Thursday, June 22, 2017

Grenfell Tower/Triangle Shirt Waist

Each time I see a post or news article about the low income apartment tower than became a towering internal, I think of the Triangle Shirt Waist fire.

I imagine every law student still reads the Triangle Shirtwaist case. Two brothers, virulently anti-union, employed mostly teenage girls to sew.  The fire that killed 146 people flared up quickly. The reason so many died was the owners had locked the exit doors from the outside so none of their employees would be able to stop working (or, maybe, use a toilet?).

It was a great tragedy, of course, and instigated a call for safety regulations.

As I watch the insane ManBaby administration and read about the, evidently, also insane British government's neglect that lead to the fire of Grenfell Tower, I keep thinking there will be more such tragedies. Nothing like the needless deaths by neglect of the government regulating that housing tower is going to get the auxterity nuts in power to stop giving things away to the rich.

your life will get better when. . .

Health care in Colombia in 1972: I studied for a year in Bogota, Colombia. The great poverty was shocking for me. One thing that keeps coming to mind, esp when I read that Congress wants to take health care away from 23 million more people (how easily many seem to ignore that tens of millions who don't have health care now . . .). In Colombia, I never saw a wheelchair. Disability access was all but nonexistent but, I assume, middle and upper class disabled had access to what they needed. The poor disabled, such as persons born without legs or paralyzed at birth somehow obtained wooden boards that had four wheels on it, just a couple inches off the ground. And those poor disabled people dragged themselves around on those wheeled boards, dragged themselves to their begging spots. They were usually caked with dirt, wore ragged clothing and appeared to be homeless. Such tragedies are coming our way, it seems.

The above comments were based on my long-ago experience in Colombia, over 40 years ago. Then I googled health care in Colombia, a third world country, and was happy to learn that in 1992 Colombia began to enact changes in its health care system. They have not yet achieved full universal care but the vast majority of Colombians now have health care.

So a third world country can do better than the USA?  This is what we get with the rich in charge, eh? yet our Fuhrer wants only very rich people running things.

Where are the good rich people, the ones who magically take their huge tax cuts and invest in jobs and America's future? Where are the moral rich people who believe that what we do to the least of us we do to all? You know, where are the rich folks who buy into the Christian ethic of caring for others?

It happens all the time in heaven

It happens all the time in heaven,
and one day it will begin to happen on earth again.
That women and men who are married
brothers and sisters, friends and strangers
will remember their birthright: humaneness.

And they will get down on their knees
and while holding each others hand so tenderly
with tears in their eyes and all the forces of their hearts
will speak sincerly, truthful and deeply loving:
"How can I be more loving to you?
How can I support your true beautiful self more?
How can I be more kind?"
And they will share with each other the mystery
how to live as a true human being: to ever love more... 
~inspired by Hafiz

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

parking fines while white

Once, while living in Minneapolis about 20 years ago, I did not pay a parking fine on time. I got a notice in the mail informing me that a bench warrant had been issues and I could be stopped and arrested for not paying the fine. Additionally, the fine went up, way up. My best option was to go down to the courthouse and pay the increased fine. So I did.

I made my way to an underground level of the Hennepin County Government Center to the window where fines, or maybe bench warranted fines, had to be paid. To my surprise, I found a very long line. All the people in that line were youngish black men and me. All the black guys talked about how they, too, had failed to pay a parking fine. Unlike me, they got picked up on their bench warrant.

I learned, listening to all those young men as I waited my turn to pay, that cops in Minneapolis very specifically did license plate checks all the time on cars driven by . . . black males. Those men described the way cop cars would pull up behind them and immediately start running a check. They talked about how much they dreaded getting caught in traffic in front of a cop car because they believed the cops were always looking for reasons to stop them. Expired tabs on the license plates was a good reason but a bench warrant pleased the cops more. That meant the cops got to haul the hapless black driver to jail and subject him to jail processing. For a late parking fine.

I suppose part of the steep spike in the parking fine is not paid on time is to give drivers incentive to pay up on time but it seemed to me unpaid parking tickets and then bench warrants were being used to harass black drivers.

That same year, I had another parking ticket. If I didn't pay a parking ticket on time, I probably didn't have the money, esp. after I had already paid the penalty of paying late once.

One day, when I knew I had not paid a parking ticket but I had not gotten the letter in the mail informing me of a bench warrant, I started out the day looking for cop cars, dreading having them run a check on my license plate.

I had nothing to worry about. I did get stopped, at a railroad crossing for a very long wait for a long freight train, in front of a cop car. For just a moment, I worried that the cops would run a check on me and arrest me. Then I relaxed. I realized those cops would not run a check on me, that they only ran such checks on black drivers. It was a long wait for that train, maybe thirty minutes.

Immediately after I could move, when the train had passed, I changed my plans for the day. I went downtown to pay my ticket.

I must have been pretty broke because I spent the afternoon waiting my turn in a courtroom to get permission to pay the fine in installments.  The judge readily agreed to installments and told me to go to a certain civil servant to work out the details. The judge had explicitly said I could do it in three payments but that motherfucker civil servant insisted I could only make two payments. He smirked, then laughed, and said if I didn't pay the second installment thirty days from that day, he'd make sure I got picked up on a bench warrant.  A white asshole.  I don't like trying to imagine how that petty bureaucrat might have treated a black looking for some help catching up financially.

I'm ready

Today I went to my writers' group but I left after an hour. I just didn't feel like writing. And I didn't want to listen to one of the writers who was there. I've never enjoyed listening to the guy and today I just wasn't able to make myself. So I left early.

Suddenly faced with an unplanned morning but caught away from home, I made the impulsive decision to walk downhill to catch the #79 home so I wouldn't have to walk uphill two blocks to catch the bus that drops me at my corner.

I got on the #12 bus, not sure where it went. I learned it does not go near my home so I got off at a major cross street, thinking I'd take a bus that would take me to my corner. Easy peasy. I had gotten off across from Trader Joe's and, on another impulse, decided to shop.

My fridge is overflowing with food, much I will have to throw out because I wouldn't be able to eat it all. Sometimes that happens. I go to the store for something to do, buy food I do not need.

So, as I mulled the impulse to go to Trader Joe's instead of just waiting for another bus going to my corner, the 51B, btw, I realized I had my Versacart with me and I could get a gas of lemon sparkling water.

So I did.

Paid for the water and then remembered how hard it is to get my cart with a case of water onto, then off, a bus.

So, another impulse. I would walk home.  I haven't been doing much walking lately, not since I got my motorized scooter. I can't haul home cases of water on the scooter and bringing water home a few quarts at a time has frustrated me.

So I walked home, which is .06 miles.

The walk reminded me why I needed the scooter. After walking a block or so, I could barely move along. I had immediately begun calculating my route home, thinking of where I could stop and sit to rest. I know every place to sit and rest between Trader Joe's and my building but I haven't had to use them since I got the scooter. I have not had the scooter all that long but it has greatly uplifted my spirits to be able to go about the world without experiencing a lot of pain, heart palpitations, deep fatigue and a struggle to breath.

The .06 miles home from TJ's would be tough for me under any circumstances but esp when I am hauling twelve quarts of water. The weight matters. Pushing that water taxes me more than merely limping along with a cane.

Which, again, is why I bought the scooter.

I have been feeling happier, lighter in recent days.

Today's outing purged that lightness away.  I see, now, that I never truly believed walking was getting beyond me. And the scooter has its own limitations.

Do I dare to take it on BART to the city so I can do what in the city?

Do I dare to eat a peach?

I am ashamed of my longings, lifelong longings that have never been met. I haven't even been able to get my fantasy of someone bringing me a cup of nice tea when I am a little sick. Such a small thing to want.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

taking a page from my daughter of long ago

Katie Kreifels, my adult daughter who has shunned me for almost seventeen years, was anorexic when I knew her. She once told me she did not blame me for her anorexic and I let her tell me that without responding. I believe she is anorexic, at least in part, because she was appalled by me being fat.

I used to be hella fatter than I am now. I am almost 100 pounds below my all time high, below the weight when she was in the first grade and told me she didn't want me to be a chaperon on the school field trip to the arboretum because I was fat. We had a fat friend, for Joni was friend to both of us, who weighed almost 500 pounds -- and she was kinda short.  Katie was mortified when Joni wanted to come to our school's holiday craft fair, to spend money to support her school. I told her I was not going to ban Joni from that holiday fair and if she really wanted to ban Joni, she had to tell Joni herself. She couldn't find the nerve, or maybe she found her shame, because Joni went to that fair.

I had an aunt who was very seriously crippled from rheumatoid arthritis. Her hands were all curled up and she could not really use them. So were her feet. And her legs hurt like hell and she could barely walk when I was young. By the time Katie was born, me age 28, my aunt didn't walk at all. She got lifted in and out of cars, in and out of her wheelchair. 

My mom, of course, was eager to meet her first grandchild. Mom planned a trip to meet Katie soon after she was born. In those years, my mom traveled crisscrossing the Midwest regularly to see all her kids but I had, for a few years, the only grandchild! Mom nearly always took her disabled sister on these trips. My aunt lived somewhat housebound. She had a daughter, husband, granddaughter but they didn't live with her (well, my uncle did) but she mostly lived her life inside her house. Trips across the Midwest with my mom were a highlight for my aunt.

But when I talked about planning for mom's visit with my teenage sister and very disabled aunt, my then-husband put his foot down and forbid me from hosting a cripple in his house. Of course I thought he was wrong. I thought he was a real asshole to deny a very disabled, suffering woman the simple pleasure of riding along with her sister and nice, eating a few meals out and meeting our new baby. I capitulated to his asshole decree that my aunt could not enter his home because he was very abusive. I had enough on my hands coping with his routine, cowardly nastiness. My mom and teen sister were appalled that our aunt was forbidden in my home.  It was rotten. But I had the worse part of the deal:  I lived with that asshole another year and a half.

I write about my aunt-the-cripple, which is how I referred to her back then (I had an aunt-the-nun and an aunt-the-cripple) because I sometimes wonder if Katie shuns me from the same kind of energy that lead her father to banish my very painfully disabled aunt from our home.  She seems to have gotten a lot of her dad's etheric, ya know?

Is Katie ashamed of me because I am fat? I believe she tells people in her present life that I am 'severely mentally ill' but I do not have a mental illness. Her father accused me of being mentally ill as the grounds for his custody position, which is when I learned that when someone is accusing me of being mentally ill, it is very convenient to have an established relationships with a respected psychologist. I'm not in therapy these days but once I learned about the personality disorder I have, I moved to the Seattle area to get treated by the world's leading authority on my disorder. I was treated in her clinic for two years. That psychologist never gave me any drugs and steadily reiterated that I do not have a mental illness. I don't think Katie reads my blog but I wish she would read this:  Katie you are so wrong to tell people in your life that your mother is mentally ill. I have no mental illness. And you don't know about the treatment I have undergone, nor the very rigorous diagnosis experiences I have had. I. Do. Not.Have.A.Mental.Illness.

I have type one diabetes, heart failure, serious arthritis all over my body, a knee replacement is in the offing. I use a cane. And heart problems are common for diabeticsl I believe my heart problems are the result of losiong you, which has left me shattered and brokenhearted.  The way my heart feels when it is not working right is exactly what I feel when I think "losing her has broken my heart".

Anyway. Katie started college at sixteen, at great sacrifice by me. I sold my house to make her college possible, an income producing duplex. Gone. For her. As gone as she is. The real sacrifice was letting her leave home early. My sister brought over the brochure for her early college program and said "I am letting you know about this college because I think if you spend the next two years with Katie, she's going to kill you with her meanness towards you."

I was so blind, so pixilated by my Katie, that I did not know what my sister might have been referring to. Intellectually. Viscerally, when my sister said that, I knew she spoke truth:  my daughter was unkind, often cruel, to me

Anyway, her last nine months or so living with me, she developed anorexica. She spent the entire summer before she started college in anorexia treatment, partially residential and then for the entire summer, she was in full time day treatment.

No one has a closer bond related to eating than the mother.  I had suckled her at my breast, fed her all her life. Of course she connected her anorexia with her hate of me. And just because I didn't see her hate does not mean she didn't hate me.  She did. I see it now, hindsight being 20 20, eh?

She did not talk to me much about her eating disorder. She was always too angry about it to talk to me about it. But she did make some comments. A couple years later, after she had her AA degree from the early-college program and worked a year in a restaurant, she decided to go to Cornell's Hotel School. I was taken aback, pointing out that making her career about food might not be optimal (she was not into hotels, but restaurants!) She said "This makes perfect sense, Mom. I love food. I think about it all the time."

She's out of the food biz these days but she worked in it for several years.

She also talked to me, just once, about the way she tended to feel powerful when she did not eat, when she had power over her choice to not eat.

For some reasaon, a few days ago, a thought flitted by related to Katie's anorexia. [She looks anorexic to me in current online photos but I am sure that thought would anger her and prove to her I am crazy.]  I remembered her saying she felt powerful when she didn't eat, felt in control.

I have been fasting a lot since my heart failure issues cropped up. I am hounded by most of my docs to lose weight but they all ignore the fact that I am on insulin. Losing weight when on insulin is notoriously difficult.

But when I was hospitalized the second time this February, the hospitalist gave instructions to give me no insulin for five days. And I lost 28 pounds. Some of the weight loss likely came from my choosing not to eat all the carbs they tried to feed me. I knew I wasn't going to get insulin so I tried to eat no carbs, which would reinforce the dopey hospitalist's belief that I didn't have type one. I begged her to consult with my endocrinologist, just as she had consulted with my primary doc, but that little twat stole my power and my insulin from me and simply withheld insulin.

She actually wrote in my discharge orders that I should stop using insulin. For real.

They gave me no insulin, basal or bolus, for five days and I lost 28 pounds.

And now my cardiologist and my pain specialist always put, in post-visit orders, that I should lose weight. I swim a mile almost every day. I eat, on average, 1,500 calories a day. I eat almost no carbs. What the fuck am I supposed to do? Just starve the weight off?

I've tried starving it off. I can go a couple days with no food at all. I learned this while in the first hospitalization and Dylan Easley, asshole ER doc, gave an order that I be given no insulin (even though my glucose read high in his ER) and no food. It took 36 hours to get his starvation order changed.  I was angry. The incident, however, showed me I could go 36 hours with no food.

So since the hospitalizations, I fast pretty regularly.  My glucose is out of control.

When I met my pain specialist last week, I had lost another ten pounds. And then I had a lightbulb moment:  "Oh, if I stop using all the insulin, I'll lose weight."

This is not a good choice.  I hate it when unthinking doctors nag me to lose weight. They don't offer me any advice how to do it. And they don't seem to believe I eat as I do, or that I exercise as I do. No doc ever seems to believe a fat patient.

Anyway, when I saw I had lost more weight, I remembered my Katie Joy talking, ever so fleetingly, of feeling good while starving because it put her in control.

It's not right for me to stop using insulin. Diabetes can cause heart failure. Diabetes may have caused my heart failure.

I had this flash related to Katie's anorexia and a whisper within my being said "you could lose weight by not using insulin." It was not an angel whispering to me to do something harmful.  It's a dark whisper.

I am very unhappy

Monday, June 19, 2017

swimming to me

I have been a lap swimmer most of my life, beginning in law school. A classmate was into lap swimming and got me into it. At first we joined the YWCA, which cost money, plus gas for cars and parking downtown St. Paul. The second year, duh, we discovered that law students, like all the other students, could use our university's atheletic facilities. Once I learned I could swim on campus, I became dedicated to getting in laps every day I was on campus, which was usually five days a week.

How I loved the relative luxury of just walking a short walk through a bucolic campus to the pool, get in some laps, shower, dry off and arrive at another class feeling great from the workout and the shower.

One really great thing about that pool from the law school years is it was never crowded. Few students took advantage of the middle of the day lap swim hours.

One odd thing that happened to me at that pool, well, in the locker room:  I had bought a beige, lace-trimmed underwire bra. It was my first not-totally-boring bra. My first underwire. I have not worn many underwires because they cut into my rib cage but this particular bra fit me perfectly and the underwire didn't hurt at all. That underwire just kept my breaks perfectly perky.

My friend, the one who introduced me to lap swimming, noticed that bra as soon as I took off my top, admiring my bra. I kept undressing and showed her the underwire, talked about how comfy it was. Her sister was also in the locker room that day, for some reason. Her sis lived with her but her sister was not going to that university. But her sis did not have the full bosoms my friend and I had.

We didn't lock lockers in those days. Wow, huh?! So I didn't lock my clothes. My books and wallet were in my law school locker. All I took to the pool was my suit, swim cap and goggles, then put them back in my law school locker after the swim.

Someone stole my underwire bra that day.  It had to have been my 'friend' or her sister because no one else knew that bra existed, that it was in a locker at that pool. And there were only the three of us in that locker room.

It was a creepy theft. Someone I knew stole a bra. And they rightfully calculated that they could even use it and I'd never know, not being privy to others' bras under their tops.

I don't remember being driven by anything specific when I started lap swimming. It felt great to do. It felt great afterwards.

When I moved to CA, because of delusional infatuation for a man, I resumed my daily swimming, building up to, for over a year at one point, two hours a day. Seriously. Other than that year, I swam a mile a day since moving to CA eleven years ago except for holidays.

In the past year or so, I started swimming less and less. Not to avoid swimming. I stopped going because getting myself to the pool had become hard, painful and had me breathless. My pool is only about two blocks away but the walk to the pool wiped me out. I would think about swimming but then remember the draining walk and not go. It is an incline, my walk to the pool. When I first lived here, the walk seemed flat. As my heart problems evolved (I know this now, did not know it for a long time), I swam less and less. I couldn't face the uphill walk. It wiped me out, leaving me fatigued the rest of the day.

Then my heart issues got diagnosed, treated. I still am breathless, still can't walk up to the pool but now I have a mobility scooter. So I'm back in the swim.

Today, swimming my laps, still building back up to an hour/mile, not quite there yet, I remembered when I had turned my swimming, in my early CA years, as swimming towards something. I was going to slim down, find a life partner and have daily companionship.

I was swimming to relationship, to happiness.

Now, I tend to think I have no future, that all I am doing is waiting out my death. My death could take a long time but I am ready to go now. I am not suicidal.  The main thing keeping me from suicide is my fear of the karmic consequences. No one really knows the meaning of life, or what happens in the afterlife. If suicide is some kind of profound wrong, I don't want that karma following me past the veil. So I am not enthusiastically living.

And I am not swimming to get to a better life or some romantic fantasy. Nope. I am swimming because I see that my life could drag on a few years, or even longer, and I can't walk these days.

I met a new doc last week who looked at the same recent knee x-rays that my primary doc had seen. My primary doc said the x-rays didn't reveal much. This new doc, a pain specialist, said the x-rays indicate I probably need a knee replacement. She asked me if I'd like to improve my leg before pursuing a knee replacement. Of course I would.

I'll get a knee replacement is an orthopedist who does lots of knee replacements recommends it. I have a slight anxiety that I should rush and get it now before I lose my health care. But heck, once I lose health care, I will die from type one diabetes because I could never afford insulin again.

Anyway. What a jumble, these thoughts. Writing to me, too.

I decided while swimming today, a hot-for-Berkeley, dazzlingly sunny day making the water dance with light, shimmering light, undulating ripples spreading light and lighting me up, somehow, that I need something to be swimming towards. Not towards a man. Not towards my wish for a relationship. I am swimming to be happier, to be healthier, to be able to walk up that slight incline to my pool.

I am swimming to me.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

time to tuck the tiny tot

It's time to tuck the tiny tot
into her tiny bed
it's time to tuck the tiny tot
that's what the tiny tot's mother just said

adopt the pace of nature

Adopt the pace of nature.
Her secret is patience.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Hours later, I feel the sun burning my skin

Once, age sixteen, I went to the Indiana Sand Dunes, an area of the shore of Lake Michigan that is all high sand hills.  It was common for couples to go to prom and then, the next day, go to the Indiana Sand Dunes for an all day picnic and, I always believed, sex.  I went to a couple proms but I never went to 'the Indiana sand dunes' as part of a special, big-deal date.  I was such a Catholic girl in my all girl Catholic school.

One day, some girlfriend got her family car and three or four girls went to Indiana Dunes State park. We spent the entire day on the beach. It was the first time I had ever gone 'to the beach' without my parents, or any supervising adults.  I am sure my folks thought an all-girl trip was fine and dandy. And it was.  My virginity was safe.

No one, however, told me to cover up my skin for most of the day. No one suggested I should not stay on the hot sand, along the water, in my bathing suit all day long.

My back and the back of my neck ended up so badly, and deeply, sunburned that my skin was scaled. Ridges upon ridges of burnt to a crisp skin. My skin.

I knew before the end of our time at the beach that I had overexposed myself to the sun so I covered up. Too late. The damage was done.

By the next day, my neck and back were on fire. Heat literally emanated from the crispy scales that seemed to sizzle. My skin sizzling!

My mom took me to our family doctor, Dr. Lorenz. Dr. Lorenz kindly talked to me about never exposing my very tender, very Irish, very burnable skin to all day sunshine ever again. Then he told me to take a towerl, soak it in water, freezer the wet towel in our freezer and then place it on my back. He warned that it would be hard, even painful, to spread the frozen, icy towel on my back but I had to do it anyway. He said the frozen towel would draw some of the heat out of my burned skin.

This was not a casual sunburn.

Dr. Lorenz was right. Those frozen towels did draw out the heat, reduce my suffering. It still took several weeks for all my dead, burned skin to fall away, for new skin to grow. The only thing that soothed me, for not even moisturizers and skin lotions helped, were those frozen wet towels.

My daughter inherited her dad's complexion. She has a very faint olive tone in her skin and she tans. No one in my Fitzpatrick clan ever tanned. I have never had a tan. I get burned and then my burn stabilizes if I am swimming outdoors every day, which I am doing again these days. I still look red but my skin gets to a point where it stops burning.

Katie also got her dad's brown eyes. She does not look a lot like me but, and I don't think she knows this, she looks a hella lot like my mother. Once, when she was about thirteen, I took a photo of her and my mother, then forgot about the photo. When I found it years later, I was amazed at the identical angle of her nose, her clavicle, her eyebrows. Side by side my mother, they looked very much alike.

She got her coloring from her Kreifels kin. Her bones from my mother, who, like Katie Joy Kreifels, was a great beauty. And, apparently nothing from me but love, exposure to the arts, cello lessons, private school, camping, season tickets to multiple theater companies, then season tickets to dance companies. And endless, and expensive, dance classes. And at the end, I sold my duplex, with its income production, to finance her first college. And she got my love, which seems to mean diddly squat to her.

And I bet she loves believing she looks like the Kreifels instead of me, since she hates me. But she looks like a Crowley. Like my mom.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

I wait a lonely lifetime

What I am seeking is also seeking me
When I run after what I believe I want,
my days are a furnace of stress and tension.
But if I sit in my own place of patience,
What I need flows to me itself, without
any pain.
From this I understand that

What I am seeking is also seeking me
is looking for me and attracting me.
~ Hazrat Shams Tabrizi

I wait a lonely lifetime. . . . 

I can't be without you

I can't be without you ...
Why don't you say it too: I can't be without you ?
~ Rumi

let joy move you

Don't move the way fears makes you move.
Move the way loves makes you move.
Move the way joy makes you move
~ Osho

get into gratitude!

Friday, June 16, 2017

I wait for you to believe in me

I will be waiting here
For the ray sky to cry
For your suspicions to die
For you to really try

I will be waiting here
Fr the white snow to melt
For the roses to be smelt
For you to feel what I felt

I will be waiting here
For the moments to pass
For the memories to last
For you to break that glass

I will be waiting here
For the ships to sail on the sea
For the clock to strike three
For you to believe in me

I will be waiting here
For your silence to break
For your soul to shake
For your love to wake

~ Rumi

do you have a son, she asked

Once, maybe a year ago, a woman who does not actually live in my building and who has been verbally abusive to me on many occasions*, got into the elevator with me and a senior, white-haired black man who has lived here, as I have, since our building opened 9 years ago. The woman's mother also moved in here when the building opened but her mother rarely leaves her apartment. So I guess this daughter is being a good daughter, visiting her mom, maybe running errands for her.  I have never seen 'this woman' bringing groceriers to her mom's place or bringing anything.

This woman found out I have an adult daughter who has shunned me, now, for almost 17 years. As soon as she learned it, the woman shifted from being someone who nodded hello to me in the elevator or waiting for the elevator to someone spitting verbal abuse towards me. "It your fault your daughter hate you", she say. "I know you did something, I know you must be a bad mother."  I endured a few of these verbal assaults but this is my home. I should not be serially subjected to hurtful, abusive talk from a stranger who doesn't know one damned thing about me, other than my race, or about my daughter.  I trembled inwardly when I would see this woman. I often felt tears smarting just at the sight of her.

Having both experienced emotionaly abuse many times and having once been a lawyer who helped women escape emotional abuse, I knew how to put a stop to it. I knew this woman's mother was accountable for all her guests behavior, including the behavior of her daughter. I knew if I submitted a written complain, our property manager would warn the abuser that if she kept on emotionally assaulting me, her mother could be evicted.

My report angered my neighbor's adult daughter, as one might imagine. She began to verbally harass me for snitching on her and she continued to bring up my lost Katie Joy. Tears would be streaming down my face and I would stand there like a child, frozen, weeping. I made some verbal requests for the woman to stop but, like every abuser I have ever known, she wanted to see me upset. She enjoyed seeing me cry. She would say "You are crying because you know I am right. You won't see your daughter again until you deserve to have a daughter and I bet you never get to see her again."

So I reported her again. Both reports in writing. Strike three and her mother would have been evicted. So this witch stopped abusing me about my daughter disowning me.

And, just fyi, tears are streaming down my face as I write this, as tears always stream out of me if I dally in thoughts about my daughter in any connection for more than an instant.

Being a bully, and nasty, this women looked for other ways to abuse me.

She had her mother's security fob, the fob necessary to get the elevator to go to any floor but the ground floor. It is a security measure. It states in all leases that residents should only admit their own guests. It states in the leases that letting persons unknown into the building is a lease violation and doing so consistently could lead to eviction.

So this bully would wait until I entered the elevator, wait until a stranger entered the elevator with us and then offer to let them up.  She likely did this regularly. I did speak to her about it, pointing out that if someone has a legitimate reason to be in the building, and the only legitimate reasons involve visiting specific residents who are supposed to let people in. I pointed out that she had no idea who she was letting up. She was silent as I said this and then waived some guy onto the elevator with her mother's fob.

I submitted a written complaint about that. Her mother was informed that she cannot give her daughter the security fob and that the daughter can't let people up.

So, after this two write ups, the bully was very, very angry with me.  She was furious that I took steps to stop her emotional abuse when she would not stop when I asked and she was furious that she got that security fob taken away because then she had to wait to be let into the building and up the elevator. She does not leave here. She is not supposed to have a fob. I didn't care if she used her mother's fob but I did not like how she let lots of people in.

Bully did stop bullying me. And she did stop letting persons unknown to her up the elevator. 

A couple times, her mother had just buzzed her in (buzzing someone in allows one of the elevators to open and deliver one's guest to one's floor) but the bully missed the elevator and I was also waiting for the elevator. She asked me if I would let her up, not very pleasantly pointing out that it was my fault (it was not) she had missed her mother's buzz-in because I had hit the button for the elevator. But I let her ride up with me because I knew she really has a mother, on my floor as it happens. And I am not an asshole.

Letting her up a couple times lead to my longwinded point. The last time she, not very sweetly, demanded I let her up because her mother's buzz had failed to let her up, I let her up. Then, just as the doors closed, an elderly black man who, as far as I can tell, does nothing but go outside to smoke cigarettes. He doesn't seem to go to church, as so many of my black neighbors do. And he smokes a lot of marijuana in his apartment. I know this because he lives two floors directly below my apartment and he likes to blast loud music when he is high, like at 4 a.m. I have gone down at 4 a.m. to ask him to turn down the noise. He does not answer. Later, he has told me, he thinks he must have been asleep to which I had responded "Well I was awakened by your music and it went on all night."

Funnily, he was complaining to me because property management had called him at 8:30 to report the many complaints about his all night stereo noise.  At first, I considered keeping it private that I had been one of the complaints. It is not my nature to lie. Sure I tell some white lies but, at some fundamental level, I have always been more at ease with telling my truth. And, yes, I recognize my truth may not be the same as another's. So I told him, out at the bus stop around 8:45, that I was sorry he had been awakened by property management but I was one of the people his stereo had kept awake for hours. He said "Why didn't you come to my door and say something?" So I told him how I had tried that and he had not responded, even though I pounded loudly over his stereo.  "Man," he said, "I musta been asleep. I got to get me a house or a duplex, live in a place with less neighbors."

Here in Berkeley, there is no smoking of anything in rental buildings with six or more units. It might be more than four units. Whatev. I think he had voiced wishful thinking to live in a place where folks couldn't report him for smoking illegally.

So I had reported this guy and he remained just as genial to me as he had always been. And he knew I had reported him. And he has never blasted his stereo at all, as far as I can tell. I do smell his marijuana. I let that slide. Its ciggie smoke that really bothers me but he is careful to smoke his cigarettes not just outside but across the street, away from residents' windows.

So. The emotionally abusive bully, the old codger who likes to smoke marijuana to loud music and I all find ourselves on the elevator. Emotionally abusive had long since taken to not acknowledging me unless she needed me to let her up. This day, she very pointedly directed her request to be let up to the music-loving pothead. Then, speaking as effusively as possible, even a little flirtatiously to an old man she was condescending to, she talked to him, turning her back to me to signal that I was not a part of the conversation. And I remained silent. One elevator ride isn't long enough to have a fight. This guy, the music loving pothead, is always friendly to me. He is also sharp. I think he saw that the abusive bully was making some kind of point. He talked to her, but he glanced at me, too, to include me in the dialogue. I remained silent.

Then she asked him if he had any grandchildren. She had tried to get him to open up on several topics. She so wanted him to be effusive with her, as she was being with him, to drive home her pettiness, to make sure all three of us knew I was excluded. Like it was a blacks only elevator chat.

Fuck her, eh?

I did not respond to her but I did respond to my neighbor. Not her neighbor. Her mother's neighbor. She doesn't know that I see this man all the time and we have a friendly connection.

He said, slipping into some kind of guardedness, or so I thought I detected, he said "No, no grandkids."

"Do you have children?" she asked, all smarmy sweetness, batting her eyes, pulling up her chest to emphasize, I suspected, her bosom. Not that she was interested. She was interested, I believe, in making me feel left out.

"I have one son," the man said and said no more.

"Well, there you go. There's still time. You will be a grandfather someday. Just you wait."

Then the man said "My son, he in prison."  He did not say, but it sure felt like this to me, that his son is in prison for a hella long time, like too many black men in this country. His voice held years of grief. I heard it. But emotionally bullies apparently don't pay attention to people when they aren't trying to hurt them. When she was mean to me, she tended to be note perfect in judging how her unkind words attacked me. But she was clueless about this old man with a black son in prison. She had not seen his whole being droop when she asked if he had kids. I had. Then I was glad not to be in the conversation.

The old man, with one black son in prison, probably for a hella long time like this culture does to black males, got off on the 4th floor. Bully and I rode up to my floor, her mom's floor in silence.

I wanted to say "You know how black men get locked up for decades. That man's son might never be out of prison in that man's lifetime. It was insensitive of you to prattle on about his future grandchildren."

And I know, with all my being, that this man had also done a long stretch in prison. And I remembered I have never seen him with anyone. And I thought about my belief that he is pushing seventy, if not in his seventies.

Since that passing encounter, which I am sure the old man forgot for he had forgotten me telling him I was one of the folks who had complained about his late night stereo booming, I have wanted to ask him about his son, how much time he has left. I never would ask that question, not just off the bat. Maybe if he and I struck up a friendship, hung out a bit, had a cuppa together. Or a joint. He offered me a joint that day at the bus stop, the day he got awakened at 8:30 a.m. for his loud stereo.

Bitch bully?  I don't think I've seen her in a long time. If I have, she had been ordered not to talk to me so she could be around and not speaking to me. Thank goddess.

She once said I had to have done something to lose my only child. Crying, blubbering like a baby, I sniffled and cried as I said "You don't know anything about me, much less my daughter, you don't know what you are talking about. Please stop. I haven't done anything to you."  This was the turning point, when I realized I had to file a written complaint, invoking the lease clause that says residents ar responsible for the behavior of their guests.

American democracy is childish fantasy

"The U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis made the very basic and elementary observation that Americans “must make our choice. We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.” Why all this nonsensical talk about “American democracy”? It’s a childish fantasy." ~ Paul Street, in Counterpunch

Thursday, June 15, 2017

we are saved only by love

The world is violent and mercurial--it will have its way with you. We are saved only by love--love for each other and the love that we pour into the art we feel compelled to share: being a parent; being a writer; being a painter; being a friend. We live in a perpetually burning building, and what we must save from it, all the time, is love. ~ Tennessee Williams

Tuesday, June 13, 2017


Anyone who actually knows me know I don't use illicit drugs and except for a very rare beer in the summertime, I don't drink alcohol.

I did smoke a lot of marijuana for a couple years in college. Then I returned from S. America and never smoked dope again. That was 1974!

Recently, at the Alta Bates Ashby ER, in February, a blood test done on me showed Ecstasy in my system.  A false positive for sure.

Geez, my primary doc prescribed medical marijuana for my considerable chronic pain and I rejected it. She said they sell stuff that doesn't get a person high but I still didn't check out medical marijuana.

An asshole ER doc put me, so illogically, on a psych hold, accusing me of being actively suicidal. I reasoned that I had come to the ER of my own volition seeking help for heart failure. I pointed out that coming to the ER for medical care is not indicative of suicidal intention.  This pig also ordered the ER staff to withhold insulin, even when a glucose test showed my glucose was over 200.

The next day, I refused any more blood tests, would not let docs listen to my heart and did not accept any medical care until I saw a psychiatrist. I eventually saw a psychiatrist named Dr. Fitzpatrick. He told me I would be amazed how many unwarranted psych holds get ordered out of that particular ER.

Apparently Dr. Dylan Easley has a real thing for punishing already sick people who, in his judgement, act a little upity. He promised me he would not put a psych hold on me and then he walked out of the glass cage I had been forced into and grabbed a passing nurse and told her to put me on that psych hold. That meant 24 hour babysitters. That meant they took away my insulin -- after other ER staff had told me they usually let diabetics manage their diabetes in the ER. There I was, already sick and Easley ordered the staff to withhold insulin from this type one diabetic and also ordered that I be given no food. It took over 24 hours to get the starve-her order rescinded.

Why are there a surprising number of psych holds at Alta Bates Ashby? Is it all because of the asshole Dr. Easley?   I wonder.

And I even wonder if he spiked my blood test with ecstasy to buttress his outrageous decision to put me on a psych hold. Get this: on this psych hold at this hospital, you don't get any psych treatment. You just get humiliated. denied insulin, denied food and are forced to sit with babysitters.

Ecstasy!  I had a business partner in the eighties who had used ecstasy a few times. She always spoke of it as the most blissful experience imaginable. I loved and greatly respected her but I never tried ecstasy even tho she steadily urged me to.  I am not likely to start using ecstasy at age 63, eh?

Monday, June 12, 2017

the time to make up your mind about a person

"The time to make up your mind about a person is never."
Tracy Lord, from the 1940 movie, The Philadelphia Story.

a new doc I really like

It took a few months to get a first appointment with her but I finally met my pain specialist. I liked all her suggestions.

how does one hurry to find the Love of one's Life?

A person without Love is not a living
human being.
He or She is just a lonely
and lifeless walking corpse.
If you are not still in Love
hurry and find the Love of your Life.
Quench your thirst for Love.
The Beloved is also thirsty for a Lover.

~ Rumi ~

Sunday, June 11, 2017

gosh golly and gee whiz

Gosh golly, it feels great to swim laps under the sun. During my swim today, I particularly enjoyed all the ways the light undulates in the water, pierces my eyes from the sky when I do a length or two of backstroke (to move different muscles).  The light is magic.

The exercise is also magic. I feel lit within. I feel great.  And I am getting closer to knowing, once again, how great it is to swim every day.  I'm getting there!

Gosh golly, I feel great.

Gosh golly, I really do.

Gee whiz. Aw shucks.

And for today, I had a lane all to myself. Sundays are like that at my pool.

go deeper

I'm so fed up with males ruling

Friday, June 09, 2017

who am I? me

Sixteen rows of cherry tomatoes, one beautiful Katie Joy Kreifels

I put it together by myself! My mobility scooter is ready to be ridden!! The hard styrofoam has left little bits of white stuff all around where I unpacked, then assembled it. It was just as easy to put together as the salesperson said. I bought it from a company in Florida because the company offers a five year warranty, including the battery!!

I thought I'd zip out the door as soon as I got it together and the packing debris put in my recycle/trash room but I am wiped out.

I'll take a nap, something I am able to do just about any time. I've always been a napper but lately, I get so fatigued, so totally drained of energy, that I nap more soundly than ever. Except when I was pregnant.

When pregnant with my daughter, who took took took and then shunned me (over sixteen years but who counts? the heartache increases . . )  I wallpapered two walls of her bedroom while pregnant, the two walls with windows, the walls one saw when one stood in the door facing into the room.  I thought papering all four walls might make the room seem small. It was a largish bedroom.

I covered those two walls with rainbows. In a couple spots, where I couldn't quite make the wallpaper match perfectly (I hang wallpaper like a master, truly I do), I cut out pieces of unused bits of that wallpaper and made the seams match. I poured my heart and soul into readying that room, that wallpaper, for my child.

And at the end of the day, I sat down on the floor of that room to behold my masterful work. Then I realized I felt more exhausted than I had ever felt in my life. So I just spread out on the floor on my back (hard to lie on a floor stomach down with a 7 month old fetus inside one's uterus!) and rested until her father came home so he could help me get off the floor.

He said nothing about the wallpaper. He yelled at me because he always insisted that I clean up from any chores I was doing while he was at work. Same when I painted the kitchen cabinets (harder than walls, for I used enamel and had to paint so carefully to avoid enamel drips) or wallpapered the kitchen, or wallpapered the front hall, etc. etc. etc. He insisted the house be in pristine conditon and would not listen to my explanations, which he heard as whining laziness, that it was a whole lot more work to clean up a job over and over instead of waiting until the project was over.

Hell, I bought a power drill so I could install the mini-blinds I custom ordered for my baby's room. and I installed the curtain rods with that drill for the new curtains in our living room.

He liked to brag to coworkers and friends that he had married a home improvement contractor. No one but me heard him hound me to have the house perfectly tidy even when I had spent the day painting and/or wallpapering or gardening (and maybe his family, he talked about every detail of our lives with his mom and sisters and if they voiced opprobrium about anything, he would demand that I abide by their preferences).  I refused to let his mom and sisters approve my wallpaper, wall colors and, and this was a very very big and neverending discussion, the color to paint the outside of our house.

I went with slate blue and cream trim instead of white. Each color seemed softer, more welcoming. He squawked and squawked about how his mom and sisters had never seen a blue house, never seen cream-toned trip. Sometimes, while still pregnant, I'd drive him around our suburban world and show him all the blue houses. True, most of the blue houses had white dream. I took the position that being just a little different distinguished our house. I did get my colors but they cost me.

And then, oh why oh why am I thinking of these unhappy times -- maybe needing the scooter is operating on a subliminal level and upsetting some aspect of my being that longs to be fully mobile on her own. Nope. I don't mind the scooter. What I mind is that I have heart failure, crippling arthritis and my only child doesn't give a damn.

While pregnant, I asked him to plow a patch of our backyard so I could plant a garden. I had imagined an 8x10' patch but his friend Dave, raised on a farm, went out and rented a rototiller and plowed up a sixteen by forty foot patch of sod. Then my ex informed me I better plant every inch of that patch.  When I pleaded that it was too big a garden for me to handle waddling around pregnant and in and out of the hospital several times during that pregnancy (I had a wicked hard pregnancy, I couldn't keep down water much less food so I was hospitalized for long stretches to be fed and given water intravenously. This was more for the baby than me. I lost almost 30 pounds while pregnant but my baby, born a couple weeks early, weighed six pounds eight and one half ounces. All these years later I still love that half ounce. I had never heard a newborn's weight noted up to the half ounce before. or have I heard such a thing since.  My baby was special!

Anyway, I bought a packet of seeds, because my husband forbid me to buy starter plants. In hard winter parts of the country, people don't buy starters to be lazy, as he opined. They buy them because the growing season is shortish.  I intended to have one row of cherry tomatoes and one row of tomatoes. I was going to sneak in tomato starts but I bought cherry tomato seeds. I put the whole packet of seeds in a row, intending to thin them out to have one row, maybe two rows at the absolute most.

Then I was hospitalized  for a week and Dave and my ex saved all those cherry tomatoes. Instead of having a large garden full of many things, I had sixteen rows eight plants per row of cherry tomatoes and only cherry tomatoes. We ended up with a cash crop. If I didn't have a newborn, with my daughter born in June, I joked, we could set up a tomato stand and sell cherry tomatoes. He thought that would be embarassing. I was kidding. We did live along our side yard, along a busy street. I likely would have sold those tomatoes. Or, at least, given them away.

I had no canning supplies and, with a new born by the time those tomatoes were ripe, no time or energy to learn how to can. My husband ordered me -- and his orders were always abusively issued -- to use every single one of those cherry tomatoes. He said it wouldn't go well for me if I wasted any. He forbid me from sharing them weigh neighbors and even forbid sharing them with his relatives.

And I had no other plants. I had asked if he and Dave could plant other things while I was serially hospitalized but he said the garden was full of those cursed cherry tomatoes.

So I simmer pot after pot of those cherry tomatoes, put them in cheap plastic containers, filled our freezer with those tomatoes. And we had a separate, gigantic freezer for his fantasy deer meat I filled that sucker with boiled cherry tomatoes, showed them to him. And, one by one, thawed them and threw them out.

I had a newborn. Cooking gourmet feasts was not on my list of priorities. And he did nothing to help me, not even mow the fucking lawn. He said the price I had to pay for staying with our baby was all the chores. so I would mow our huge lawn (double lot) in bits while my baby napped. I was perpetually mowing that lawn her first summer.

Her second summer, my Katie Joy liked to help me garden. I planted zinnias along our fence that faced the empty lot and could be seen from the passing cars. I planted those zinnias from seed, too, trying to be frugal to justify staying home with my baby. So a time came when I had to thin the zinnias. Luckily, no Dave came around to order me to use every single zinnia start once they got going.

Instead, I had the best helper in the world.  Katie loved pulled little plants out of the ground and throwing them in a pile. She pulled lots of perfectly good zinnias. I loved her so. I can see how beautiful she was, I can see the sunlight, I can see her lavendar Oshkosh by gosh overalls with the ruffles on her suspenders. I see the rose-sprigged sun hat on her head. I thanked her each time she pulled up a zinnia and, when she would not notice, I'd replant the good plants.

Back when Dave and my ex were saving all those cursed cherry tomato plants, I pleaded with my husband from my hospital bed to only save two rows. "If you want to go on working, plant beans, squash, lettuce, herbs". He said "You started these cherry tomatoes. It would be a sin to waste them."

Thursday, June 08, 2017

the price of hating another

what if I stopped?

I consider, from to time, whether I should continue to do all the things doctors prescribe for my multiple health issues. Test my glucose six times a day Inject one unit of fast-acting insulin for every 8 carbs I eat (so become adept at carb counting). Also, inject baseline insulin at bedrom and upon rising to give my body a baseline of insulin above and beyond the fast-acting stuff. So that's 8 to 10 injections a day.  Plus my joints hurt. Sometimes I hurt so much I can't think.  I do have, at long last, an appointment with a pain specialist on Monday. I got the referral and made the appointment back in early March and mid-June was her first opening. As I wait, I have no painkiller. Sometimes I hurt so much that I fantasize discovering some magical way to crawl out of my all-over aching.  Over the weekend, so weakened by pain and unable to ignore it as I usually can, I took an ibuprofen. My cardiologist -- yeah, I have heart failure, common for diabetics and my dad and maternal grandmother had heart issues with their diabetes -- insists ibuprofen is unsafe for women over fifty. I had the 400 mg ibuprofen tabs in the house. I haven't used any ibuprofen since I developed heart failure but on Sataurday, I was in so much pain I took one. It was an emotional stress to cave in and take it even as my body slowly hurt less. It still hurt but less. And my left knee:  I've been telling my primary for well over a year that something is wrong with my left knee and she doesn't exactly dismiss what I say but she doesn't offer any help for it. My left knee has gotten so bad I can barely walk. Very painful walking combined with heart failure leaves me deeply fatigued all the time. While in Canada recently, I was able to use (for free!) a mobility scooter at Ottawa's National Gallery of Art. That scooter showed me I could move through the world.

Shortly after my return to Bay Area, with only a cane and no scooter, I very painfully forced myself over to SF MOMA so I could see the Diebenkorn/Matisse show. The lines were as long as lines for art have ever, ever been. I had to stand for almost two hours, slowly moving forward. In excrutiating pain. Not just my knee. My hips, oh lordy, my hips screamed. I cheated. I walked to the head of any head-of-line I could see. I couldn't see them all because the endless lines snaked up and down room after room. And I kept thinking "if I had that scooter, I could sit while I wait".

I get nagged by doctors to exercise. I have been a consistent lap swimmer all my life. In the past year or so, I have swum less and less because the walk uphill to my pool got to be too much. One doc told me "well, if you can't swim, walk". Fuck her. I didn't say fuck you to her but I wanted to. If I can't walk two blocks on a slight incline to swim, how the fuck am I supposed to walk a couple miles a day to give my heart a workout?

And eating.  I eat a fairly ascetic diet. Lots of dark leafy greens, meaning I have one serious salad daily. I do one protein shake for brekkie, using plain organic whey, raw cacoa powder, ginger, tumeric and cinnamon. This is not a very satisfying breakfast but when I was traveling and didn't get in those spices, whew, I really felt it, esp. the missing tumeric (curcumin).  I eat almost nothing but vegies. I do have wild salmon with braised spinach a couple times a week. I enjoy blueberries, which are very low in carbs.  I am so very careful about what I eat but as most fat women would tell you, almost no one believes a fat woman when she describes eating healthfully but does not lose weight.

Doctors who nag me about my weight muust know about studies showing that once fat cells exist, they are very very very tough to starve. It takes a starvation diet to be slim.

Last week, I have my biannual food doctor exam. Diabetics get annual food exams but my feet are in good shape so far so my foot doc has me come in every two years.  She was warm and friendly and spent a little time with me. I mentioned how frustrating it is to be hounded by several docs to lose weigh and she, bless her, gave me some ease by saying "Some people, many people, are just not born to be thin. It runs in families."  I was so relieved. My dad's mother, his sisters (my aunts) were all about my size once they hit forty or so. And my maternal grandmother was never slender. I never heard anyone criticize my female relatives for being fat. They were who they were. And loved as they were. I remember my Aunt Mary crash dieting for her eldest daughter's wedding and I remember her quickly returning to her normal size after the wedding. I remember feeling sad that Aunt Mary thought she had to starve herself for one party. None of her family would have cared if she was a size sixteen for the wedding.

So, I am juggling type one diabetes, heart failure, atrial fibrillation, very painful and overall arthritis pain, a bad knee, chronic, deep fatigue.

And I ask:  why do I bother? Would it be so bad if I just stopped taking care of my diabetes, stopped taking all my heart meds, stopped pressuring myself to eat less and less, stop berating myself when I don't do a good aerobic workout daily?  Why not just accept what has been given to me, which is ill health, and just escalate my demise?

Right now, I am not, at all, suicidal. Thank goddess. Some folks might not understand that when someone is drowning in suicidal obsessing, it is very very emotionally painful. So thank goddess I am not suicidal these days.

I just did a little experiment. I ran out of my fast acting novolog two days before a Monday doc appointment. Then my doc called in sick, which is perfectly fine. She retires soon and she gets to be sick. But her head nurse wouldn't give me my novolo. So I went without it for a few days until I could see another nurse, show her all my meds and explain what I needed. That sissified head nurse yelled at me, telling me I should have requested the refille two weeks before the refill ran out. Duh. I needed to change my scripts and I can only do that when I actually see my doc so I did the right thing I got an appointment. It wasn't my fault my doc was sick that day.

I felt very sick those days I had no novolog. Then I tried to push on and not use novolog even when I got more.  It's a catch 22. Sure I can skip insulin. And, hey, I'd lose weight. I lost over 20 pounds in five days in a hospital in February because the ninny hospitalist wouldn't give me insulin. what kind of a doctor withholds insulin fro a type one?  I lost 28 pounds in five days. So for a few days, feeling scolded by that head nurse guy and steadily questioning why humans don't just accept what life sends their way.

I mean, do we really need health care? Maybe we should all surrender to our fates?

And in my case, no one loves me.  I don't even have anyone to put down to contact if I die so, for sure, no one would care if I checked out a little sooner rather than later.

So I went six days without properly dosing my insulin. But I am spoiled. I feel really sick when I don't use insulin and I don't like feeling sick. So I am back on the sauce, the insulin. I still feel lousy. It will likely take a few days for me to catch up. But catch up to what?  It's not like I ever actually feel well.

like the loss of everything

True Love once found is as precious as all the wealth in existence.

The loss of a true love is like the loss of everything.

Upon that loss the cries and tears are felt throughout all existence.

My wish for you is that your life will be blessed with all the beautiful memories of true love given and received.

hold on to the pure facts of this world

Hold on to the facts

What we speak nowadays corresponds little to outward facts. It is mostly the outcome of various opinions and passions. However, when we add to our external sensory perceptions what does not match pure reality, and reflect it as thoughts, we destroy our capacity for higher knowledge. […] The most basic rule for ascending to the higher worlds is this: learn to hold on to the pure facts of the physical world.
Source (German): Rudolf Steiner GA-220 Lebendiges Naturerkennen Intellektueller Sündenfall und spirituelle Sündenerhebung– Dornach, January 20, 1923 (page 128-129)

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

never regret anyone

Never regret anyone in your life. Because some people give us happiness and others give us experience. Both are essential to our life.

You cannot forget - me, or forgive - yourself

I forgive. And I forget.
Yes. I’m merciless like that.
I give chances.
Second. By the second.
For you to make the shifts.
To the right.
Or out and away. To the left.
Regardless then;
You cannot forget — me.
Or forgive — yourself.
Yes. I'm merciless like that.

~ Tasneem Kagalwalla

be a transcendentalist

“This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown, or to any man or number of men — go freely with powerful uneducated persons, and with the young, and with the mothers of families — re-examine all you have been told in school or church or in any book, and dismiss whatever insults your own soul; and your very flesh shall be a great poem, and have the richest fluency, not only in its words, but in the silent lines of its lips and face, and between the lashes of your eyes, and in every motion and joint of your body.”
— Walt Whitman, preface to Leaves of Grass

Guinness: my favorite anticoagulant

From the first day I was told, in 2003, that I would have to take coumadin (rat poison) the rest of my life to prevent blood clots, I have balked at the rat poison. After a few years, I consulted with a hemotologist who ran a lot of tests (after she had me go off coumadin for a month). She said I was right on the borderline and whether or not I took coumadin depended on my tolerance for risk. She pointed out that I now knew what a deep vein thrombosis (clot in my lower leg) felt like so if I felt comfortable with the risk, I could go off coumadin. I did go off, for about a year and then I felt a painful DVT developing in the same place the first one had developed. A trip to the ER had me back on coumadin this time for life.

I eat a whole lot of dark green leafy vegetables (spinach, kale, chard and more) so I need less rat poison.

Now I have discovered a new, healthy drink that is an anticoagulant as well as being the source of many other good nutrients. Guinness.

I had a glass in Montreal. When I could, I looked up Guinness for its carb count to see how much insulin I needed   if I ever had another Guinness. Come to learn that Guinness is unusually, for a beer, low in carbs, loaded with nutrition and an actual anticoagulant.

So I could drink a Guinness for medicinal and health purposes!

Brew pubs seem to spring up all the time but they focus on local brews. And I'm not much for going out to drink.

When I am in a spot with Guinness on tap, my longstanding limitation of one beer per summer will go out the window. Anytime Guiness is on tap, I'll have a pint. It's medicinal. You know, for my health. I am disappointed that many American bars chill Guinness. I really do like it room temp. But for its medical benefits, I'll cope with a cold one. 

Hear hear.

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

my mission: to be love and be loved

My mission should I
choose to accept it, is to
find peace with exactly
who and what I am. To
take pride in my
thoughts, my
appearance, my talents,
my flaws and to stop
this incessant worrying
that I can't be loved as I am.
~ Anais Nin

Monday, June 05, 2017

where is support for my heartbreak?

For at least a year, I've been telling my doc -- pleading with her -- that my left knee was damaged and walking was increasingly painful. She shrugged it off. Then she ordered a knee x-ray only when I begged and then she dismissed the x-ray. And my ability to walk has grown worse and worse. Add to the painful, limping walking, I have been dealing with, until February, undiagnosed heart disease. Walking became almost impossible. If I sucked up the pain and limped along, I would quickly grow out of breath and too fatigued to go far. To illustrate, my pharmacy is 1.5 blocks away and I dread the 3 block roundtrip walk.

Well, the heart disease finally got noticed when I reported, in February, that I had been barely able to get to a doc appointment. All I have to do, to get to my doc's is walk a couple blocks to BART, take the subway to the next stop, drag myself through the BART station and take an elevator from inside the station up to my doc's office and I still barely made it. When I told her "I could barely move to get here, I haven't felt this wiped out side I was pregnant, had hyperenemesis and was hospitalized three times, twice for a week and once for two, to be fed intravenously. I could keep nothing, not even water down, and I was the most exhausted I've ever been. Now I am that exhausted and not pregnant.

That got her attention. She ordered an EKG immediately, diagnosed atrial fibrillation, told me to go to the hospital. My two hospital stays each were their own version of hell. For reasons beyond my comprehension, most hospitals in the Bay Area treat type one diabetics the same as they treat type two diabetics while in the hospital. I got no insulin on the first visit, even checking myself out around 10 p.m. when some doc who had never even spoken to me, decided I didn't need my nighttime baseline insulin -- which gives me a baseline of not-enough-insulin delivered in some kind of miraculous delayed dosing. Without that baseline, I feel sick and I already felt very sick from the bum ticker.

So I checked out against medical advice. But it didn't take long for me to realize my heart needed treatment. Once I became aware I had heart problems, my longstanding and expanding fatigue and breathlessness made sense.

So I went back, to another hospital, and was treated by an incompetent hospitalist who not only denied me insulin for five days (and I lost over 20 pounds in those five days cause without insulin my body cannot metabolize any food) and the bitch even write in my discharge papers that I should stop using insulin. say what?

Sure I am aging but exercise has been one of my strengths. I have been a lap swimmer nearly all my life. But I became so sick, with no diagnosis, that I couldn't get to the pool. I just couldn't get there.

Even after I got my doc's attention for my heart, and now that I have a cardiologist tending to my heart issues, so my heart is stabilizing, my left knee has become increasingly debilitating.

My doc said she'd prescribe a mobility scooter but it would take at least a year to get it approved.

I was watching myself growing increasingly isolated, doing almost nothing that requires me to walk (everything does!  sometimes just going to the elevator, riding down and getting to front door of my building wipes my knee and stamina out).  I am 63 (almost 64 and no one still needs me, not now and not at 64, no one will love me once I turn 64) and if I continue to be so isolated, I will get needlessly more sick.

I feel much sadness and pain thinking about my, for me, painful isolation. And when I walk around, limping, wincing in pain most of the time and resting everywhere (I took a bus two blocks on Saturday because I just couldn't walk those two blocks!), I decided "fuck it, I'm going to blow my leftover May income and a chunk of June, eat frugally and buy me a cheapo mobility scooter.

I had hoped to discuss it one last time with my doc at today's appointment but she called in sick. I can't criticize her for that although the head nurse of her clinic chastised me for not phoning in prescription refills two weeks ago. PUHleaze. I have never had this clinic respond to me when I ask for refills. I only get refills when I see my doc and she sends them through on the computer in the exam room. I had been responsible, waited until my appointment to see my doc. The head nurse refused to give me anything, not even some insulin to float me so I am flying insulin-free for now.

I vacillate between a sense of despair and a muted excitement. The scooter won't change my isolation, my social isolation, but now I can get uphill to my pool! I can go to art museums which I usually do very often but have been unable to walk. And it's not just walking. I can't stand.

I have been using a cane. Canes are a bit like magic wands. Quite a lot of people spot them and let me go to the front of lines, offer me help, show me kindness. And I appreciate such kindness but I am still in a hella lot of pain.

Anyway. Scooter is coming.  I feel sad that I need one. Glad that I managed to buy the cheapo low end one that I ordered. And I am doing my best to fight back depression.

My depression is always about losing my daughter. A friend just went to a retreat that she had not realized was about grieving the death of a loved one, which did not apply to her. There were some folks at the retreat grieving the loss of their children through the child's choice to disown them. The retreat leader, a very well known Jungian, said losing one's child by the childs rejection is kinda worse than a child's death. Where are the support groups for my heartbreak?

flowers make glee

flowers make glee
among the hills
and set the meadows dancing

all the world with beauty fills
all the world with beauty fills

tears are streaming down my cheek
One of my life's happy perfect moments
was being taught this song
as I worked alongside my daughter
the first spring in our house
she learning some gardening at school
and the two of house singing
joyfully and, it sure seemed to me,
happy and loving together

what happened, Katie Kreifels

the capacity to love

Saturday, June 03, 2017

you have been mine before

I have been here before,
But when or how I cannot tell:
I know the grass beyond the door,
The sweet keen smell,
The sighing sound, the lights around the shore.
You have been mine before,—
How long ago I may not know:
But just when at that swallow's soar
Your neck turn'd so,
Some veil did fall,—I knew it all of yore.
Has this been thus before?
And shall not thus time's eddying flight
Still with our lives our love restore
In death's despite,
And day and night yield one delight once more?
Dante Gabriel Rossetti

individual prosperity only possible when in common with all

Individual prosperity is fundamentally only possible in common with that of all the rest

Today many think nothing of enriching themselves at the expense of others. Not only do they live thus without any moral self-criticism, they simply do not think about it at all. Were they to reflect upon it, they would find that a man lives far more at the cost of others than they had ever realised. Indeed every man lives at the expense of others.
Now the consciousness will develop that a life lived at the expense of others, signifies the same to the community as when any particular organ develops at the expense of another organ, in an unlawful way, and that the happiness of the individual is not really possible apart from that of the community.
That, of course, people do not yet divine, but it must gradually become the fundamental principle of true human ethics. People strive to-day, each one for his own prosperity, not thinking that individual prosperity is fundamentally only possible in common with that of all the rest.
Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 181 – Earthly Death and Cosmic Life: Lecture 6: Feelings of Unity and Sentiments of Gratitude: A Bridge to the Dead – Berlin, 19th March 1918
Translated by Harry Collison

don't go back to sleep

The poem is called “A Great Wagon”by Rumi
“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase “each other”
doesn’t make any sense.
The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don’t go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.
Don’t go back to sleep.”

Friday, June 02, 2017

my cardiologist said

He sent me a message, after my latest echogram, stating that my meds seem to be working.  I do feel better. I do not feel well. Movement is hard and painful. I can struggle to catch my breath after walking across a room. And when I do force myself out of my home, a few blocks walking fatigues me so much that I usually cut whatever I tried to do short and come home and nap, soundly, for hours. Then sleep long hours overnight, also. 

Always tired. Growing dangerously isolated.

So I bought an electric mobility scooter. I struggle so much to go to my swimming pool, which is a few blocks, uphill, walk. The walk wipes me out. Once I am in the pool, I see I have work to do to rebuild my endurance. With the mobility scooter, I am sure I will.

I am tired all the time. In pain all the time. And I am doing well, according to one doc.

Another doc told me I could not swim for two weeks. This was a month ago, before I went to Canada. I lamented "But I need to exercise because of my heart failure" to which she responded "So walk." When I said walking was very painful and walking is no longer a viable exercise for me, she was dismissive.

My primary doc said she'd start the process to get me a paid-for mobility scooter but that process would take a year or more.  Not exercising for more than a year was not the right way for me to go.

Swimming. Zipping up to the pool, swimming and zipping home.

I will be back up to a mile daily within a month. I so love swimming outdoors. Here, I swim outdoors year round. Even on rainy and/or very cold days, I love swimming. In fact, I quite like cold, blustery rainy days for swimming. It leaves the pool almost empty. Once in the water, it feels the same as usual. And rain? Wet is wet.

it wasn't even boredom: margaret atwood

wasn’t even boredom, it was looking,
looking hard and up close at the small
details. Myopia. The worn gunwales,
the intricate twill of the seat
cover. The acid crumbs of loam, the granular
pink rock, its igneous veins, the sea-fans
of dry moss, the blackish and then the graying
bristles on the back of his neck.
Sometimes he would whistle, sometimes
I would. The boring rhythm of doing
things over and over, carrying
the wood, drying
the dishes. Such minutiae

Margaret Atwood, Published in The Atlantic,Dec. 1994

Thursday, June 01, 2017

I love lap swimming

After two hospitalizations this past winter for heart failure and other heart issues (!), I have struggle to get back to daily lap swims.  First, I have to get to the pool which is about a three block, uphill, walk from my building. I can handle the swimming, although I need to build back up to a mile a day. I can do that. I just add a few laps daily until, bingo, I can feel like I can do laps forever.

Even my beloved lap swimming is harder. I get out of breath easily due to my heart failure. And my left knee feels like sharp knives have replaced my bones. The Edwina Scissorhands of knees?  Walking is very painful. Walking is deeply fatiguing so by the time I get there, I am already wiped out of energy.

So. I am going to get an electric mobility scooter. I will scoot up to the pool, have more energy for the good exercise.

My left knee is getting worse. I just went swimming and I took the bus home (yeah, I took the bus three blocks!) and I could barely limp from bus stop to my building.

I've always had painful knees. So did my grandma Crowley.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

everyone does not love HIllary

On Monday, waiting in several long and slow moving lines to get into an art show, a male couple and a woman (who turned out to have just met them in line) were clucking about how wrongly Hillary has been treated. One of the men said, right in my face "Everyone loves HIllary, I just don't know what happened." I flashed on how she cheated Bernie, took Clinton Foundation money from other countries while Sec of State while promising not to, her war in Libya, fomenting a coup in Honduras (is that right country?) but what I said, for I had to let that man know that not everyone 'loves' Hillary "I haven't liked her since she was first lady. I thought she was smug then and I think she's more smug now, like she has always thought being little, cute, smart and female guaranteed her the White House." I wanted to point out her abysmal health care initiative as First Lady, or how she got fired from the Watergate investigation committee or from the Children's Fund that she loves to brag about having worked for but that was all I said. The woman shrieked at me, telling me I was crazy. To calm her a bit, I told her that altho I could not vote for a warmonger like Hill, I would have if Hillary had any possibility of not taking CA big time (she won CA by almost 3 million), so I voted for Jill Stein. I even said "I knew Stein had no chance in hell and I didn't think she was particularly qualified to be prez but I couldn't vote for Trump. And the DNC pissed me off." By then, I could see the woman had written me off. The men remained open and cordial but I stopped talking to all of them.

Oh, there was more. I also disclosed that I had voted 2X for Obama but he had disappointed me greatly. And how, I queried to no one in particular,  did he get rich before he became president. That really set the woman off. "The Obamas are not rich, the Obamas are not rich!"  I said "I am from the South Side of Chicago, I know quite a lot about his pre-presidential career and he was rich when he first ran." They worked for it, the shrieker shrieked. Then she launched into defending Barry getting almost half a million for one talk to Wall Street. I said, smugly I guess, "well, he prioritized serving Wall STreet, he is a corporatist, and now he's getting paid for selling the reset of us out." The woman was gasping in her indignation so I said "I voted for him but some early politician in this country said any one who goes into politics and becomes a multimillionaire is not serving the people, they are serving donors. She clucked more. Which is about when I disengaged.

Later, strolling in the art show, I saw the two men. They didn't know her.

They changed the subject.

I hardly know anyone that adores HIllary like those art lovers seemed to.

great analysis of Arendt on totalitarianism

Sunday, May 28, 2017

disabled humans

Since reading that Trump and the Repugnants in Congress hope to eliminate disability income for the disabled, I have been thinking about what a society can, and should, do for the disabled.

I have recalled the year I lived in Colombia. In Colombia, if a child was born with no legs, they were lucky if they were rigged up with a board with wheels screwed on so they could drag themselves around to beg for food. Adults also had no wheelchairs, none I ever saw, just boards with wheels that disabled humans would drag themselves around on by their hands so they could go out begging.

Where did such people sleep? Eat? Obtain clothing? Regular clothing would not have fit many of them. I was told, again and again, that there were no public program for disabled poor people, that they had to fend for themselves.

I guess that is what Trump, Paul Ryan and the other evildoers would have the disabled do here.

And all the old people in nursing homes, with 60% of them in nursing homes paid for by the Medicaid ManBAby would eliminate, what will society do with them, throw them in ditches, build gas chambers to efficiently rid society of the deemed-useless.

I was greatly appalled by the heartlessness towards the disabled in Colombia. I hope things don't get like that here.