video or two, but like some of the other famous conservatives on TV or the radio talk show circuit, I think a lot of what he says is to grab attention, and people who listen to those circuits which I don't probably stay current with what he is saying.
I think the democrats are wasting a whole lot of time analyzing people like Beck and Palin because I just don't think that's going to do them much good when it comes election time and will probably do them some harm. They are associating themselves with people I don't think will have a lot of influence in the next election. Palin has possibilities, but a whole lot has to happen before I think republicans will embrace her as a candidate next time. McCain's thinking that she would bring a fresh viewpoint into his run for president was I think done knowing he was very apt to lose this election, so I thought he was having a little fun with his surprising choice. Women certainly liked it. A new republican star was born, but we have had those stars burn out fast before and in all likelihood that will happen with Palin. I just don't see her being able to maneuver her way into a top position again.
Democrats rave and rant about the stupidities of these flamboyant personalities as if republicans themselves don't see their faults and failings. My word, I have tried many times to listen to conservative talk radio shows and have had to give it up as a bad cause even when I hoped to be able to like them and tolerate them a little. I think TV or talk radio fame seems to be bring out the worst in some of these conservatives. Many ordinary people I know share this opinion and wouldn't listen to them if their life depended on it. These people might vote republican and then again if the candidate appealed to them they might vote democrat, too, as obviously quite a lot of people voted for Obama last time or he couldn't have won with such numbers. It might be different this time.
Democrats ranting and raving about the stupidity of famous conservatives are not easy to take either, in the limelight trying to earn themselves a little fame. I wouldn't put it past one of them to accuse Sarah Palin of using Trig in a photograph for political gain. Even if she was, that doesn't bother me. I know Trig is going to be tough to raise and it looks like the family is doing a pretty good job of taking him about with them and making him a genuine part of the family. Some political figures have tended to hide such children away, so it is refreshing to see a famous mother who does not.
Famous conservatives or liberals tend to become caricatures of themselves in time. If there is anything wrong with their thinking the people around them are apt to pick it up fairly fast. People who love the limelight such as Glen Beck or Bill O'Reilly or Rush Limbaugh simply aren't going to go away fast. They are going to try to stay as famous as possible, we can depend on it, but when it comes election time I think people tend to want new faces, people they aren't sick to death of from seeing them in the limelight so often. I think that is why Obama zoomed past Hillary Clinton. She had been in the limelight too often. People were tired of her. Having her as First Lady for 8 years, with all of Clinton's problems caused people to vote that she take some more retiring position. The press has not paid a whole lot of attention to her as Secretary of State. By the same token nobody has hardly paid any attention to Joe Biden, so much press time has been taken up with trying to figure out what Obama is all about.
He still seems kind of mysterious which may be a good thing. He might seem more interesting still than anybody the republicans can come up with. It is very hard to become that new face with thoughts that intrigue the public enough to get their actual vote. A presidential candidate has to fill some big shoes. I think Obama has managed to seem presidential which is quite a feat, despite all he has been criticized for doing. I wanted a health care plan for everybody. I thought it was bad to short the workers and their children while being so generous to the aging and the disabled. But the cost of all of this is what is proving tough. How are we going to come up with the money, trim costs, and still bring down the national debt? Very valid concerns, I think.
I have not seen any magical person emerge from the republican ranks yet that I think can defeat Obama. I don't think the democrats are helping him as much as he is helping himself. I just don't think he is making major mistakes, while some of them are. All of this bitching going on about the stupidity of these awful republicans is down right unpleasant. Obama is going to get elected despite such tactics, because he has not really been doing it. A columnist in the Arizona Republic today accused him of being an 'intellectual snob.' If that is the worst thing he gets called, I am afraid that won't be enough to defeat him. I think he is being too cautious to make that moniker stick. He is just not being snobbish enough. In fact, the idea of him being an intellectual snob makes me smile. I think he is as a matter of fact bending over backwards not to seem like an intellectual snob, while a lot of democrats just can't help themselves. Intellectual snobbery comes natural to them.
I have supported such unpopular causes I cannot be accepted in any group of intellectual snobs. I have been booted out of those groups over and over again. I just accept whoever can support my unpopular causes as my truest friends. And I vote for the candidates I think support my unpopular causes best. I figure their thinking is good and solid. They dare to be unpopular. They dare to be religious, as I am frankly religious even though I am not allied with any church. I was raised a Mormon, but did not agree with some of their doctrine and ways of handling certain issues, but on some issues I regard them as very strong.
I think religion has brought mankind many gifts as well as troubles, too. I think people all too often go astray when they try to get along without it.

Farmer's Market, think I will go to the movies, and catching up

Purchased my tomatoes and cucumber plus some fresh green beans, onion, a can of crushed tomato, and hamburger for a stew next week. I also got a couple of apples and pears. I needed a loaf of bread, wheatberry, and that was about it.
I always enjoy my trip to the Farmer's Market immensely. I talked to the girl who made my cap in the header photo. She is going to take it in slightly so it won't be too big. I am going to have her make another color for me sometime this fall as I like to wear caps all winter. These are caps for African American ladies made by one, but I like something different in a cap, and I just love my brown one. She said she didn't bring her sewing machine today so maybe next week. Then I might order a blue one. I loved the one she was wearing.
To get in my walk while enjoying myself at the end of it, I decided to take in the matinee movie today. I am thinking I will see "Sea Biscuit" or maybe "Hereafter," the latest output by Clint Eastwood with Matt Damon. I love Matt Damon. I will see which one wins when I get there, the horses or the hereafter. I was going to see "Social Network" but that might appeal to the younger crowd more, I am thinking. I am just barely up to looking at the photos of my relatives and such on FB even though I love it for that.
I had a skirmish with Doc and he nearly lost his secretary but today I decided to let bygones be bygones. What he did was make a 40 minute film of himself getting drunker by the moment and then he insisted I come down and see it in the afternoon on the off chance it might be a masterpiece. He is always hoping that he can do things drunk, and his brilliance will cause him to create a work of art. It never happens. I could not believe what I was seeing. I finally got so disgusted I wouldn't watch it any more saying I did not need to see him making an a--- of himself on film as well as in everyday life. People do not realize or maybe they do that Doc is shrewd enough to try to make movies with me to make himself look good and I insist on making them in the morning when he's most apt to be sober, so he can come across as fairly sane.
He called and said he suspected it was no good but wanted to make sure, so he erased it. I maintained that he was lonesome in the afternoon and wanted company. Sometimes his life with the bottle gets dreary even to him. I was not even able to get out of bed yesterday morning after seeing this movie, so he did not get the services of his secretary. That probably alarmed him.
Today, I bought the paper, took it to him, and got the money for tomorrow's paper, and soon left to go to the Farmer's Market after checking his mail and reading to him a message he got from Christine, his daughter. This cheered him up. He was grateful I did not rant and rave today but decided to move on.
I sincerely wish Doc could be the filmmaker he desires to be, but he can't do it with his brain logy from alcohol.
I did talk to my son Raymond yesterday who is celebrating a year of sobriety. He has celebrated several of these in his life, but he hopes to extend these years now, and maybe he can. He is coming to Phoenix in November and visit and perhaps do a show, and then he plans to go back to Austin for the winter. His GF from Austin came to Boulder for the summer music festival and for the writer's workshop in the fall. She took some wonderful photos of Boulder. Raymond said Boulder is glowing with the yellow leaves of fall at the moment. I cannot think of a more beautiful place when the leaves turn. I heard his dog Baby barking as she danced in the hose from the water. That is when she does her tricks.
My sister Linda also called from SF saying she is still looking for a new place to live after having been driven from her apartment with something she is highly allergic to, possibly mold and a gas leak, too. There was a big gas explosion in a residential neighborhood not far from where she lives where the people complained of smelling gas, but nothing was done until it had pooled enough to explode and destroy several houses and kill some people, so right now everyone is very wary of gas leaks in San Francisco.
I think that is all my news for now. Ta Ta and I will be back tomorrow with a film report.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Doctor's report plus national statistics yesterday get me down in the dumps about the cost of food addictions

On the whole my doctor's report on blood tests was good. My efforts to control my sugar intake as well as a pill a day of actos brought my sugar level in a fasting blood test down to a good average, 110. He said the echo gram on my heart showed some enlargement but since my blood pressure is now well controlled he does not anticipate more trouble there. He said my carotid artery tests were good, but he said the most to worry about were the arteries in my overweight legs. He had the girl do a quick test in my feet and scheduled another next week for my fat legs. I know this is an area to be concerned about as if I work too long sitting my feet swell, so I have taken to reading more in bed so I can elevate my legs.
But getting sick from my vegan diet took its toll of my walking for several months. I just did not have the strength to walk. However swimming this summer I can tell has helped and now walking is easier. He recommends I take walks as often as possible, and since I only managed to lose 2 pounds so still weigh 230 I know that how long I live without serious health problems depends on my holding my weight down and losing. I was 215 5 years ago so have put on 15 pounds while with Doc. This is all caused from fancy eating and not walking enough.
Today I saw in the USA today that it is anticipated that diabetes levels will rise in the coming year. One out of three people have it or will have it. The epidemic due to over weight has not peaked! I know how bad it is because each day I listen and read about people's struggles with it here in the complex and elsewhere. A good friend is now unable to walk hardly at all due to a bad knee and a bad hip plus overweight. She has had to have a kidney specialist because she is having trouble with them. That is very bad news to a diabetic with the possibility of dialysis looming ahead.
Diabetics zoom about in their scooters perhaps restoring to them a sense of power they once had in their bodies, but a scooter can also be deceptively alluring, so that all thought of walking is gradually given up. Another friend had to get out of hers who has gained more weight while she has had it and could barely get back in, while I was with her the other day. Her life expectancy can probably now be measured in months instead of years.
I find that I am more successful in keeping my food intake down if I eat alone rather than with Doc. He is not overweight and likes to urge me to eat all the goodies I want which he will gladly buy for me. He is incorrigible about this, so that is another reason I moved all my food stuff home and will not do meals with him. I sometimes share some soup I make or some dish I know he likes with him, but that is it.
One bright spot, now that ASU has moved their nurses program down here and the journalism school, too, I notice that most of the female students are thin as wraiths so the alarm has been getting through to them and their parents as it has to my daughter with a college student son. She has always done her best to cook healthy meals and keep her children slim and trim and active.
I know of no other answer to our obesity epidemic but that, more physical activity and less pigging out on fattening food. I know that a good many parents as well as their children use food for comfort, and if their lives are hard, ironically the fatter they might get with the opportunities so plentiful to buy fattening food.
I share that tendency for I have always turned to food for comfort. I shunned alcohol and tobacco seeing the toll it took on my father, his brothers, and my male cousins, but I grew up at a time where our good farm food was looked on as too healthy to be harmful.
Well, it is very healthy but if you take the rich cream the cows give to provide endless rich desserts, and the bin always has a 100 pounds of sugar in it for preserving many jars of jams and jellies, and a sack of white flour in another bin to make delicious bread all the time on which to slather butter and jam at least once a day, well those habits stayed with me even as all the activity required to raise gardens and keep a household going, especially without modern conveniences disappeared. Even after we got electricity it was obvious our family was going to be addicted to very rich food. The freezer was filled with fat roasts and T-Bone steaks plus pork chops, chickens. When I came home to cook I had a bounteous larder to supply me. Plus my dad never objected to paying for any ingredients that went into cooking, so we daughters always took full advantage of his generosity. So nearly all of us developed eating disorders. Three of us over weight and one sister took to bilimia so she would not have to pay the price for binging on pie, homemade candy, or whatever.
My older sons saw the examples of their dad and granddad and experimented with alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes, but my younger daughter and son did much better in that department, keeping in shape for sports and school activities.
I will tell you every addiction takes its toll. Food addiction has certainly taken its toll on my life and health.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Tonight I read an interview by Chip Berlet, a liberal, analyzing the tea party movement in the current Sun magazine, and here was my response

"As soon as I came to the section where Chip Berlet discusses the
killing of Dr. Tiller, the late term abortion doctor, I sort of lost
faith in Chip Berlet's ability to reason well about this subject. I am
a pro life democrat but I do not vote for a pro choice candidate which
means I have not voted for a democrat running for a major office for
quite some time.
Dr. Tiller was responsible for many late term abortions which some
people clearly see as murder because the fetus is old enough to
survive on the outside of the womb. So this always has to be taken
into consideration when the reasons for his murder are discussed, as
far as I am concerned.
Such murders of fetuses late term up to 9 months are perfectly legal
in the U.S. at the present which troubles a number of people, thank
goodness, but apparently not Chip Berlet. He seems to assume that
anybody who is sensible is for 'reproductive rights', an euphemism often used now for abortion rights.
We all have nothing really but our experiences to work from and to
claim we have some kind of insight into problems worthy of being
published and read.
Staying pro life scotched my career as a writer since the media went
pro choice almost as soon as the news went out it was legal. It was
then left up to the churches who had preached strong words against
abortion to see that at least among their members abortion would still
be considered wrong no matter who legalized it.
"Reproductive Rights' meaning legalized abortion is only 37 years old
in this country. As I see it the churches did not lose their
integrity nearly as fast as the media did. And some of the churches
have managed to become strong influences in the fight against
legalized abortion, believing that taking life if not punished in this
world because it is legal will be in the next where people will have
to face what this law helped them to do.
It amazes me that democrat liberals can be so sure they are right in
their strong support of 'reproductive rights' even when any feeling
person is going to be a little daunted at the thought of abortion
legal up to 9 months. These liberals scare me and have from the start.
A baby moves inside you, you know that baby is alive, but the
believers in 'reproductive rights' do not listen to any arguments
about it being wrong to kill them. That constitutes scary people to
me. They sanction murder in the name of population control, whatever.
And yet they talk about those scary right wing people out there as
though the 'reproductive rights' late term abortion supporters do not
even resemble them. I have found out that a democrat liberal who
considers himself very intelligent, supporting legalized abortion, is
not ever apt to admit anything is wrong with it. I have been an
abortion protester since 1973 and I would ten times rather deal with
somebody capable of praying at an abortion clinic than I would
somebody who can't understand why anybody would object to 'reproductive rights, and is apt to get very mad and dismiss you as a non entity if you persist with your arguments. That person is probably going to have to have that law overturned without ever agreeing.
Following the line of least resistance and becoming pro choice is a
better way to become successful in this country, get your book
published, get interviewed in the Sun Magazine, but that doesn't make
you that smart or with a whole lot of integrity. It also might mean
you don't like to be different or out of step or have successful
people sneer at you and reject you.
Sometime you have to make hard choices in this life to do what is
right and talk about it and write about it. I write protests of
legalized abortion in my blog. I made videos protesting on my you
tube channel. I do not expect to get famous or rich doing it. I am
doing it because it is the most intelligent thing I think I can say in
regard to reproduction. I have never let anybody snow me on this
issue. To me an abortion is wrong because it requires bloodshed.
Legalizing it means that enough people gave up on mankind being able
to save the unborn and manage and tried to make it okay to kill them instead.
We all know that legalized abortion came in the back door so to speak
through the Supreme Court. Unfortunate, but true. The people did not
even get the chance to cast their vote. More people protested the
decision than ever had with any Supreme Court decision but the deed
was done and now millions of deaths later are we better off?
Population controlled. But at what cost. Intellectuals will never
get this law reversed, which is why people learn to distrust intellectualism. A person of many words and many thoughts can also lead you down the wrong path.
The Churches might if enough people are influenced by them. I was
frankly influenced by them. I was raised a Mormon which is strong
against abortion to this day, and I grew up reading all the stories I
could find about Catholic saints and Catholic history. I take from
churches what I think is powerful and strong. I think most people try
to do this. If they are really intelligent enough to value integrity more
than they do worldly success. There is nothing I love more than brilliance,
and I found brilliance in the so called religious at a very early age.
The appreciation of anything religious did a nose dive in the media
when abortion was legalized. What does that tell you about what
legalizing bloodshed does to people's thinking?
I say man is capable of more than pro choice people believe they can
be. For one thing the saints learned a long time ago that sometimes
abstinence from sex is necessary so as not to do harm. The sexual
revolution required legalized abortion to come into full flower, so
everybody could have all the sex they wanted to and not have to suffer
unwanted pregnancies. What is the superior idea of the two? The more
advanced? As soon as abortion was legalized the numbers of the
unborn killed skyrocketed. Good laws enforced keep people from
killing. Bad laws give them license to do so. Churches from time
immemorial have taught that restraint and sacrifice is sometimes
necessary to keep from doing harm to others. That is a great principle, not doing harm to others, not understood by everyone it is obvious. Abortion does great harm to the developing human being. And that's not wrong? Where is the good thinking here?
Holocausts of the unborn are going on all over the world but many do
not choose to see it that way. It must be difficult to see such
bloodshed in a rosy light as necessary but it is being done."

I am an early voter by mail: it's that time of the year!

I just put my ballot in the mail. Those who go to the polls have a few more days to go, but I did not want my vote to be late.
I caught up with the progress of 40 Days for Life with the avowed purpose of saving one baby at a time with prayer vigils at abortion clinics, which is now in its 30th day in cities around the world, and then once again, I cast my vote for governor in Arizona for a pro life candidate. Republican Janet Brewer went ahead and very firmly supported restrictions to abortion in Arizona I thought were long over due, especially the one requiring underage teens to notify their parents they were going for an abortion, bringing consent with notarized signatures. This was brought to the desk of Democratic Janet Napolitano who vetoed all restrictions on legalized abortions the legislature would with great effort put through.
Still a pro life democrat for many good reasons, I could not with a good conscience vote for a pro choice democratic candidate, Terry Goddard, for governor. Legalized abortion causes far too many deaths, over a million a year in this country alone. It is a disgrace. It is a policy that people feel helpless to do anything about since it came about through a Supreme Court ruling in an unprecedented decision which elicited more protests from the shocked public than any other decision in history. We have to continue to find a way to reverse this decision but in the meantime trying to save babies whose lives will continue to be threatened by abortion as long as it is legal. Shawn Carney has reported that so far due to these prayer vigils at clinics an estimated 3,000 babies have been saved, which does not sound like many, considering how many others were lost. But the goal is to save as many as possible. People have posted many touching photos taken during the prayer vigils, an extremely tough way to protest, at abortion clinics, but even school children have been taken there to send up their earnest prayers, which might seem shocking to some, but I think that children can relate to babies lives being taken before they are born.
There is always an effort to conceal the hard facts by those who when it comes down to it fight and vote to retain these policies.
I put the issue of legalized abortion at the top of my list as needing attention and the will to do something about it. If loss of life means anything to you, it deserves no less.
When life is deemed less than sacred eventually we will all feel the effects. We do now with a feeling of more uncertainty and loss of a sense of valuing our own lives. When teens commit suicide, don't think that legalized abortion has nothing to do with it. Any time the life of a child is devalued, children feel it and act accordingly in a society that has become too hardened to care. To value the life of the unborn child is to value the lives of all children. That is the message we send to them when we fight for their right to live. Taking the life of the unborn which requires the shedding of blood will frighten any child as it well should. There is no way to explain away an act that requires the killing of the fetus to accomplish, a child that has no other option but to grow from the embryo. Children can add whether adults do or not. And many can conclude that with legalized abortion they are no longer as safe as they once were.
Adults have decreed there be blood sacrifices of children for the rest to survive better. That is a savage policy but one which some ferociously support. Think again, I say. Think of all the ramifications of such a policy. I have always said that it is better for us all to go down together than to sacrifice those the mother is formed by nature to protect, the child in her womb, now one of the most dangerous passages a child must go through, the womb, with the threat of death when a mother gets discouraged and can find someone who will help her expel the child, thinking a burden will be gone. Rather another one will take its place, the memory. We cannot always forget what we have done that easily.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I decided I had to write another entry to deal with the memory of "Broken Dreams" I experienced when I was incarcerated in a mental ward

This has been an upsetting day with some residents making plans to go over to the art gallery Saturday where the portraits of Westward Ho residents have been transformed into art. Their spokesman will be Daniel, my neighbor, who is openly frank about being bi-polar. He will try to talk to the artist about how portraits of real people transformed in the name of art can be very disturbing, especially to one diagnosed as chronically mentally ill.
I can remember how all my dreams about a bright future as a playwright turned to ashes when I emerged from the psych ward so broken that if I experienced the slightest too much stress I would start going numb and would have the sensation of dying again. I did not know how I was even going to survive let alone pursue any of my dreams. I would ask people to help me, saying please don't let me die when they hardly even knew what was going on in my body to cause me to make such pleas. It is no wonder they thought I had gone crazy. I remember doing that to a family reunion and both my grandfather and my uncle who was a doctor termed me 'hysterical' and my uncle had me blow into a paper bag. This helped me some since he was a doctor doing it, but neither he or my grandfather had any idea that I had almost died in the mental ward. They never did ask me what had happened in there either. Nobody did. I did not know what spin was put on this experience to my parents. They never mentioned anything they had been told.
But I had been alone when I quit breathing after the volunteer grasping that comes when you begin to quit breathing, which I started to do after four hours in a semi conscious state. The nurses and attendants left not realizing that I had quit breathing while they were still there. Since it was a mental ward they had not recognized the previous sounds as serious. So they had only what I told them to go on, but it was enough that they decided not to give me electric shock treatments, but instead to let me go as I had requested after ten days to make sure there was no re-occurring of the seizure activity. They called this catatonic. I called it the result of being highly stressed combined with serious chronic fatigue symptoms I had already experienced as a child. These can be accompanied with extreme weakness. I told the doctors about them, but the psychiatrist in charge of my case was still kind of holding electric shock therapy over my head.
On the patio today some of us residents who have been incarcerated were talking to a new resident who had just come out of a treatment center for the mentally ill. We discussed new techniques in treating the mentally ill, and I wondered if electric shock was still being given to patients against their will. He thought not. Daniel assured the new resident he would like it here in the WHo once he got used to it. We also discussed the younger resident who has been having a meltdown. He was finally picked up by the cops today. Out in the patio he laid down in front of another resident's door who thought he had gone unconscious, but when a resident hollered at him, he turned his head.
We wondered whether illegal street drugs had countered the effects of his meds and helped cause this last meltdown, but how could mental patients who seek hard drugs be kept stable in an independent living environment? I felt that my last neighbor was made worse by doing drugs. Cocaine, meth, or alcohol combined with what he might already be taking, what could that do to anybody's stability?
A resident had talked to the father of the man in the meltdown and found out he had been in the service where he was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic.
We are doing our best here to deal with the mentally ill who do go into meltdowns. We have to ask the community not to add to the stress by irresponsible actions involving the mentally ill.
I was appalled because the photo featured in the New Times was that of a very sensitive woman resident who is quite withdrawn. We all try to be very sensitive to her feelings. She was told last night about her portrait in the New Times squiggled on by the artist, but she did not say much.
I think people in the community could be a lot more aware of the mentally ill in their midst and could do their part in trying to see that their struggles are recognized.
My chronic fatigue symptoms are always with me to slow me down should I try to take on too much. They have been with me since I was a child, shackling me like hobbles, keeping my steps small and limited.
Terrible horrible stress caused this. Night mare scenes for a child to have to endure. Bad experiences. Thus my dreams were broken.
It makes me sad to think the public at large might be so callous and unfeeling as to risk upsetting the mentally ill, or any other disabled people for that matter. There are all kinds in here. People who have been disfigured by strokes, car accidents, getting shot, crippled before their time. Yes, people contribute to their problems by drinking, drugging, eating too much, in many ways they do stuff that makes life tougher for themselves.
But I think the public needs to work harder trying to recognize what the disabled and aging do to help themselves and each other. That is the good part of what they do in here, extend helping hands to each other, words of encouragement and caring.
We are all learning how to deal with the mentally ill. We have to recognize that their numbers bear witness to a broken society, a breakdown of a sorts in people's ability to handle stress.
Times are hard, and people are more stressed than ever. So dialogues between all kinds of people are needed to shed light on what we can do for each other. Wherever we are and whatever we are going through.
Those whose dreams have been realized in part, who have gotten that book published, who can make a living in theater, who are successful artists, should remember that not all people can fulfill their dreams. Oftentimes held back by circumstances beyond their control.
I love to see people try to fulfill their dreams, become successful, get recognized, but for everyone who can make it that far there are many who cannot. For me that is what America is all about and should be about, trying to see that more people get to fulfill at least a part of their dreams.
I see people blossom when hope of some recognition is held out to them. When people perceived as better off and more successful recognize what they have to say as something worth listening to.
With my writing ability I try to connect to people who have a hard time connecting, help them to get their voices heard which gives me great joy when I see how some attention is sometimes better than the most potent medicine.
Give me a reason for living! That's what most people are saying. Tell me that my struggling against disability, poverty, accidents will get me somewhere.
Today I was reading the story of a woman's life in slavery and before I was done I was crying, it so saddened me to think what this woman had to endure in this country not that many years ago.
We have come a long ways since the days of slavery and we have got a long ways to go to keep compassion in our hearts and make sure every citizen is treated as an equal.
We love success in this country and America can sometimes be cruel to those they think can never be successful but are simply a burden on society because they have become too disabled to carry their weight.
The disabled and the aging can still contribute if they are guided to what they can do.
I am always trying to unlock the door to each person's strength, which we can only find if we listen to these people, if we know their story. Only then can we take the measure of their strength with accuracy and help convince them what they can do. All is not lost.
Hope to me is what is needed the most to fight drug or alcohol addiction. You have to give people hope. You somehow have to inspire them to want to give up drugs and alcohol. There has to be a reason for people to dedicate themselves to the struggle to overcome addiction. And you can never give up on trying to reach these people. Figure out better ways to light a spark in them, some kind of determination to take on what might have become a terrible task, doing something about a raging addiction.
Now I feel a little better. Maybe I can go to sleep now.

Westward Ho residents react to portraits transformed to art featured in New Times

This week the residents of the Westward Ho found out that some of their portraits ended up in an artist's hands, with one female resident being featured in Art in the New Times this week with scribbles and what one resident termed as 'vomit' on it. New Times said that some of the creations almost bordered on defacement of the portraits of people, aging and disabled, in this complex. I wrote to the New Times and asked if one artist's development was worth the risk of offending a number of residents, many of whom have struggled for years with the label of being mentally ill. I know what that is, having been incarcerated after about a half a minute interview with a University psychiatrist, a trip which ended up lasting two weeks locked up, and turned my whole world upside down at only 20 years old.
I felt that whatever I did after that was interpreted as different from how I was perceived before. It was obvious something terrible had happened, since I was walking about like a shell shocked soldier, falling into silence, unable to utter a word at times, which was not understood at all! But people had no idea what had happened to me even after I got locked up, and they wouldn't have believed me if I had told them.
I insist on talking about it now, and try to convince people that if you walked in the same shoes as I did or any of these people, it could happen to you, too. It is human. The effects of years of too much stress can attract the attention of those around you, a visit to a psychiatrist can be suggested, and you could be off on a trip to the crazy house just like that.
I have tried to normalize places like the Westward Ho where some chronically mentally ill live and other disabled, too. A number of people are in here after cancer treatment has partially disabled them. The roof fell in on them, too. People have suffered devastating strokes in here, been in horrible car accidents, have been shot by killers. The roof fell in on them, too. They were never going to be the same again. Some are just old and going to die, so they are going out of here feet first.
An artist who does not think about how his work is going to affect someone else when it is as personal as a portrait he is using as a base is I would say rather self centered. If you consider people's feelings, you might not get there quite so fast.
I want my portraits to make people feel good, because people who have been down and out need a lift. I keep my connection to the mentally ill strong. Becoming mentally ill cost me maybe a career as a recognized playwright. Now I am just a playwright whose work nobody dares do because it is probably too insane. My nervous system got sick from too much stress, too many terrible crises to endure. That is what causes mental illness. It is not a disgrace. It is just what happens to people whose nerves are continually bombarded. It was not my fault.
The original photographer could have settled for just making people feel good, without allowing the photos to fall into someone's hands who might upset the subjects of the pictures, but now I doubt that any outside photographer will be let back into the Westward Ho so easily after this incident. They are learning what signing a waiver is all about.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Photo Gallery of WHo patio people

Daniel is in the header photo sitting at the patio table where we gather. He is one of our liveliest and most outspoken residents. He always has something interesting to say. Plus he is my close neighbor so we see each other on our floor coming and going.
I tried to place the description and the name to the right of the following photos. I have run into a problem putting the description by each name, as on my computer this comes out different than on Doc's, so I can see why a viewer in India had trouble telling what description matched what photo.
So I am going to put the names up here and some description. So they won't get all messed up and come out the wrong place. Putting the name under the photo does not work either. It still comes out wrong.
The first photo is one of the oldest residents here, named Ann. I have known her for years.
No 2 is Joe, a nice guy who lives out in the patio so he visits often.
No 3 is Sarah, who used to be my neighbor on the top floor. She had to walk bent over her back was so bad. In a scooter she has gained weight but she has the bluest eyes and the sweetest smile, and used to tend her grand children all the time.
No 4 is Carol. She and I both sold coffee and donuts to residents. I would like to steal that purse with the butterflies. Her sister made it.
No 5 is Lenny hardly ever seen without his dog Daisy running along beside his scooter. Daisy looks you right in the eye when you speak to her. I like that in a dog.
No 6 is Gary who came from Montana and doesn't know if he likes mixing and mingling. He sometimes leaves when I come as we have had a few clashes, but I like his hat!
No 7 is Jennifer in a beautiful white dress. Very stylish, she warms with a smile.
No 8 is Maureen, our blond staff member who chats and smokes with us in the patio. Love this outfit she's got on.
No 9 Dave in the green shirt, now sober and straight, a pleasure to talk to with his observant eye and good sense of humor.
No 10 is a new resident another Mike who looks 25 but says he is 42.
No 11 Ron Oliver in my favorite tye dye shirt. He recently lost pounds. Kudoes!
No 12 is Kevin, an artist from Utah. We always joke about being incarcerated when we were going to the U of U when we were artistically insane, but it ruined our reputations.
No 13 Mary who has the distinction of being the mother and caregiver of Paul Patrick and a warm healing presence in the patio where she knits and crochets as she chats.
No 14 is Kansas City Mike who fought comas and paralysis from a bad car accident to walk again. He is determined!
No 15 is Richard, BF of Karen, who had a heart attack recently, nearly flat lined before they could get a stent into him, but he has kept the nurses and the WHo patio people in stitches talking about it all, as he was determined to die laughing.
No 16 is Barbara Cheney who has passed out poor people's food boxes to us for years. She is a volunteer par excellence!
No 17 is Australian Mike. He has been here six months. I love his darling accent.
No 18 is Bicycle Mike. He is hardly ever without one of his bikes. No wonder he is so trim.
No 19 is Apache Bill, one of my favorite swimming companions, and the victim of a devastating stroke some years ago while he was sitting in his 18 wheeler at an intersection. He learned to walk and takes good good care of himself. To my mind, that's real courage!
No 20 Butch is the last one who I snapped in the elevator. Couldn't miss taking a picture of such a photogenic man.

Analyzing chronic mental illness right on the spot

I have been thinking very hard since the latest big fight broke out on the patio. Now at least one of the participants, if not both, will have to spend some days in recovery. I feared for Suzanne's life she got so overwrought. She has been in here for quite a long time, I would say about 8 years, so she has had time to get used to the mixing and mingling of many different kinds of people, but she had been physically ill for some years so was just starting to come out more again. I would say that people who are reclusive for whatever reason do have a time adjusting to more socializing. That is really the test of emotional stability.
Doc has been very reclusive which is why I am always tense when he decides to socialize when I am present. It is one thing for him to talk in the safety of his apartment lacing his remarks with sarcasm, but another to go out and throw that kind of remark out in the crowd. He is undoubtedly going to run into someone sooner or later who will take offense and then the fight could be on!
I see people as getting into a habit of being a little imperious and then taking that habit out in a crowd. There will be good natured people who will let those who act like they were to the manor born get by without wrangling with them, and then there are those who won't.
I regard socializing among people who are vastly different from one another as a big challenge. I think it is a great day when we seem to accomplish something in the patio talking to one another. Perhaps a stimulating discussion, a depth reached that is unusual, an entertaining laugh filled couple of hours... It all seems worth the struggle when that happens.
That's why I continue to risk unavoidable clashes with the contentious. The youngish man in a meltdown was out in the patio this morning sounding hoarse from all his shouts and fake laughing sprees. Don't know what management has in store for him, since they will be met with more written complaints about his behavior, threats, insults and the like. He doesn't seem quite so daring this morning, probably realizing he has jeopardized his place in this environment, and if he is evicted as unable to adjust, he will face a somewhat sad uncertain future with budgets so tight homes that offer a more controlled environment to the mentally ill are in short supply. I have been really concerned about him, but know if he is unable to rein himself in his stay will unavoidably be terminated. I think he has already passed that point. He has violated too many rules of civilized behavior in a big apartment complex.
Insulting someone on the elevator when just you and he are aboard is a big no no. That feels threatening, since we must all ride elevators. I live in the tower on the 9th floor so the elevator is unavoidable, and he accosted me in the elevator and insulted me, so now I am trying to avoid ever getting on one with him. Which is not always possible. If I found myself alone with him, I would get off at the first opportunity. He is not to be trusted. So far he has not physically assaulted anyone, but he has threatened to hurt people's dogs.
It takes so many incidents to start eviction proceedings, but complaints about him are serious enough that the process has probably already begun. A trip to the psych ward for about three weeks which is the length of stay usually has not proved to be effective enough.
As I said I am sure there are other complexes in the city where the chronically mentally ill deemed capable of independent living do not go. I think this complex is a hot spot. I am sure most of the older people who cannot handle that kind of population have already departed. Some are still complaining especially when there is an ongoing crisis, but for the most part most of the older residents have been here a long time and probably will not go anywhere unless of course it is feet first.
Not all are as intrepid as I am mixing and mingling with all in the patio. I love being outdoors sitting under the trees as do some of the other older residents. I am preparing to take some photos today so you can see some of our regulars down in the patio. I regard them as a very tough bunch who mostly keep their good humor no matter what is going on. I regard them as natural born healers who stabilize a society with their friendliness, tolerance and stability. They are people who do not lose their tempers easily. They can go with the flow while maintaining their own individuality. I always think of them as the people who keep America strong.
We seem to have an epidemic of young mentally ill, and I think that is the result of depending too much on technological entertainment without enough interaction. Children grow up playing video games for hours isolated in their homes. These children are going to have a tougher time should they ever be required to interact with others more than they are accustomed to.
Children are taught to interact by their parents and if their parents have trouble interacting so will they, because years of teaching will be lost to them from not being required to interact when they are young! If you are troubled by kids spending too many hours playing video games whether it your own or grand kids or whoever, I think you are right.
I would always be arguing with my grandson when he came to visit to get him off the computer and playing games so he could interact with me a while. I knew I had to let him do it some because usually he had no access to the Internet at home, so would bring his games with him. I applauded his mother taking him to church where he mixed and mingled with other people and other kids. His dad always had computer access so he would let him have access there.
I spent years attending all the workshops on Saturday and all the productions of my son's theater company because I thought all this interaction was so good for people. Later when he taught theater in high school I would go to their productions, too, and get to know the kids, so I could applaud their work.
It is a big challenge to try to get kids more active as well as older people. I regard some of these people living here as having never learned to interact with people, so they are handicapped in a sense. Some of the residents are very reclusive and don't talk to anyone, but seemed to be able to maintain their sanity with very little to sustain them, but their habits can so severely limit them so as to make living a long life with too little joy impossible.
I have also seen people unable to say little more than a greeting. Right now a younger neighbor who used to be able to do that has fallen into a severe depression and is unable to say anything! Nobody knows what triggered off this change, but now we realize that her greetings each time we saw her were much better than this sad lost look on her face. We don't know what to do. We look at her with concerned questioning looks, but she is unable to respond and just moves among us like a silent ghost, obviously not happy but unable to tell us why she is not happy. If we don't see her at all, though, we are more concerned. We realize that if she holes up in her room and does not come out at all that might be a worsening state. Because that has not been her habit. We don't think she can be that reclusive without danger. Management through experience is learning to recognize some danger signs as well. Some recluses we don't worry about. The younger the people are the more isolating is a concern.
See, we are all learning. We are becoming more adept at reading the signs ourselves of a neighbor possibly disappearing in their own empty world.
This is good for us. I never liked this complex as well when it was more exclusively old people. That is not natural. Older people I think need to mix and mingle with younger ones in order to help nurture, teach, observe, and give stability through their own survival techniques. Government has had to find a place for the desperate chronically mentally ill as well as other disabled. Those who do not want to interact will move on to other places with a larger elderly population, but I like this mix even when it upsets me. I think of interacting sometimes as work I do for free. Volunteer work where it is needed.
Making people feel at home who have been crippled by something in their genetic makeup or by a too damaging environment. More studies are in order. More observation. More writing about what might be wrong.
So I content myself with this life I lead in this challenging environment.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

My nerves tattered on a Sunday morning

I went this morning and got the Sunday paper and coffee and a donut and went to the patio to read as I have taken to doing since I decided to stop having any meals at Doc's in the interest of distancing myself from him. I encountered my neighbor Daniel, and a friend Betty already out there along with Suzanne who has taken to coming to the patio more lately. I told them that I had gotten up in the middle of the night to write a message to Camille Kimball, the author of "Sudden Shot" about the Phoenix Serial Killers case to see if she might suggest people in Arizona who might support my writing my memoir which involved a crime perpetuated against me as a child. Suzanne said she did not want to talk about such a subject, especially on a Sunday morning. I conceded that it was a difficult subject so did not object when she introduced another topic of conversation. Another gentleman who has expressed he does not like my loud laugh, had already ostentatiously gotten up and left when I arrived. My philosophy of life is that not everybody is going to like you, so I did not allow that to ruin my good mood.
Suddenly I looked up and saw Doc approaching our table in the patio in a very rare visit out to the complex's main outdoor gathering place. Doc said he was looking for me as he thought I was dead! He explained I had not answered my phone either the night before at 10:30 pm or in the morning as he wanted to ask me to purchase some donuts along with the Sunday paper which he always pays for when I drop it off to his apartment. We sort of wrangled around a little bit, but I quieted down to give Doc the chance to mix and mingle with his neighbors. He made a reference to his alcoholism and Suzanne who has known him a long time said that he was a civilized drunk. Doc was grateful she was looking at his alcoholism in a good light. So we were kind of gingerly getting along when Suzanne moved a chair in closer to the table just as another gentleman was approaching it to sit down. He thought that she did it on purpose so he could not sit there, saying she was saving that place for her husband. He told her her husband was in a scooter.
This somehow caused Suzanne to lose her temper. She went off to this elderly gentleman and he did not take that quietly. Pretty soon there was a raging fight going on with Suzanne throwing a book at him twice which fortunately did not go far enough to hit him. This quarrel went on so long, I got up and left.
Doc followed me hollering back to those still seated, "And you wonder why I don't come down here!"
I pointed out to him once we got to his apartment that he was almost as unstable as Suzanne who has quit drinking but might be bi-polar, and one never knew when he might turn nasty when he was out of his apartment interacting with real people. I did what he requested I do on the computer, checking his mail and FB for messages. I did not want to wrangle with him long, so said I was going to leave.
I went back down to see if things had quieted down in the patio before I went home, and talked to some other residents for a little bit until my tattered nerves could not take the possibility of any more outbursts.
I came home and finished the memoir I had been reading the night before when I decided to write a message to Camille Kimball. It was written by an alcoholic and described how she fell to the bottom, got a DUI, had to serve 12 days in tent city. Boy, that was rough. She said the food was as bad as it has been reputed to be since Sheriff Arpaio has even bragged on serving such cheap meals. I was a little shocked at what she had to go through. But in a court session she listened to the testimony of a man horribly injured by a drunk driver, probably in a blackout as she had been when she got her DUI. His son was also badly hurt but the drunk driver escaped with only minor injuries. He was, however, charged with the full responsibility of this bad wreck and sentenced to 17 years in prison. She knew she had lucked out driving when she was in a blackout by just hitting the wall instead of wrecking another car.
She described in her book "Angels in my Path" people who had helped her when her family had given up on her. Her husband closed all the bank accounts and left her with no money, kicked her out of the home, and took full custody of the children. A friend who was a lawyer took him to court after she had stayed sober a year and the judge forced him to divvy up some of the assets and also to give her some time with her children. This woman had been molested by her step father on a regular basis as a child. Her mother wrote a letter published in the book saying she was sorry she had not left this man after she was told he had sexually abused her daughter. The woman felt this had contributed to her alcoholism with a feeling of being worthless.
She described meeting the woman who helped her publish her book in Arizona. Since I was the daughter of an alcoholic I had also suffered damage as a child due to my suicidal father's heavy drinking and thought that experience, too, should make my memoir valuable to other children of alcoholic parents. How I had dealt with his alcoholism and what some of my conclusions were about having alcoholic parents. She also described meeting a man who had been in prison several times due to alcoholism and drug addiction as well as dealing, and was staying straight and sober by helping others like her. He was a brilliant man who had studied law in his years in prison and helped her to face her trial on the DUI charge. She credits him with saving her life.
In the patio I was once again chided by some for seeing Doc at all, and I said that I always wished that people would have interacted with my father more in his years of drinking. I said people make a mistake not to interact with an alcoholic because as long as he is affecting children, could hurt others, as well as kill himself as he is fighting a terrible disease he should not be ignored. That is not going to do anything for him. That is the easy way to deal with an alcoholic.
My father got drunk, crossed the yellow line, and hit a car with three young men in it, head on, in the last year of his life. He was very lucky that only one of the young men was hurt badly. He suffered a broken leg. He was going to have to go to court where his driving license would undoubtedly be taken from him for life and a heavy fine laid on him. A month before the trial he died of a heart attack at age 64. He was hit so hard in the chest when the steering wheel of his Cadillac nearly impaled him, I always thought it might have contributed to his heart attack.
I became my father's caretaker for the last two years of his life and got him off sleeping pills as well. He needed family intervention to try to help keep him straight.
He had gotten married which I tried to talk him out of, and his wife left him two months after she married him. He went to her home in northern Utah to try to persuade her to come back to him, she refused, and on the way home he got drunk and wrecked.
I thought she acted irresponsibly by marrying him as I was pretty sure she did not love him. I could not help but feel his assets, as a brand new Coupe de Ville Cadillac, a new home, money in the bank, stocks and bonds, played some part in her decision. She hardly knew him. But there was really nothing I could do about that. I moved out as soon as they got married. I soon had to move back in and help him to try to get over his aches and pains caused by the wreck. Trying to see that he did not get upset enough to get drunk again. He was already in enough trouble as it was.
We daughters did not want our father to be responsible for hurting any more people than he already had. In order to keep track of him, some of us had to intervene in his life, either live with him, or check on him all the time. We daughters kept him from doing a lot of stuff. He would sober up and go for long stretches when he was older not drinking, but he needed help and emotional support to stay straight.
I have since I was young intervened with alcoholics whenever I thought I could help, befriending them if that was possible without hurting my family, and so on. I believe in keeping the lines of communication open when a family member is doing too much drinking, father, brother or sister, or sons and daughters. I have done a lot of thinking and tried a lot of different things when my sons were drinking. I still have one son who is an alcoholic that I do not let go long without a phone call to tell him I care. If I think I can say something that will be effective at all about his drinking I do. So does his brother who has become a staunch believer in the AA program and other ways to control a drinking problem. But I just never give up on an addicted person, whether it is someone else or myself, above all if he is one of my children. I have always thought mothers should never give up on their kids. I don't think you can ever give up fighting any kind of addiction, whether it is alcohol, drugs, cigarettes or food. Or gambling. Losing your temper. Whatever.
You just have to keep trying something!


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