Saturday, November 13, 2010
The golden brightness of autumn signals folding in, wrapping up, secure against the cruelties of winter. Psychologically, I draw the swathe tighter and snuggle deep into the smothering safety.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
I slept in the same bed with the same two cats curled close, warm and purring. I woke to the same people, child readying for work, grandchildren for school. Today, I enjoy the embrace while yesterday I prayed for distance. The deer-in-the-headlight terror replaced with a romping desire. Blue skies with streaks of red and brown drifting through instead of a perception of overcast, brooding storm clouds.
What a difference a day makes when we have the strength to wait, to persevere, to know that change is imminent, even when impossibility strangles. Lessons I learn daily, each moment of each day. Even when I've been tko'd, tomorrow is another day.
Friday, October 08, 2010
We’ve been in this house 60 days. Since school started in early September, I’ve been walking to the end of the block to get my 5-year-old grandson off the school bus. As with any other state, if the taxpayers pick up the bill, jobs take triple time. Consequently, our road has been closed since the first day of school so the child cannot be dropped off in front of his house like all the others. Thankfully, the weather has been good for walking—and standing on corners.
That’s what I do every afternoon—stand on the corner and wait for the bus. “Some” people have waved, some said hello, one struck up a courteous conversation. Other than that, most drive by, walk by, or peek through their curtains with suspicious looks as to why a woman is standing on the corner. Everyday they give these looks. You’d think that by now they’d know why. I think now though they have a different, more sinister reason for peeking.
A couple of weeks ago a woman came out as I was walking back with the kid. She not only said hello to me but to the child as well, and asked him if he wanted to see chickens. Possibly, if his mother didn’t have a friend who lived on a farm, this may have interested him, but he’s seen chickens up close and personal before, so it was no big deal. It was however, a big deal to me. I LIKE the idea of self-sufficiency and locally grown. I was extremely surprised that she had a chicken coop in the middle of a sub-division.
She informed me that they’ve given her a hard time and tried to ticket her, but her father built the house years before and she is one of a few that are not part of the city and are still county. She has three huge lots, one that the house sits on, one that is a beautifully landscaped yard with wrought iron benches under trees and one that is wildflowers and brush. This last one she is constantly working in and which hides her garden and chicken coop from view of the street.
She’s taken to meeting us everyday and walking down the street with us. She asks the kid what he learned in school and we talk about wars, government policies, people and religious beliefs. Our landlord asked my daughter why her mother is ‘hanging’ with the crazy woman. The few people, who did speak to me on passing, now turn their heads and don’t even acknowledge my presence.
There is another empty lot next to hers that she was thinking of buying until they gave her a ticket for planting wildflowers and told her to “not put anymore garbage there.” The lot is ‘legally’ not wide enough to build so it sits empty. I made mention that it would be a terrific place for a community garden rather than waste the land. She said, “No way. That’ll never happen. This is NOT a community.”
So, if my ‘neighbors’ think that crazy constitutes having chickens to supply your personal eggs instead of buying commercial eggs that have salmonella, I don’t agree. If they think that planting wildflowers is “garbage,” I don’t agree. If they think making friends with the new folks on the block is crazy I don’t agree. My idea of crazy is hiding behind your curtains peering or driving by staring at a woman who is waiting for a school bus. My idea of crazy is not embracing differences. My idea of crazy is having preconceived notions and leaving no room for growth. Not a woman who hand-writes letters at dawn and gives one to that new neighbor saying how refreshing it is to meet someone who talks honestly, and that it has made her days better.
Now really, does that sound crazy to you??
Wednesday, September 08, 2010
Researching again before I hand over the money, I find that ONLY Asia will I actually MAKE money. Seems everywhere else, oh, except UAE, I will only break even.
Now, to regroup, rethink and obviously, PUNT!!
The last steps have sounded overhead and the last door has slammed. Silence above beckons to us dwellers of the beneath, announcing that all is clear for emergence. Yet, none moves, only purrs and taps on the keyboard. All is well.
Saturday, August 21, 2010
I caught a few more of those 'average' fellows that I spared from the hot skillet. And then, this one came along:
A small, 1 1/4 pound, large-mouth bass. According to my expert guide, this WAS a keeper because it was the largest large-mouth he'd seen in Bear Island Lake. He caught plenty of small-mouth, a few walleye and a couple northern's, but I caught the large-mouth. Imagine THAT!! Has no correlation to my own big mouth AT ALL!!
The day was nice, but of course I'd forgotten the camera so can't show you (right now) a view of the north woods surrounding a rippling lake, but it is divine.
We'd been out some 3 hrs, went back for lunch and I managed to get in and out and back in the boat all under my own power, which is pretty good considering I'm not a petite woman (anymore). After another hour on the water, sitting on a pad on a wooden bench, my back was screaming at me through the nerves in my neck and head. My escort was considerate enough to take me back without complaint.
We arrived at the dock and he asked if I needed help to which I replied, "let's see." I proceeded to attempt one foot, then the other foot, then stood on the seat, pointed a foot (any foot) at the dock and fell face first. Without missing a beat or cracking a smile, he said," Circle one, yes or no. You're beginning to hurt my eyes."
I grabbed hold of the extended hand and CLIMBED onto the pier.
"I wanted to do it myself. I used to be able to," I said to his back as he threw "OK" over his shoulder and proceeded on. OK, as in, yeah sure.
I did used to, honest!
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
August 13, 2010, Day 44-Learned many things today, that Ho-Chunks have Mexican stand-offs over parking spaces—as does the rest of the United States. I’m German and I did. My friend is Swedish and she was there. Here we were, in the parking lot of what is called Wally World in Wisconsin Dells—Wal-Mart. The skies had opened and the gods were obviously draining their pool (or at least I hope it was a pool), and we had just spent a minute or two waiting for an elderly man to pull out of a space. He was parked in a space going the wrong way—a totally EASY spot to pull right into if you are going the other way in the other row—you’ve seen those spots. He pulls out, we pull in and we are ¾ of the way into the space and in turns a pickup. We both stopped and stared at each other through the sheet of water running down both windshields, and there we sat. No one rolled down the windows and yelled. No one performed vulgar sign language. We just looked at each other. Of course, I was saying to my friend to continue to pull into the space, which of course, she didn’t do. We just sat as others around us ran between the downpours, raced shopping carts and made happy dry purchases inside. Finally, he backed out and took another spot while we pulled in and waited for the clouds to part just a bit. He walked by, asked us if, “What the fuck, don’t you know how to drive?” and kept walking. We eventually made it to the interior of Wal-Mart where my friend said she saw him, where I said I was looking for him, and neither met ever again. Probably a good thing.
There are other things I learned today about preparation of dead bodies, but I think I’ll save that for a piece of writing. That definitely deserves its own spot.
Friday, April 16, 2010
The cost to diagnosis and treat lung cancer is astronomical. Lung cancer is fatal in 88% of patients. Per the EPA:
Treatment Period Incremental Cancer Treatment Cost
Initial (3 months) $26,042
Maintenance (per year) $11,325
Terminal (6 months) $30,112
(Based on Baker et al., 1989, with comorbidity charges from Baker et al., 1991.)
1984 to 1996 is 2.14; Bureau of Labor Statistics.) Average Per Patient Costs for the Three Periods of Treatment for Lung Cancer in 1996 dollars. Costs adjusted for inflation using the Medical Care component of the Consumer Price Index (CPI-U) 1996:1984 = 2.14 (Bureau of Labor)
I'm getting to a point here, bear with me.
Since most lung cancer patients die within the first year, we'll use this total figure as one years cost--$67,479--give or take a few dollars depending upon where in the year they die.
OK, let's look at helping those poor sops make better lifestyle decisions. QUIT SMOKING! That's the ticket out of this medical and financial nightmare for both the individual and the government run insurance (Medicaid & Medicare). The government WILL incur the medical costs if the individual is uninsured. They WILL treat the individual and provide medical care. This is a good thing, for some it's a complaint.
Well, the cost to help them quit smoking, to purchase the prescription drug Chantix (which arguably has it's own issues, but has helped MANY quit--particularly this writer); a month's supply of Chantix is $184.00. Those poor sops can't afford $184 out of pocket. Now, you may ask how they can afford to buy the cigarettes and I contend (from experience) that the $5, $6, even $8 for a pack of cigarettes is MUCH easier to come by in any given moment than a lump sum of $184.00.
Here's the question: Why don't insurance companies pay for Chantix? Why would Medicare STOP paying for a patients prescription of Chantix? Is it too simple for all those educated heads to calculate that $67K is far MORE than $1100 (the cost for the maximum of 6 months use of Chantix)? Even if we, the poor sop here, break it down for them-compare apples to apples, 6 months to 6 months-I still think $34K is MORE than $1100, isn't it??? I know I'm not good with math, but I do have a calculator, and I know I'm not near as educated, but really, isn't $34K more than $1100???
Here's your tax dollars at work. Don't complain about the poor sop who is costing soooo much because of her bad lifestyle choices. Complain because the stupidity of Medicare, Medicaid AND insurance companies, would RATHER pay for the cancer than the cessation.
Monday, March 15, 2010
when was the last time you were unable to buy rolling papers? and for that matter, my corner store sells water bongs under the name of 'hookahs.'
the only thing this does is make more laws to have young poor people jailed under. what police officer is stopping a person walking down the street in Lake Forest and searching them for 'drug paraphernalia?' do we honestly believe they don't have it? smoking weed is the most widely performed illegal drug action by ALL regardless of socio-economic, religious, racial, gender, or any other classification named. why not realize this and stop wasting our tax dollars on more ridiculous legislation aimed only at a particular population?
so many issues of homelessness, hunger, domestic abuse and we waste energy on trivialities.