Monday, December 30, 2013

Real World, Real People, Real Problems

I don't remember how it actually happened since it was months ago, but I believe I had posted on Twitter something to the effect that my youngest brother lived in Monroe, Louisiana. I then was asked if I had ever watched Duck Dynasty by someone who lives in that area and knows the Robertson family. I had and hadn't been impressed. She convinced me I needed to give the program a second chance and I discovered these people were silly and likable. So, we watched the program on a marathon day and laughed our fool heads off.

For a couple of months we watched it at every opportunity and then I started noticing how Duck Dynasty was taking over society. At first it was a sign outside the Walgreen's drugstore I pass everyday. Sign was advertising a sale on Duck Dynasty posters and T-shirts. That lasted maybe 2 weekends and then Walmart took over. Suddenly there was Duck Dynasty everything all over the store, even in the bakery section. There were Duck Dynasty sugar cookies being purchased by guys with long hair and long beards wearing camo clothing and Duck Dynasty T-shirts. I had a *stop the Duck Dynasty world I want to get off* moment and haven't watched the program since.

I wasn't the least bit surprised at the GQ interview, nor at the reversal of Phil Robertson's A&E suspension. The program gives new meaning to the words *cash cow*. And the idolatry of the Robertson Family by their fans is unheard of in my lifetime.

The most popular TV shows in my lifetime were programs like "I Love Lucy" and M*A*S*H. None of us went around dressed in scrubs carrying IV bottles filled with booze as they did on M*A*S*H, but the swag generated by the Robertson family is in just about every household here in central NY. The entire concept of this brand of idolatry makes me uncomfortable, but it seems to be what's normal these days. I'd prefer it otherwise since, in my opinion, it borders on crazy.

It appears to me that we no longer just like things like celebrities, TV shows, politicians and some bloggers, we love them, we worship them. If they've done something to disappoint, there is a rush to defense that totally discounts the damage that person does. We do this in the name of our Constitutional right to "freedom of speech" which we don't truly understand or in the name of Jesus. And that puzzles me beyond measure since the message of Jesus was one of love and redemption, not hate and condemnation. I believe that and even I don't get it right all the time.

I know from personal experience that hate and condemnation is easy, it's the love and redemption part that's hard. It takes a lot of work and self awareness to achieve. We talk a good game but when the chips are down the masks slip and the Phil Robertson moments come out. Sometimes the outrage displayed is far more than the situation has earned and we give up and let the outrage win. Dialogue not poisoned by outrage would be a better way to handle it, but that's a personal opinion and not the popular way to do things. I'm going to take the unpopular path and let the Almighty sort things out in the end. I've got other things to work on.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Morning

It's quiet here for awhile. Hubby was called out on an emergency and I am enjoying the alone time. We'll be going to Oldest's for Christmas Dinner and then on to Youngest's for the last of the gift giving. Sometimes it's actually more tiring to travel to family on the holidays even when the mess is left for others to clean.

My aunt and uncle hosted the Family Christmas Eve as they always do. It was a joy to see them since they have new babies in the family. Allison and Emily are growing fast, and they have a new baby brother Liam. Sarah has also had a baby boy. Mason is a little older than Liam, and seems not to like other babies. Mason's sister Riley is 4 now and quite sure that Santa's only job is to bring her gifts once a year. She'd order him more often if she thought it would work. Got the biggest kick out of her walking around to each of us to wave goodbye because she was leaving now so Santa could come. Grandpa Raymond kept asking her where she was going and then broke her heart by telling her she had to wait for the rest of them. The tears didn't last long since there were exciting gifts to open.

Cousin Sean had a heart attack shortly before Thanksgiving. He's a jogger and since there were no warning signs of a blockage, they believe the jogging shook loose the plaque that builds in all our veins and arteries and it created a blockage. He's out of work for awhile and has to pinch his pennies so he asked his Mom to call me and tell me not to buy them anything for Christmas. I made jars of Brown Sugar scrub to give because I don't have that much money either.

Each jar had a label listing the ingredients: Brown Sugar, Almond Oil, Jojoba Oil and Love. I also added a Shut Up Sean, it's Christmas to the card included with the gift. He doesn't understand that for me the joy, the spirit of the season is in my giving, not receiving.

The only unpleasantness happened when my aunt gave her granddaughter one of those Exploderz battle weapon sets. It's a plastic launcher of squishy slime type pellets. The child appears to be a budding gun nut but she may grow out of it by the time she's old enough to discover boys. My aunt gave her the message that if she aimed her guns at any living thing, animals, birds or humans she'd take them back. I thought that was a good warning until she added that Emily could aim at the Amish.

My first reaction was to crank the outrage and demand to know how she could say something like that. My second reaction was to ask Hubby if he was ready to leave. I decided that neither was worth it in the long run, took a deep breath and started a conversation with my other uncle.

I don't know what her issue is with the Amish, I find them to be delightful people even if I don't agree with some of their beliefs or ways of doing things. I agree it would be nice if they'd clean up after their horses when they travel on the roads. It does get messy, but eventually everything will wash away in the rain we have here. Eventually everything will be the way it's supposed to be which isn't necessarily how we want it to be. In the meantime, I'll just breathe and enjoy Christmas. Merry Christmas Everyone!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Dispatches From Bluesville? I Don't Think So

When Blogstream closed a few of us came to Blogger to continue with our habit. One of them, a gentleman named Wayfairer started a blog named Intratequaredeum. He was engaged in a spiritual journey as a Taoist who discovered he believed, after all, in God. Wayf was a fine poet, had a penchant for Reeses Peanut Butter Cups and no matter the situation was kindness personified.

He was absent for a time, came back briefly, changed his blog title To "Dispatches From Bluesville". I'm assuming to share his love of blues music although it never happened. His blog has been abandoned now for almost 2 years until today. Whoever is now posting on it, doesn't appear to be Wayf. Unless he's changed his name to firhza dian and has a developed interest in hard core porn.

The blog posts, complete with some pictures has shown up on my dashboard with entries happening about every hour or so. I've searched as much as I can to find a way to unfollow the blog and there doesn't appear to be one. I'm not a prude, but to have my entire reading list occupied by pornography every time I check in is more than I care to deal with.

I thought that if I could get to the widget with the follower icons listed in it, I could unfollow it that way. Apparently the blog squatter planned ahead for that and only shows his Google+ followers in his widget. Also, he adjusted the html to take the "flag this blog" option off.

I admit I am assuming it's not Paul (Wayf) on the blog now. I suppose it could be, people aren't always exactly who we think they are online, but this is too far a stretch in personality change for me to accept. I don't know what to do about getting this stuff off my Dashboard, if anyone has any ideas, please feel free to share.

Update! Going to Manage Reading List and logging into Google friend connect gave me a setting that included a "stop following this blog" feature. I used it and it's GONE! I keep forgetting everything works through Google here. Not always for the better either!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Takes All Kinds To Make A World

The first of my many, many Christmas gifts was given to me last week in the form of a new client. If you saw her on the street you wouldn't think there was a thing wrong with her. First impressions can sometimes be deceiving.

She's 67, stands close to 5'8" and weighs around 200 pounds. She obviously suffers from arthritis, and she actually does have a valve in her heart that doesn't quite close, but to hear her tell it, she's about to die any minute. On the whole she's actually fairly healthy and we couldn't figure out why she was given 6 hours a week coverage when others can only get 2 or 4. After spending 8 hours with her, doing my thing, I can tell that I'm there to observe her state of mind.

She has a son, I think. At least his name is on her paperwork as emergency contact, however, there appears to be zero contact between them. Some of the things she tells me about his wife might be the reason why. At least she blames his wife, when she's not telling me he's on the verge of divorce due to the many flaws he's discovered his wife has. I've no idea how she knows that since she hasn't heard from him since shortly after he got married. I'm checking the box on that one titled "wishful thinking".

She has no friends because they become somewhat irritated with her prevarications. To cover the loss, she claims they're cousins and no family ever gets along 100% of the time. Unfortunately I happen to know some of her "cousins" and they aren't any relationship to her at all. Nor are they willing to have anything to do with her ever again.

She's done everything in the world there is to do, been everywhere. She's a retired nurse, medical transcriptionist, bank manager and district manager for the convenience stores she actually was a cashier in. She used to have a band, she rode motorcycles, worked construction, and was a mafia hit woman. She's a miracle woman since she's had knee, hip and open heart surgery and no surgery left a scar on her.

In the past week I've heard so many ludicrous stories from her that are so obviously lies that I've found myself wondering if she's delusional. The stories are so constant that if she tells me it's snowing outside, I look because I don't trust a single word she says.

All I know is I'm keeping my head down and spending time biting my tongue because the extra money every week will come in handy. I'm just hoping that I'll be able to continue to act as if I believe everything she says. It's a tough job, but I'm a tough woman. If anyone can do it, I can.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Ghosts Of Christmas Past

I took a long walk down memory lane last night. It started with my total satisfaction with my decision to use lots of multicolored lights on my little tree. One of those whims that come out of nowhere that seem silly but work well. My small tree is pre-lit with clear lights and it's nice, but lacked something for me this year. It took me awhile to find the string of lights I wanted and I simply wrapped it around and around the tree until I was happy. Pine cones, red berries, snowmen and all those multicolored lights. I'm sure a decorator would tell me I have too many lights for the size of the tree, and I would smile and makes me happy.

I was remembering Christmases of my childhood. All those big heat producing lights that made the bubbles run up to the tips, and the regular lights that you added metal stars to in order to reflect the colors. Grannie had these coach lantern shaped ornaments with little spinners in them and when set with a bulb under them the heat would make the little spinner whirl like crazy.

The ornaments were glass and much more interesting than the ornaments of today. They had shape, color and texture not found in the bags of ornaments one buys today. We always stored them in the boxes they came in and would pray we did a good enough job of storing them so they wouldn't break. It took many of those ornaments to decorate the big trees we used to have in our homes each Christmas.

Dad was a bit anal about how our tree was decorated. My job was to separate the strands of tinsel that had managed to ball up in the old shoebox it was stored in and put it on the tree one strand at a time. Back then tinsel for Christmas trees was made out of a very thin aluminum. A bit like cheap aluminum foil that rips every time you touch it. By the time the tree was up and fully decorated my small hands would be sore from the friction of tree branches on them. Dad insisted each branch of the tree be tinsel adorned beginning at a point closer to the trunk and brought forward strand by single strand. Mom would get mad at him and when he wasn't looking she'd grab what was left and toss it in a ball onto the back part of the tree where he couldn't see it. Then there was always hot chocolate with marshmallow fluff. Real cocoa made from Hersheys with milk and sugar cooked in a pan on the stove.

There was always snow on the ground and in the evenings the week before Christmas, Dad would drive us around the city to the neighborhoods where people decorated their homes with Christmas lights. Mom and Grandma were active in the American Legion auxiliary and we would go caroling at all the nursing homes and at the county hospital on the Sunday before Christmas. We baked cookies, made popcorn balls and drank numerous cups of hot chocolate with marshmallow fluff.

As a child, none of the work involved in Christmas was apparent. As an adult, much of that work and worry tended to take the joy out of the season. At least it did for me these past few years. For some reason, this year I have joy. This year the pine boughs outside my windows are decked with snow, there are multi- colored lights on my tree. I have a smile on my face and a cup of hot chocolate within my grasp. I did skip the marshmallow fluff since I didn't really like it anyways. This year it really is Christmas, it makes me happy.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

When You Live With Your Head Up Your Ass, You're In The Dark.

Almost every Tea Party Conservative that I know has backed away from the ideal due to the damage their elected representatives have caused in Congress. I should say the intelligent ones have. Which makes me wonder about my own family. While I can get my step-mother to see my point on occasion, she always returns to her original ways as soon as I'm out of sight. I'd say out of mind, but that would indicate she has one.

Latest of my family to enter the political opinion arena is an aunt. I've always given her credit for her liberality, however, it appears that as we age we really do become our Mothers. Her Mom was a Tea Party Conservative before there was a Tea Party. Totally, without any warning at all, I found myself listening to her "opinion" that all people who don't work are on Welfare and we need to drug test them before we pay them. *sigh*

By all means let's totally ignore the FACT that we still have 10% unemployment where I live. While we're at it let's ignore that we have a welfare to work program that only allows people to be on Welfare for 5 years. I admit that mathematics wasn't my strong suit but it does seem to me that 5 years isn't a lifetime. Which makes me wonder where we get the idea that Welfare is a lifetime income.

Around here the "opinionated" call them Wellies. They are, for the most part, on SSI rather than state welfare. Some of them are bi-polar, some have other mental health issues. Some are learning disabled. Quite a few of them can't read. None of them have high school diplomas or skill sets that make them employable as anything other than janitors and even they need to read and write.

My aunt, in her infinite wisdom now that she has become her mother, has decided that these wellies need to be drug tested and if they pass we need to hand them brooms and force them to sweep streets for their checks. These people get checks, food stamps, health insurance and rent subsidies all of which bring them UP to poverty level. I don't believe any of the ones I know asked to be bi-polar or learning disabled so that they could spend their entire lives living in poverty. Nor should they be treated as anything less than the human beings they are. Last time any group of people were "forced" to labor I believe we called them slaves?

Her sister lives in Florida, where they do that. Her sister is so fixated on it being the right thing to do that she apparently has ignored the FACT that drug testing is costing Florida taxpayers more, since they aren't finding the volume of druggies they thought they would, than it would have to pay these people the benefits they're asking for. Of course, creating jobs that actually pay people to work seems not to be on any agenda that I've heard of. Jobs, which pay people enough to support themselves on would reduce the need for welfare programs now wouldn't it?

Since I have stopped watching cable news and have limited my online time to a few minutes a session, I'm avoiding the hyperbole we seem to think is news. I read what the Pope has said about trickle down economics. He's right. It effects our ability to make a living and contributes to the climate of fear that allows people to hate those who are worse off than we are simply because they buy the things every one else does. "On Welfare and you have a cell phone? Oh no, my taxes are much too high, you're a pig or scumbag" say the Tea Party

Which brings me to another thought that Walmart and other big box stores should be paying attention to. At some point if people aren't making enough money to support themselves, they won't be buying much no matter how cheap you make your price. Since Walmart keeps cutting it's employees hours to hire more people, it's own income has been slipping. Food stamps, which your employees need due to your cutting hours back to 18-20 when the whim hits you, means they have enough for rent, utilities, telephone, food and nothing left for toys, games, clothes, etc. Nothing like trickling down on your own employee/customers ability to have enough money to shop with is there?

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Black Friday, The New Family Value

For the past week or more, I've been listening to the complaint that the holidays are no longer enjoyable due to how commercial the stores are making it. I've listened to so much whining about stores opening on Thanksgiving that I'm almost more annoyed at the whiners than I am at the fact that both my DIL and granddaughter will be working on Thanksgiving. They are working because people feel the need to shop for all the deals on Black Friday. How else can you give your kids or your spouse more than you can afford to give at Christmas? After all, aren't computers, TVs, Ipads, X-box cell phones and other electronic toys all your kids need in life?

These stores could offer the same deals during regular hours. This wouldn't stop the habit of having some employees working in the stores while they're closed because all these stores must have crews to re-price the items going on sale. Yeah, those 15-20-30% off items you're standing in the cold waiting to buy? They were cheaper before the sale.

Back when Walmart used to open at Midnight on Black Friday there were crews in each of the stores on Thanksgiving raising the prices of the big ticket sale items. Then they'd lower them to the sale price. And then you would pay a price slightly lower than the regular price rather than 30% lower. It's how retail operates. With stores now opening at 6, both my granddaughter and my daughter-in-law will now be working Thanksgiving Day beginning at noon to start pricing changes for the big sale in their regular departments.

It isn't the stores that drive the commercialism of our holidays, it's the people that shop there. It's the people that choose to buy things rather than share themselves with others. It's commercial because a large segment of society wants to have something for nothing. And they aren't really getting anything that much cheaper than they would have paid during any other sale.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

My Cat's Feet Stink And Other Observations

I was going to fire up the scented wax melting pot I received from my cousin and his wife last year for Christmas. I have some cinnamon/spice scented wax cubes and I thought this time of year they'd smell nice. I washed the wax container of the pot out this morning before leaving for work and I got out the little plastic box of wax cubes. Those were sitting on the end table I planned to set the pot up on when I got home.

Demon Kitteh had other ideas. I guess he got bored and was playing with the box. Somehow it opened and he had all these cute little scented cubes to play with. Apparently cats have a warm enough body heat to partially melt the cubes. He had scented wax between his toes and all over the floor. Fortunately he didn't ingest enough to make him sick and it did wash out fairly easily once I figured out how to keep him still and he stopped scratching me. Needless to say, the aroma of scented wax will have to wait until I replenish my cube supply. Maybe tomorrow.

While wandering around the great wasteland called WalMart this past Sunday, I encountered slippers that look exactly like the pair in this image. Behold Si Robertson Character Slippers. Now, I can laugh at the redneck antics of the "Duck Dynasty" boys as well as anyone else can. I am, however, getting a little overwhelmed at the amount of Duck Dynasty "swag" WalMart seems to think we need in our lives.

You can't walk down the street or through any parking lot in the city here without encountering some wannabe with long pony tailed hair and a scruffy long beard. All wearing Duck Dynasty T-shirts, jackets and headbands. In WalMart you can even buy dolls, posters, calendars and (gulp) character slippers. There really, really ought to be a law, or at least some intelligence here? Less is more guys, you really, really don't need truck balls hanging from your hitch. Although when I feel like kicking something in the nuts, they might have a use.

And this observation is the root of what's wrong in our world.  The quote "A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is still putting on it's shoes" is attributed to Mark Twain. I don't know who actually said it but that seems to be what happens every time a lie gets told. Even once the lie is proven as such people still continue to believe it. They see that it is spread until I almost think we're brainwashed into believing the first thing we hear rather than anything we hear after that.  Basic common sense and critical thinking have become extinct like the dodo bird. It's the one thing I truly dislike about the internet, it makes it possible to see to it that lies are spread with the speed of light. I keep feeling the need to scream "stop and THINK!" Doing that would be tantamount to pissing in the wind and you know what happens then. 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Not Going To Sweat The Petty Stuff When It's All Petty Stuff

I've been up since 5 am and I don't know why. Well, yes I do, really. The cats woke me and I couldn't get back to sleep. I was lying there listening to the rain on the roof and something that normally soothes me back to sleep kept me awake and wanting coffee. The longer I laid there trying to return to slumber, the stronger the desire for coffee became so I got out of bed.

I didn't want to wake Hubby so I poured myself a cup and turned on the laptop, checked my email, answered a comment on my last post and began to mindlessly play solitaire. I do my best thinking while mindlessly doing something else.

I didn't go to work on Thursday because I'd picked up a stomach bug. Once the bulk of the action had settled down I logged into Twitter and found 2 fake tweets presented as if they were from me repeating tweets that originated from someone else plus added comments supposedly written by me. They were attack tweets designed to embarrass another twitter user.

Like any social media platform these days there's always drama. Since my early days online I've learned a thing or two and have managed to stay out of that sort of thing. In Twitter it's easier because you don't have to see those tweets if you don't follow the people involved. To the best of my knowledge I don't follow anyone involved on either side so I have no idea who has the right of it and I like it that way. However, there they were in my mentions, using quotation marks to falsify my involvement. Posted by someone I've never heard of because I don't follow them.

I objected to being dragged in, blocked the originator of the fake tweets and went on my merry way. I received a couple of tweets from the person they were designed to attack asking me to report the tweets which I did only because they were fake and used my name. I didn't write them so of course I'm going to report them as fake. I also posted a public tweet explaining they were fake. End of it right? WRONG!

The person being attacked is a retired journalist who has written a couple of books. She uses her own name on her Twitter account. She's very easily found online by Googling her name. She isn't someone I follow so I can't say whether or not she's a nice person. I do know that since she does use a real identity there, she's got skin in the game so to speak. Her reputation could be harmed by all this. On the other hand, almost all of the attackers don't use their real name although they've been exposed during this months long drama.

I don't know who's at fault. I don't care who's at fault. Twitter rules suggest that when dealing with this kind of thing you block the person and ignore them. Which is a lot harder than you'd think since most of the people involved will create new accounts and come after you again. Since being dragged into this mess I do now have some insight as to why. In my case I don't understand why I was included, nor do I understand why I'm not being listened to about being dragged into this mess unwillingly. My frustration at not understanding has made me want to argue with those who are doing this. I can argue until I'm blue in the face and it isn't going to matter one iota to them.

I'm a hypocrite since I only report matters that deal with me directly. I have spent days frustrated with that because others choose to bother me further with their nonsense and seem to feel that by not reporting things I don't understand, I'm condoning the behavior of their victim.

This morning while mindlessly playing solitaire, I realized they're victimizing themselves by their own behavior. They can feel free to do so without my help. I'm just going to continue to block those who try to involve me further and report anything that is attributed to me that I didn't say. Life's too short and I have better things to attend to.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Sometimes Getting Old Gets Ugly

The hardest part of my job, for me anyways, is dealing with the clients who think I'm a paid housekeeper to order around at their whim. That's not what my job is all about. It does include housekeeping tasks, however the main issues I am there to attend to are personal care, ambulation, nutrition, safety and if there's time left, housekeeping. I'm there for two hours and personal care and meal preparation, depending on how much assistance is needed, can take more than half that time. Laundry is another time suck since most of the clients live in apartments and laundry rooms are usually on a different floor.

I have a client in her 90s who wants housekeeping only. Her care plan, provided by the Office of the Aging who pays for half of her care is very clearly marked as needing a certified Level 2 PERSONAL care aide. Housekeeping cases are marked Level 1. I don't do housekeeping cases because I'm a level 2. All my cases are personal care level 2 clients who understand that if they ask me to do an additional task it means something else doesn't get done. I am limited to time. I don't get paid for extra time at a clients.

Cleaning the kitchen for a Level 2 client means wiping counter tops, spills off the front of cabinets. Removal of science projects from the fridge, disposing of said projects, washing the containers, wiping down the shelves and the door and door handles. Stove tops are wiped down, cannisters are wiped down and floors are swept and mopped. It does not include emptying the cannisters, washing them, drying them, refilling them. It does not include cleaning the oven, pulling out the burners on electric stoves, pulling up the catch pans and using a hammer and chisel to remove years of accumulated spills. It does not include defrosting of the refrigerator either.

We vacuum traffic areas only. We do not move furniture nor do we spend time pulling cushions off furniture to vacuum under them. We don't wash walls, although if provided with something effective we will swipe around ceiling edges and corners to remove spider webs. We don't stand on step stools to do this.

I can't dust in that house without knocking things off the shelves and table tops. In a case where so much is on these pieces of furniture, client is supposed to remove these things. She said it didn't matter, there was nothing important so I took the feather duster and tried it. I knocked things down that suddenly became antiques. Fortunately nothing broke.

I did the cannisters for her. I vacuumed the furniture for her. These things took time so I didn't get the shelves in the bathroom cleaned out nor did I do the bathtub since there was an issue with the faucets. Water was leaking so steadily from the back of the spigot I was afraid to turn the water on in order to rinse the tub down. Had it broken off we might have had a serious issue. I also didn't dust that week

I arrived yesterday to hear how sick of cleaning her house after I clean her house she is. Apparently her bathroom sink and toilet got really dirty the day before I was to arrive and she was expecting company. The tub issue was being worked on by maintenance and he wasn't too careful where the dirt went, but this was all my fault. The faucet handle in the tub is absolutely black. In her world, this did not occur because the maintenance person made a mess, it occurred because I didn't clean it a week ago.

We have a tremendous turn over in help and I've begun to wonder if maybe that isn't occurring because of the way these clients treat the girls sometimes. If you talk to the coordinator or the supervisor they do nothing except to tell us we don't do something, but we can tell the client they can call the office with any questions. In other words we are on our own but can't be rude to the client.

Life isn't always fair, I don't expect it to be but I am damned sure I won't stand still for being treated disrespectfully no matter how much older than me a person is. I like my job and most of the time I not only like my clients, I care about their well being. I do have to say, this woman is making it very, very hard. I'm beginning to run out of excuses to make for her behavior and I'd really hate to go through life thinking she's a bitch.

Monday, November 4, 2013

I'm Not 10 Foot Tall And Bulletproof Any More

The joy of trying to meet my nutritional needs and the totally opposite needs of my husband have defeated me. I require high fiber, complex carbohydrates, he requires low fiber, low residue carbs. Since I work and have other responsibilities I'm usually too tired at the end of the day to cook meals for both of us and I tend to eat what he's eating. Also, it takes more money than I can muster to buy what we both need. I try, but I'm doing it in a way that forces me sometimes to make a choice between what I need to eat and what I need to take for medications.

If I buy every one of the nutritional supplements plus my blood pressure medications I don't have enough for all the high fiber products like quinoa that I really need. I tend to stretch the supplements by not taking them as often as I should. I know better than to skip the beta blocker or the Lisinopril that I need to control hypertension. I don't take, as often as I should, the supplement that acts like a diuretic nor the one designed to keep the arteries and veins flexible.

The weight loss has come to a standstill because I'm not eating the higher fiber, and my smaller size clothing has become snug because I'm not taking the diuretic supplement. I know it's water gain since my right foot and ankle blew up last night. Potato chips. I'm thinking it's the potato chips and the failure to take the diuretic for a week.

Since August of 2012 when Hubby wound up in the hospital I haven't been taking very good care of me. I've been buying only the veggies he can eat, and eating applesauce along with him instead of the apples. I stopped buying quinoa since it's $6 for a small amount at the health food store. I've been eating white potatoes, white bread and pasta instead of the whole grains and brown rice. This has to stop. I'm not sure I know how. I'm also pretty sure I need to learn how.

Fortunately I have enough of the diuretic supplement to tide me over for awhile. Picked up the large bottle at the doctor's office last week. I took a dose last night when I found my foot and ankle swollen up like that and another one this morning after breakfast. The first dose took more than half the swelling down.  It's supposed to be taken twice a day. I think if I get my food intake where it needs to be, once a day will be enough, but for right now, I'll do the twice a day the way the doctor ordered.

I'm on a 4 day work week. I may need to switch grocery shopping day to Saturday instead of Monday. That will give me Sunday and Monday to prep what I need to eat and store it in single portion size with my vacuum sealer. Then all I'll have to do is take out of the freezer what I need to add to whatever I'm making for Hubby's supper.

Today I'll crunch the numbers and see if I can't find enough to stop at the health food store. If Brenda is there, I'm sure she can help me with some ideas. If I could pick up 4 more hours at work, I'd be pretty well set and could shop there every week for what I need. We'll see how things go.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Ever Heard The Phrase Too Little Too Late?

Sequester cuts began on March 1 of 2013. In my county effects are all ready being felt. Some Head Start facilities have closed their doors due to lack of funding and Meals on Wheels have ended for many of the elderly who are homebound. The HUD subsidies for 2 of my clients who have them haven't been paid for 2 months. So far the owners of that building have accepted just the part the senior pays, but I don't believe that will continue much longer. Taxes will be due, maintenance staff must be paid, and utilities to operate hallway lights, heat, elevators and entry door automatic locks must be paid.

HUD has tightened it's qualifications for Section 8 and it recertified those who receive it, but no one has been notified that they will still be receiving it. Seniors who receive section 8 in this particular building my be forced to move to Housing Authority buildings which, at the moment are infested with bed bugs. HUD Rental Assistance program was designed to help Seniors and other low income families from being forced to live in vermin infested apartments, however, apparently some in Congress prefer their corporate friends not have to pay taxes to support this idea.

Without Meals On Wheels my clients are forced to rely heavily on the SNAP program which will lose a portion of their funding on Friday, November 1. Right now, MOWs are serving only the seriously disabled and those who can afford to pay $7.75 per meal. Once the SNAP funding is cut on Friday, I'm not sure what will happen. I don't think the local Rescue Mission can handle the increased demand for food from people who can't get out to their place to be fed. One local church is starting a food kitchen, it's a very small church with a small congregation and they can afford to operate only 2 days a week. The good thing is they will deliver.

The local Salvation Army has a new Major in charge. He seems to understand that people need help, unlike the last one who ended many of the community support programs for the poor. He has reinstated the after school program for kids and it does include a meal.

School impact programs have lost funding since March 1 of this year. Without kids in school I've no idea what affect it actually had but I'm sure it wasn't good. Many kids need the breakfast and lunches provided and they seem to be where proposed cut backs will happen.

Sometime in January another round of cuts will happen. Those will finally affect the Pentagon. I don't know why those cuts couldn't happen first. It would have been better if they had. The Republicans would have felt the effects of those cuts in a way they don't feel the cuts they've already allowed to take place. IF they move to protect the Pentagon as I think they might, then more cuts will occur to the low income people, I'm positive the GOP won't allow anything else.

I'm tired. I've been trying to get the attention of activists to inform people about the true effects of the sequester, and they, led by bloggers, pundits, and main stream journalists are more enamored of exposing the government spying and lately the flaws in Obamacare.

People I do talk to seem to think I should talk to the administrators of MOW, send letters to the editor of local papers, and just kick up enough of a ruckus that I can PREVENT all this from happening. After 7 months of trying to bring attention to this problem, I was told today that someone "doesn't understand what I hope to accomplish if I've given up". See? I can't accomplish a damn thing because these cuts are all ready in effect, all ready hurting people and I no longer have time to build a coalition of support because none of these people who have lost out have any time left. I've been trying for 7 months, the entire time that these people have been suffering and going without.

How much longer do these people whose rent subsidy hasn't been paid for two months have until they're evicted?

How much longer do these Seniors whose 1 hot meal a day is GONE have before they get sick and wind up in a nursing home? Or maybe dead?

With Winter on the way, how long will the heat stay on when HEAP doesn't have a budget?

Yeah, I've got lots of time to fix all this.

I've got one last thing to say. FUCK ALL OF YOU FOR IGNORING THIS.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

It's Not The Taxes Stupid! It's The Lack Of Jobs!

In the year 2000, when G.W. Bush became president, my husband's business made $105,000 gross. Dumping fees for septage was $.04 per gallon. Gas, which is another big expense for us was around $1.75 per gallon here in NYS. The lower petroleum products prices made the purchase of the PVC pipe we used on a job not quite the burden it is today. We were saving money for a down payment on a house and we had the money to pay all our bills on time during the winter month shut down. By 2004 that had changed.

By 2004 the gross income of the business had dropped to $61,000 gross. Dumpage had gone up to $.08 per gallon and gas was around $2.23. The price of pipe and fittings had doubled and our bank statement was showing the stress since we had to start using savings to make the bill payments. Nothing we did to increase revenues made much difference since we weren't the only ones hurting. We could demand higher prices for our work but people couldn't pay them so the maintenance septic tank pump outs that are the bread and butter of our business dropped off.

In 2008 we hit an all time low of $39,000 gross. Dumpage remained steady at 8 cents but gas prices hit $3.50 and unemployment began to go up. We thought about ending the business but Hubby didn't think he'd get a job anyplace and with a business he at least had something to do even if he couldn't make any money. So we tightened our belt and kept on, hoping that something would change and we'd catch a break.

Last year we finally started seeing an increase in the gross. We went up to $50,000. The problem was that expenses to run the truck had gone out of sight and that was the first year we went in the hole. It was only by $500 but it was enough. Especially since Hubby had taken early retirement and cost himself a decent Social Security check. It saved us when Hubby was out of work due to his surgery but it isn't going to be much help when he finally has to retire.

The GOP and Tea Party would like to convince you that it's all the fault of higher taxes. I as the wife of a person who owns a business will tell you what is at fault and you can believe it or not. The problem is the price of oil and the price of everything we use that is made from petroleum. Add to that the higher price of tires, truck parts, insurance, advertising and materials. We are broke.

It didn't help that the GOP sequester is hampering the company I work for. Their ability to get new clients to keep our hours up has been cut by that. Our area never fully recovered from Clinton's closing of military bases. In an area of maybe 200,000 population he put 6000 people out of work. Despite efforts to rebuild, our unemployment rate in this county is still at 10%. There are jobs, there are no unemployed with the skills to fill them

We have two aviation rebuilding companies located at what is now the Griffiss Business and Technical Park. They want to expand but there are no knowledgeable fully trained aviation repair people available here. We have a wealth of computer tech folks out of work and 0 jobs for them. Many of them have gone to work for the local casino who pays little more than minimum wage unless you're trained as a dealer, croupier or pit boss. We have Walmart, and other retail positions and they don't pay very much so anyone working for them needs help financially. They aren't likely to do the septic tank maintenance since they can't afford it which leaves Hubby with no way to make any money from the business.

Today I used the New York State Official Health Plan Marketplace to see what I could afford for health insurance. Hubby has Medicare and I will on September 2014, but unless I want the feds to keep any tax return I qualify for, I have to have insurance before Feb. 15th. So I registered and answered all the questions. When I got to the point where I could begin to compare insurance policies I was told I couldn't shop since I qualified for Medicaid. We are at 109% of the poverty level, a place we wouldn't be if the Republicans and Tea Party members of our Congress had done something besides focus on "no new taxes" and 41 attempts at repealing the ACA. Like maybe if they'd taken a good look at Big Oil and the high prices their corporate welfare creates, we might have an economy that is improved instead of creeping along at a snails pace?

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Halls of Congress The Stench Of Shame

It seems that Tea Party Congressman Blake Farenthold (Texas) has no idea what a sacrifice is. During the government shut down and near default, Disabled American Veterans expressed concern over their loss of services and the loss of their VA disability checks. You know, the checks and services they EARNED by SACRIFICING years of their lives and in many cases limbs or mental health to serve the people of the United States of America? He told them they must LEARN to sacrifice.

He, of course, is "serving" the people of the United States of America in the House of Representatives. For which he earns a 6 figure salary and doesn't have to stand guard on a post in excessive heat, snow, or driving rain. He doesn't have to concern himself if the person walking towards him carries a weapon, nor does he have to worry that he will be blown up on the drive to another base where he has a job to do.

He doesn't have to live in some godforsaken outpost in the desert away from family or friends. He doesn't have to wonder how his wife is making out back home, whether he'll ever see his kids or her again. He doesn't have to wonder if the baby his wife will soon have will know him when he finally comes home. IF he comes home.

It's very easy for someone of his privilege to tell someone who suffered through those hardships that THEY  must learn to sacrifice. Something that he clearly doesn't seem too keen on for himself. He never served in the armed forces, and he obviously hasn't ever denied himself anything he wanted. Yet he seems to feel that disabled veterans who became that way because they put their life on the line to protect the Blake Farentholds of the world should be deprived of basic necessities of life because Mr/ Farenthold doesn't want to pay taxes.

Congressman Farenthold voted no on the bill to reopen the government and avoid default because every one but him and his cronies need to learn to sacrifice. People like Ted Cruz, Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann were all quick to use the veterans as a photo op to get their names in the papers and on TV, but none of them did a single thing to assure those self same veterans that they would be helped even if the government did default. No, making the news was the agenda of the day, not caring about those who sacrificed and served our country with honor even when the wars they might have been sent to weren't all that honorable.

All of these people who are unwilling to address the concerns of the disabled, the poor, the elderly claim membership in the Christian Religion. A religion formed by the teachings of the son of God. Teachings which in no way glorified the rich, suggested that taxes were unnecessary or praised the mistreatment of the poor. Yet that is exactly the path that the Christian Tea Party Republicans chose.

There is nothing I can do about that except cast my vote at election time. I'm not responsible for the behavior of anyone but me. For my part I can only be sure that I not demand something from others that I'm unwilling to sacrifice myself. And I can say to those Christians who think we don't see them behaving as less than they should, we see you, and so does Jesus.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Inmates Are Running The Asylum And Our World Has Gone Crazy

I must say that now is not the time for someone with high blood pressure to be working in homecare. Between the misinformation and lack of knowledge some of my people have plus the actual knowledge of what may happen to them if the GOP default, I'm stressed. Very stressed.

Senior apartment buildings are HUD subsidized. The average rent for a 1 bedroom apartment in those buildings without heat or utilities is $550 per month. If you're a senior with a higher income, say from social security and maybe a pension you aren't subsidized very much unless you have high medical bills. Your rent might be around $350 to $400. You get a little bit towards your heat bill and your medical copays.

If you are someone with nothing but your social security check and it's small, say less than $900 per month you pay just under $200. HUD pays the balance, only HUD can't pay right now, nor will it be able to pay until this mess is straightened out. If this shutdown goes to default, HUD may be gone entirely which means these people MUST pay the full $550 or move.

You can forget moving into a cheaper apartment unless some slum lord who doesn't take care of anything including mice or roaches (they exist) takes pity on you and rents you a hovel for $400 to $500 range. That range will leave them $400 to $500 per month to live on. Since we are coming into the time of year where heat is needed, they can plan on paying close to $400 per month there.

The SNAP benefits they USED to have have been cut to $125 per month and will be gone with the default. For all but one of my clients, meals on wheels is a thing of the past, so they are relying on their caregivers to do the cooking they can't do and then portioning it out to be put in the freezer. They can put it in the microwave to reheat and at least have 1 hot meal a day. When you're over 80 and have serious health problems like congestive heart failure, stroke disability, or breathing difficulties, standing isn't quite as easy as it used to be. Walkers require two hands to operate, last time I looked, people didn't have any more than that. And if we default, the caregivers are gone since we're paid by what the Tea Party calls welfare.

We're talking 5 buildings full of these people or 500 to 600 seniors and disabled. There are also 3 senior buildings that aren't subsidized since those are higher income. Rents there are $750 per month which they can comfortably afford, but they too will be hurt since default means no income for them in a month or two. My problem is that the GOP has no idea who they're hurting and nothing in place to protect these people while they take down the government.

We all know the faces of those who game the system, they exist, but aren't nearly as widespread as the GOP and their supporters believe. The GOP keep saying that SNAP benefits have increased while our economy is improving. This is true, but when you were making 80K a year and now work for 35K a year, someone has to feed your kids.

I don't know any employer who hasn't advertised for help and gotten less than 2 to 3 hundred responses. Local job fairs have people lined up inside the buildings and some of them have spilled over to waiting outside. Most of these people aren't qualified to take the jobs they're so desperate to have, they just keep hoping that a prospective employer will look at what they can offer to the position if they're trained. Frankly there are disabled people who would love to have a chance at getting a job if they could be trained to do it.

I haven't worked for a client through the agency I work for that has had more than $1400 a month in income. They weren't employed when the minimum wage was too much higher than $4 an hour. Some of these people lost their homes and all their savings to catastrophic medical bills. All they have left is their Social Security check and whatever subsidies the amount of income they're left with make them eligible for. They aren't the problem, nor is the single mother in a low paying job who needs SNAP to feed her kids. The problem is the failure on the part of businesses who like the big bucks they can make through tax shelters and moving jobs overseas. And, has anyone taken a good look at how much money the Pentagon wastes? You should, it's appalling.

In addition to the planes that are being sent to Arizona to the boneyard because after buying them, nobody has a use for them, there's the 1 Trillion dollars spent by the Air Force on a computer system that had to be scrapped because it wouldn't work. Then there's the 34 million dollars the Army spent on a state of the art headquarters in Afghanistan that never should have happened because we aren't being given the right to have a permanent base there. It's built, and nobody ever used it.

It's always business as usual at the Pentagon. The night before the shutdown they signed 5.5 billion dollars in contracts with 94 suppliers. While Congressional GOP are threatening our seniors and low income citizens, the Air Force thinks it needs a 6 or 7 million dollar gymnasium at the Air Force Academy in Colorado. Staying fit doesn't have to cost that much. We need to slash the Pentagon budget by 30%, use that money for education so people can receive training to take the jobs that they don't have the skill sets for now. Then give tax breaks to companies that create jobs in the US and not east overshoe or wherever these jobs exist.

Maybe if our government would get over the trickle down tax breaks create jobs economy they keep foisting on us and do the right thing, we wouldn't have to keep borrowing to pay our bills? More working stiffs mean more in the coffers to pay our bills with and it's really just that simple. Oh! And one other thing, GET RID OF THE DAMN TEA PARTY, THEY'RE DESTROYING OUR LIVES.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Finding Refuge In A Storm

The world has gone crazy. People lying, people fighting, terrorists taking hostages and that's just in Washington DC. It's the apocalypse, the rapture, the end times, the somebody needs to pull their heads out of their asses time. I've been driving myself crazy looking for a corner where I can sit quietly out of the fray and wait until someone comes to their senses.

I was sitting here minding my own business last night and I got a call from the oncall coordinator asking if I'd do a couple of cases today. I took a deep breath to say NO! and heard myself agreeing to it. The reason I was going to say no was one of pure childish spite. I'm not sure what's going on but it seems I'm being bypassed for new cases in favor of the younger aides. Younger aides, I might add, who can't seem to make it to work on a regular basis. While I, old and decrepit as I am, have had to take time off once and only for part of the day all year. Am I being discriminated against because of age? I don't know and probably can't prove it even if I believe it.

I probably agreed to work today because I was in a mellow mood. I never bothered to get dressed on Sunday and wonder of wonders got to watch my favorite movie of all time. "The Godfather" followed by part 2. I spent the entire afternoon and early evening curled up on the couch with a bowl of popcorn getting lost with some of my favorite characters. Never saw the news, never turned the computer on just spent my time watching fictional bad guys behave badly. There is something sort of satisfyingly final in how they deal with those who threaten their lives. Imagination is a wonderful thing isn't it?

Anyways, for whatever reason I agreed to work today, I met some really nice people. And a cute older gentleman canine. When I arrived at the clients, he was curled up in the chair with her. He's 14 and quite timid. Never barked at all which is odd since he's a Chihuahua. She told me he'd probably go hide under her bed since that's what he does when her other aide is there.

The care plan said for me to fix her lunch and feed the dog which I did. Did the dishes, cleaned the kitchen and bathroom, made her bed and at no point did he leave the room. Near the end of the shift I went and sat on the sofa to do the voucher and he got up next to me and just leaned in to my side. I put my arm around him and of course, he started "kissing" my chin.

The client gasped and said that he'd never done that with anyone before. I just commented that I believe dogs know when people are real. It probably helped that I was relaxed and happy today. I was wet from the rain that came up suddenly and a little bit cold, but those are physical discomforts, something that I don't find stressful. Once I left that client I could come home where it's comfy to warm up and dry out.

Life is too hard right now to waste any of it's precious moments driving myself crazy with the inflammatory rhetoric that is spewing from our nations capital. I'm disconnecting from the not so social media that  is rampant on the internet. I'm going to stock up on popcorn, Saranac Root Beer and let the world chase it's tail until someone comes to their senses.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Be Careful What You Ask For, You Just Might Get It

If I can find any good in this government shutdown, it's the fact that Republicans can no longer claim they are the party of fiscal responsibility. Depending on who you listen to, this shut down will cost the taxpayers  $100 or $200 million a day. So in essence, this shutdown becomes another one of those GOP debts that they aren't going to want to pay. Where I come from, if you don't want to have to raise more revenue, you don't run up more debt.

These past 2 days I am remembering all the lovely people who thought, back in 2007, that the path to fixing our problems was to vote everyone out of Congress. In essence that's what happened, eventually, and we are now in a much bigger mess than we ever were to start out with. I wasn't too popular back then, I kept saying that we needed to be careful about how we voted since placing people in Congress who have no idea what they're doing could get dangerous. Apparently I was right, and apparently no one has a clue that they are part of the problem, since I'm already hearing opinions on what's going to happen next.

I was talking to the son of one of my clients today. He's someone who is a supporter of privatizing Social Security. In the next breath he spoke about losing his pension from the company he worked for due to an unstable economy that put the company out of business. He also lost his shirt in 2008-2009 stock market. At nearly 60, he has nothing left EXCEPT his Social Security, but he wants to privatize it. I looked at him, and apparently my face said more than I wanted it to. One of my 'OH DEAR GOD THIS MAN JUST GREW TWO HEADS' looks must have occurred since he got somewhat annoyed with me.

After being treated to some of his anger I finally spoke up. I asked him how on God's green earth would a privatized retirement fund not be subjected to the same unstable economic effects that caused him to lose both his pension and his portfolio? I am, some 5 hours later, still waiting for an answer.

I don't know where or when we started thinking that Life was a question that required very simple one size fits all answers. I also don't know why people seem to think that doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results will work this time. I've always thought that was a measure of insanity. I'm not very bright obviously.

I am bright enough to form my opinions not on what some cable news pundit said on FOX, CNN or MSNBC. My opinions are based on what I see with my own eyes and what problems I have to deal with on a daily basis. As far as I'm concerned our problems exist because of who we are as people. We caused our own problems when we stopped caring about our neighbors and started caring more about the things we could buy with plastic money. Well, the bill has now come due, and like it or not, you're going to have to pay it.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Friends For A Season

The problem with meeting people online is that I have a hard time calling them friends. How can you be friends with people who don't tell you their real names, or who pretend to be someone they aren't? I do count those whose names I know as friends, but due to the distance between us, they have a lower priority than those I know offline.

I can't just hop in the car and run over when something bad happens in their lives. I can't hug them when they need it, nor can I stand beside them when trouble comes. It doesn't mean they have no value, it's just difficult to find the time for online friends when life is so consuming. Sometimes these people you meet online go on to bigger and better things and simply stop associating with you. They forget about you on many levels and you return the favor until something happens and they again occupy a place in the forward part of the mind.

For me the something that happened is the very devastating Colorado flood. Some of you former Blogstreamers will remember Prank from "The Paradox of the Prankster". He lives in Colorado. At least he did the last time I heard anything from him. He was someone who, for reasons known only to him, moved on long before Blogstream shut down.

He, whoever he is, has been on my mind these past couple of weeks since the pictures of the devastation in Colorado were made public. I'd like to know that he is safe, and I can't because I never knew who he was.
I enjoyed his poetry, his tales from the Mile High Palace and the always unique perspective of Woogie the Cat. It seems to me that I read somewhere that he was sick, but never heard that he recovered. He and Woogie may have passed into the great beyond long before the flood of 2013. I probably will never know. On some level that grieves me and on another level it feels right to be capable of retaining fond memories without the knowledge of permanent loss.

Online, as in life, people come and go. The best we can hope for is that those who went did so with sails full of wind to carry them onward and that they found a soft place to land.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

When I'm 64

Since Friday Paul McCartney has been singing that song in my head. At least he's singing the parts that I remember the words to. Something about knitting sweaters by the fireside, going on Sunday drives. Doing a garden digging the weeds, needing and feeding.

I don't knit, although I do crochet, gas prices are too high for Sunday drives on my income and given that I almost live in the woods, gardens don't survive but oh boy do the weeds. Digging them would be a full time job, and most of them that grow here produce flowers. Queen Anne's Lace, Black Eyed Susans, Buttercups, Wild Sunflowers, Touch-Me-Nots, Forget-me-nots and of course goldenrod and ragweed.

Strangely, the Forget-me-nots are growing on the lawn where Bashful is buried. They are the only wildflower growing here that is a color other than yellow or white. Both the touch-me-nots and forget-me-nots were a new addition this year. I imagine the birds bring the seeds and weeds will take root in any conditions where other things won't.

I tend to admire those weeds from a distance. While they may be attractive they hide a multitude of things that aren't. They share space with poison ivy, provide a resting place for deer ticks that carry Lyme Disease and draw hornets and wasps in large numbers. Good and evil. Light and dark. Positive and negative. Birth and death.

Some people focus on the negative and they spend much of their time destroying the positive to eradicate the negative. Others make the choice to recognize that both exist and choose a path that honors the positive while accepting the negative. There are those that see no positive at all. While they may be beautiful in their own way, they are, after all, weeds.

On the day of my 64th birthday I was standing in the green grass under a gorgeous blue sky admiring what remained of the beauty. The goldenrod and ragweed are enjoying their last hurrah. The wild sunflowers have begun to bow their heads to the coming of cold weather. The trees above them have begun their preparation for the long sleep ahead. The inevitable touches of gold and orange have begun.

There is nothing ahead that has not gone before. No positive can exist without negative. No light without dark in which to shine. No good without evil against which we can measure. No life without death.

Friday, September 13, 2013

When Tomorrow Doesn't Come

According to the sheriff's department spokesman "the driver somehow left the highway and slammed into several trees". The accident happened shortly after noon on Wednesday, on a main highway in the county with no weather related hazards to contend with. The driver is no longer with us, he was one of Hubby's friends.

They worked together, back in the day, at a local septic pumping and excavating business. Jimmy moved on to another excavating business when their employer began to have health problems. If it had tires or tracks on it, Jimmy knew how to handle it. He saw the handwriting on the wall and did what he had to do to support his growing family. He was a hard working man with a big heart and a bigger voice.

Hubby said he'd gained a lot of weight in the last 8 years or so. I hadn't seen him for awhile. He wasn't the kind to come and visit because we have a cat and Jimmy HATED cats. Hubby would run into him at the local coffee shops or now and again while shopping for job materials. He'd call once in a blue moon, but our lives are different now that we had all gotten older. It takes too much energy to engage in rowdy fun anymore.

Some of the best times I ever had happened at a country tavern he tried running. The problem was it was waaaay out in the country and New York State DWI laws tended to interfere with the patrons ability to enjoy themselves fully so that endeavor didn't work well for him. He had kept his job with the excavating company. Sometimes jobs like that pay well, but the hours are part time at best. He felt he could do both and had he managed a place in the city where folks could walk instead of drive he just might have had himself a successful business, you never know about things like that. You never know about anything when it comes to life and living.

Whether he died as a result of his injuries, or as a result of a heart attack or other catastrophic event that might have caused the accident, I don't know. All I do know is life is short and can end unexpectedly. Cherish those you love all the day long because you never know if you have a tomorrow.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Football! Pfui! It's Hazardous To My Health

I logged in to Blogger this morning, and realized that I had created a post that made it too easy to identify a client. I can't do that, it's against federal law. When I do rant about client families, I usually don't choose to do it when our local paper is covering the issue. This time my feelings about the people involved overruled  my sense of caution. Fortunately while I realize the evidence is still somewhere on the internet, we have a delete button that makes it harder for people to stumble across the remains.

And speaking of delete buttons, is there one I can use on football?

My grandson is playing football this year.


My puny little nerdy grandson has turned into a jock! How'd that happen?

Every time he gets tackled I hold my breath until he stands back up again.

Every time he gets tackled I want to run out on the field and make sure he's OK.

This is living proof you can't be too careful who your kids hang around with. Teenagers are far too often influenced more by their peers than they are their parents. There have been absolutely 0 football players in this family on either side. Until now. And I have a grandson who looks like he weighs next to nothing soaking wet, running around with a football under the Friday Night Lights. Please, pinch me, I'm having a nightmare I need to wake up.

Coach said playing football builds character. He's enough of a character without having the wind knocked out of him every few minutes during a game. I swear he's going to break his neck, or wind up brain damaged. Wait! He WANTED to play football. OMG HE'S BRAIN DAMAGED ALL READY.

He thinks I'm crazy because I'm worrying about him. He said he'd tell the opposing team members who are about to tackle him that they need to "stop or his Grandma will getcha". Somehow that doesn't make me feel any better. He also says I have to behave myself and not embarrass him. I guess I can manage that...MAYBE! Heh!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Stress? What Stress?

More years ago than I care to count my brother-in-law deemed me unfit to be taken anywhere in public. He did it because I entered a church bathroom, slipped on the floor, fell on my ass and swore. I wasn't the least bit quiet about it and he was in the men's room next door. By the time I got back to the gathering of mourners, they were all having a laugh at my expense.

See? I have this habit of getting myself into situations. In life, unlike the internet, I am usually given the benefit of the doubt. Unfortunately, I have had way more experience with life than I have with the internet and I tend to assume that everyone is essentially fair about misunderstandings because in life most people are. I keep forgetting that life and the internet bear very little resemblance to each other.

Someone that was a Twitter friend said something to Kurt Eichenwald, an editor from the magazine Vanity Fair. He immediately responded in an extremely condescending manner and in the 3rd person which is a little...well...crazy, frankly. She began to apologize and tried to explain that she meant her statement as agreement with his and not an insult towards him. He never responded and when I checked his feed I saw that he'd apparently logged off since there was nothing else said.

I had reached my 30 minute time frame so I logged out and then an hour later logged back in. That was my first mistake. My second mistake was when I attempted to be fair about what had occurred. In order to do that I had to remind my friend her tweet wasn't clear and he is bothered by many, many trolls. I honestly thought that he'd see her apology when he came back and try to clear the air with her. It also never occurred to me that she would feel I was calling her a troll. Hindsight is always 20/20. Too bad we don't have the same foresight.

Another friend began to defend her against what was perceived as an attack by me on her. That wasn't my intent and I still didn't understand what I'd done. I did see that I wasn't getting anywhere so I made a comment about an apology from Mr Eichenwald and dropped the subject. Which was too late. It was too late the minute I set words on screen to ask for fairness. I knew he'd been dealing with trolls and with his wife's breast cancer diagnosis, I just thought he was overreacting to something based upon his personal experiences, real life problems tend to creep into our internet whether we want them to or not.

Of course, I was wrong about Mr. Eichenwald making any attempt at clearing the air with her. Even if he has her blocked and is unable to read her apology, enough other people have brought it to his attention and he hasn't answered them either.

The upshot of this entire situation is that I now have probably lost a couple or more of friends that had value to me over someone that turns out to be undeserving of my respect. Maybe my doctor was right about limiting my exposure to the internet in order to help me control my blood pressure? I certainly haven't had too much luck with it being me.

Since I apparently can't be taken anywhere on the internet as well as in public, I am going to work very hard to achieve that 30 minute time frame the doctor said I should limit myself to. The less trouble I get into, the less stress I'll feel and the lower my blood pressure will go.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

If Life Is A Highway, I Took A Wrong Turn

Now that Dave has moved back in, Precious Kitteh is becoming a wham, bam, thank you ma'am cat. He comes for a visit about the time I open a can of cat food for Butterscotch and wants his share, of course. He wolfs it down like the cad he is and then scoots for the door to be let out. I don't have to let him in since he's not ours by his own choice, but, I'd rather know he's getting something to eat. Dave isn't bright enough to open the door and call to him to come in and Precious isn't loud enough to be heard when he wants to come in. We have the alarm system he triggers by being on the deck so we know he's out there. Dave doesn't believe he needs one.

Neighbor Ed took Dave up to the church food pantry because they also give free pet food to those who can't afford to buy it. We know Dave has food for him, but aren't sure Precious can get into the home to eat any of it. Haven't seen Dave for a few days to ask him. Don't think he'd tell me the truth anyways. Also, letting Precious inside my home gives me the opportunity to put the flea/tick treatment on him when it's due. I'm damn sure Dave wouldn't do that.

The only one of us truly happy with this situation is Butterscotch. He doesn't have to share his home with any other furbearing critter and he's quite joyful about that. It surprises me that he'll let him in to eat without a fuss, but once the belly is full it's get the heck outta my house dammit! He's a big bully and when he puffs up he's pretty impressive. Even I will pause when he does that. He has claws. He knows how to use them.

The situation with Precious Kitteh is one of the reasons I'm experiencing stress again these days. It's most likely the least of the reasons with worry about income and bill paying number 1 on the list. It's affecting my blood pressure again and the doctor has ordered me to do something productive to control it. I can't do anything about the income right now but I can control how much of the rest of those stressful events affect me.

I have totally quit watching cable news to any extent, but I'm still exposed to the bad news via social media like Twitter and blogging. Almost anywhere you go on the internet there are people fighting about everything or people spewing such stupidity you wonder where they keep their brains.

Doc suggested I limit internet time to half an hour a day. I should correct that and say she strongly suggested (think ordered) that I limit it. I understand and agree with her solution, problem is, I don't seem to be able to stick to it. I get involved in conversations and the next thing you know, my 30 minutes have come and gone 2 or 3 times. I have no will power when it comes to some things. I've tried the timer solution and sometimes don't even hear it ding. I blame Hubby for that. I've acquired the ability to tune him out so I don't kill him and unfortunately can now tune out almost everything I don't want to hear. The problem is on the internet, you don't hear anything you see it.

Not only do I have selective hearing loss I also have selective understanding. I'm positive she meant 30 minutes a day but my selective switch heard 30 minutes a session. On work days that's not much of a problem. It's the other 3 days, Saturday through Monday when I'm not working that I can fit in quite a few of those 30 minute sessions. Don't know what I'm going to be able to do about that. I do know I have to try something before Hubby carries out his threat to put the laptop on the roof and take the ladder with him to work. I may have selective hearing, but trust me, I heard that!

Monday, August 19, 2013

A Woman's Right To Say No And Be Heard

There are 207,754 victims of sexual assault in the US every year. Almost half of the victims at 44% are under the age of 18. Most sexual assault victims are under the age of 30 the account for 80% of all rapes. Only 46% of those cases will ever get reported and 97% of the perpetrators will never see a day in jail. The reason for that is the female victims are made by society to feel that the sexual assault WAS ALL THEIR FAULT.

We live in a society where men are taught that women are lesser than they are. We're objects of their sexual desires so WE have the burden to protect ourselves from being raped. If WE aren't careful enough to protect ourselves, WE aren't supposed to open our mouths and report it because guys will be guys and we'll ruin their lives.

The 15 year old in Steubenville was blamed for what happened to her because she went to a party and got drunk. Nobody wanted to prosecute the 2 boys involved and when it happened, the 15 year old was treated to death threats from other teens because what happened to her was ALL HER FAULT.

Two 13 year olds found themselves in the same situation in Torrington, Connecticutt. They were visiting the guys in an apartment so what happened to them was also all their fault. They too were treated to death threats. Two more sports scholarships lost and that was more important than the violation of the girls.

Children think and act as children. That's why there are consent laws in most states. Very few people anymore seem to grasp the need for those laws. The consensus of opinion these days falls into the old "old enough to bleed, old enough to butcher" category. And we wonder why our children are no longer safe on the streets in our cities and towns.

I can't count the number of times I've heard we have a need to teach women how not to get raped. At the same time, I've watched the number of rape threats that happen online occur simply because a guy disagrees with something a woman says. We fear being raped and some men have no compunction when it comes to using that against us.

In Twitter alone hundreds of emails and tweets threatening to rape feminists and other celebrities have occurred and until recently nothing was done. Twitter prides itself on not interfering with freedom of speech. Since when are threats to rape and murder someone "freedom of speech"? Women who wish to have control over their own bodies and use birth control, have access to clinics where their needs can be addressed are being called sluts and whores. People like Wendy Davis in Texas who tried to stand up for women's reproductive rights are demeaned for doing so.

Somewhere we've blurred the line between consensual sex and sexual assault. Somehow a woman's right to control of her own body is being lost in a world where men are encouraged to exercise their sexual desires regardless of consent on the part of the female. It appears that women are to be considered to be asking for it by simply leaving the safety of their own home and daring to demand they be treated like the people we are.

We work for a living, we pay taxes. Some of us own our own homes. We vote, we're productive members of society, yet when it comes to sexual crimes perpetrated against us all our contributions are discarded on a trash heap somewhere. We're the ones with the vagina so we're the ones who need to learn how not to be raped. NO! Men need to learn when they've crossed the line, men need to learn that their desire isn't all it takes. Men need to take a seat and listen when women say NO.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Snapdragon Years

 photo draggin.gif Yeah, THAT kind of Snapdraggin'
I'm there already and I'm not old enough to retire yet. Well, almost, but that doesn't count, does it?

I was reading an article about the 9 common medications that cause chronic fatigue. Guess who takes 2 of them? And, of course, they're the first 2 medications on the list. Lisinopril and Toprol. That's a double whammy right there.

I'm not complaining, mind you, well, not much anyway. The alternative is not taking them and having a blood pressure high enough to blow out my veins. When you look at it that way, being really, really tired now and again doesn't seem quite so bad. On the other hand, when I say really, really, I really mean it.

You know those warnings on medication containers that say "Do not operate machinery unless you know how this medication will affect you."? I'm sure you don't pay any more attention to them than I do, right? Well, I have started paying attention since I found out what chronic fatigue feels like. If you've never had it before, the first episode can be frightening. You start aching all over, legs turn to jelly and you feel like the next step will find you lying on the floor. Half an hour of sleep and it's like it never happened. Except you know it did and you're scared it will happen again at the wrong time. Like when you aren't at home so you can take that nap. Hasn't happened yet, but...

The information for these medications say that these episodes are your hearts way of responding to the medications and once it gets used to it, the symptoms cease. That's a bold face lie. They never cease, you just don't have them as often. Which is perfectly fine by me because that way I don't get those not so gentle reminders that I'm getting old.
  Willie Nelson and SNOOP DOGG???? The really strange thing is that I like it. That's the part of me that's snapped. Trust me, it WILL happen to the rest of you sooner or later. Heh!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Sometime You Really Get The Perfect Gift

This has been an interesting week to say the least. Last Sunday I was getting ready to face the woodpile and see how much of it I could get stacked in the shed for winter. I heard noises outside in the shed but assumed it was Hubby just coming home. When I went outside, there was Youngest and his family, plus a friend of my grandson's, stacking wood in the shed. For the first time in our history, every single block of wood is now neatly stacked in the shed and outside it. This is remarkable since we usually don't manage to get that job done until Halloween.

It took 5 people 2.5 hours to stack this stuff. That's a lot of bending over, picking up 16 inch long blocks that weigh more than I care to carry, loading them into my yard cart, pulling the cart to the shed and unloading the cart. It's a job that usually takes Hubby and myself picking away at it, a few weeks to finish. Done in a matter of hours, this early in the year. We didn't know this was going to happen so not only was it a gift for us, it was a surprise. I keep looking out the window, admiring the finished stacks. It's a gift that is still giving pleasure.

Also this week we learned what happened to Dave, the former companion to our Precious Kitteh. It's going to make life somewhat complicated in the Precious Kitteh department, but we'll work things out somehow.

I had gone up to the local store and on the way back spotted Precious at neighbor Ed's. Stopped to pick him up, he likes the short drive home sometimes. Ed and I were talking when 2 pick up trucks pulled into the driveway at the abandoned property, unloaded some Toro brush cutters and started work on the weeds that were sadly overgrown.

The last Thursday in July there had been a county tax sale so we thought possibly someone had bought the property for taxes. It wasn't until Precious started mewing excitedly and running towards one of the guys that we realized it was Dave. He's been in county jail for the past 11 months.

Essentially the problem was the adult son of the girlfriend rather than the girlfriend herself. The son is in his middle 20s, wouldn't look for a job, wouldn't help around the home. He stayed up all night playing computer games, slept all day and pretty much took whatever he wanted without giving anything back. Of course, Mom didn't think anything was wrong with that picture and when Dave objected to being used, it got nasty. Dave broke the guys nose, got hit in the head with an iron fry pan which knocked him out cold. Dave spent time in the hospital ER and he came home after that but the girlfriend and son filed charges against him so he was arrested and hauled off to jail.

Naturally he was found guilty and drew a 10 month jail sentence on the charges filed against him. He's been out awhile, but didn't have the money to move back in so he's been staying with friends. He won't have money to turn the power back on until September so I still have a second kitty, but I suspect he'd rather be with Dave. I was quite surprised at how excited he was when he saw Dave. Cats can be very unforgiving when things happen which affect their living standards. By no stretch of the imagination would I ever believe Dave is a nice guy, but he loves that cat and Precious loves him back. That was pretty obvious.

He's been around to eat every day and sometimes will spend time in the house, but as soon as he hears Dave, he's out of here like a shot. Dave is trying to fix all the damage the squatters caused to his home. There's a couple of broken windows and the door to the cabin needs replacing. In addition to the yard work he's doing, he'll be around pretty much every day until he can move in.

After he moves back in I think Precious will pretty much decide where he wants to be. I'm sure he'll choose Dave most of the time. I'm also sure he'll come by from time to time since we feed the better cat food. This will give me a chance to make sure he's armed with the flea/tick treatment I use on him. He's a free spirit and enjoys time in the woods where the ticks all hang out and I don't care to find any of those ticks in my home, or fleas. Butterscotch wouldn't like that at all. Some gifts are just better than others.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Got My Education In The School Of Hard Knocks

In October of 2010 polls indicated that 77% of Americans believed that the cost of entitlement programs would bankrupt the country. Fast forward to this morning, August 8 of 2013 and FOX is saying that 77% of Americans believe that we the people look to the government to do what we won't do for ourselves. No, I was not voluntarily listening to FOX, it was the channel my Thursday morning client had on. He's deaf, it's loud and there is no place to go except outside to get away from hearing it.

During the election campaign, when I was caring for his wife, that channel would be on the entire time I was in his house and we would wrangle a little about what was being said. Not too much since in a clients home I'm not allowed to voice my opinions on politics or religion, so I always kept it light and let him see what I thought by reading my face. Now that his wife is in a nursing home and I am there to care for him, his opinions have undergone quite a change.

The reality of just how little the government actually pays for has occurred. FOX is no longer the be all and end all source of information the way it used to be. His opinions are now formed by his life experience as mine has always been. At 86, he now knows just how much spin there is on everything FOX reports, and he's developed a liking for old movies, Matlock and Hoda and Kathy Lee.

I had an "I told you so" moment this morning. I mentioned, in passing, (lol) that he no longer watches FOX as much as he used to. He did a little spitting and sputtering about it, but his explanation actually ended with the words I've used as the title for this post. Being honest, I did allow that 77% of Americans quite likely do believe that people look to the government to do what they won't do for themselves. His response? It was, verbatim "Maybe these people need to open their eyes and see that it isn't that we won't, it's that we CAN'T."

His wife is being cared for in a nursing home which is taking every penny they had set aside over his Social Security. The plan was to sell his home and move him into an assisted living home or a Senior apartment complex in the city. He had a real estate broker come to assess the value of his home and after finding out what it would sell for, it was discovered that the nursing home, despite it's getting paid, has placed a lien on it.

He can sell his home but the proceeds must be placed in an escrow account and used to pay for his wife's care if his money runs out. This leaves him without enough money to pay for assisted living so his two daughters are paying for homecare since he doesn't qualify for any assistance from Medicaid.

They pay for a nurse to come and make sure he's taking his medications correctly. He's forgetful and doesn't always. I go for 3 hours every Thursday to help him with his shower, laundry and household tasks like changing sheets and making sure his bathrooms are clean. His daughters live down south. One in Kentucky and the other in the Carolinas. They come to see him as often as they can. They may try to take him south for the winter. I don't believe he'll go since it would mean leaving his wife of 66 years behind. They wouldn't be able to take her since she requires care that can't happen in a home setting anymore.

The problem is that no matter how much you set aside for your old age, the unforseen expenses can eat that up in a very short time. Most of my clients money was in the hands of Wall Street. He lost a great deal in 2008 when the market went south and hasn't been able to recover. The reality of life for the elderly is that the expenses one incurs keep rising and ones income stays the same.

Of course, that's not anything we'll hear from FOX news. They prefer to feed the Conservative meme that everyone, except the rich, are looking for a handout on the backs of those who worked for their money. They'll find out when it's their turn to experience the problems of old age.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Driving My Bus

I've been sitting here for 5 minutes or so, staring at the blank screen of the post editor and watching the cursor blink on and off. Something is nagging at the back of my mind and I had planned on getting it out in the open, but the more I think about it the more I realize I'm flirting with disaster if I do so.

It involves clients and suspected prescription drug abuse. These clients are very internet savvy and if I say too much and they recognize themselves I am violating HIPAA laws which could result in serious fines and the possibility of jail time for me. If other family members, who know I blog, ever stumble across my opinions regarding that situation, there will be major trouble. Sometimes it's just best to keep what I think to myself.

Lately I'm disgusted with politics and the always present keyboard activists who seem to want to fight with everyone at the first inkling their words are not agreed with 100%. This my-way-or-the-highway attitude is getting on my next to the last nerve. The only way to move our country forward is through compromise which will hopefully include the best ideas of both parties. What we have instead is a House Speaker who says that it isn't the duty of Congress to make laws, their duty resides in the repealing of laws. I'm surprised my jaw didn't break when it hit the floor.

I attended a symposium conducted by an acquaintance of mine. She's a licensed psychologist who doesn't agree with the tendency to blame our parents for all the things that are wrong in our lives. She's quite firm on taking responsibility to be a better person and to stop using our past or outside influences to be intentionally destructive in our future. She asked all of us in the beginning of her talk "Who drives your bus?" She then went on to ask if our bus is driven by our TV/computer habits. Do we pay too much attention to the things our neighbors have rather than to the things we have that fit within our individual budgets?

She's trying to address the issue of our increased use of drugs to cope with life or to sleep at night. She said that there are valid chemical imbalances that create the need for these drugs in some people, but many of us fail to accept that we aren't entitled to be happy every minute of the day so we insist on treatment for things that would pass on their own. Some depressions are temporary. Unfortunately we perpetuate those temporary depressions by treating them with one addicting drug or another.

She made me realize that I had been allowing politics and the fear of what's going to happen to Social Security and Medicare to drive my bus. I got a little bit lucky when we flooded here and I did volunteer work which gave me space to forget the fear by replacing it with activity. It was a reminder to me that while the idiots in Congress and their online cheering squad begin to bother me, I can unplug and go do something positive.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Lost But Never Forgotten

I am guilty of not paying attention to my blog. As a result, I didn't notice the profile picture that was missing nor the kitty giving the finger picture that used to sit at the bottom of my page. I thought they were uploaded pictures, but the info on those editors pages states they're the victims of "invalid urls".

My current profile picture is one I took of my own mouse pad. It's been stored in Photobucket for a few years. Since it's mine, it's not likely to be the victim of invalid url disease unless I forget and move it. I haven't been using my Photobucket in awhile, a very long while, since I lost my book in which I wrote all my passwords.

When the book accidentally got put into the wood stove, I started another one with the passwords I could remember. I couldn't remember that one. The downside of being creative with passwords when you are over 60 is they are prone to be victims of those Senior Moments we begin to have. Had I known that the internet would contribute to those moments to the degree it does, I might have passed it by. Well, probably not but it sounded good.

Anyways, I was sitting here looking at the pictures I have in there when all of a sudden I simply logged in. Out of the murky mess that is my mind, something caused a minor volcanic eruption and the information that was spit up was the correct password. To be honest, the incident occurred more like a cat hacking up hairballs with one or two attempts before producing anything. I like the volcanic analogy better.

While perusing my Photobucket I discovered there seems to be quite a few missing pictures. The important ones are there, but there are places on each page beginning somewhere around page 24 that are simply black spaces. I had posted on Blogstream a series of "Wanted" posters for various things and people. When I find something fun to do I tended to overdo it. Especially in the earlier days online.

I believe some of those are missing. I have the one I did of Scratch, Daisy and Mr Ornery's slippers, but the ones I did of Scratchy's alter egos from the cat world are gone. Of course, every single one of those silly comment graphics are all there. My artwork is all there, probably because before I lost my password book, I had moved all those into a sub album. The same with family pictures, they were moved too.

The drug paraphernalia pictures from one of my blogaversary parties are also missing. The mushroom picture, the glass bongs, etc. There are others missing that I can't recall so they were probably not important and wouldn't be available on a blog anywhere since Blogstream is kaput. There are times when I miss the place, but then I realize it took over my life in a way that I didn't expect it could, and probably shouldn't have allowed it to do.

When I started I was grieving the loss of my Mom and dealing with the illnesses that eventually took my Dad. Emotional upheaval that  me into a world where I didn't have to feel the pain. It was all smoke and mirrors but it helped me avoid something that I should have faced head on. I can't claim it was a negative experience since it did allow me the time to heal enough to be strong enough to complete the process. It did prevent me from moving past the anger portion of grief, but I managed it eventually and turned out alright after all.

Too bad the same couldn't be said for Mr Ornery's slippers.

(Insert evil laughter here)