Wednesday, July 27, 2011

We are Waiting

I'm sending you this check for $10, while my friends with disabilities and I wait. We wait to see if our checks, (Social Security retirement, survivor's benefits, disability insurance, and supplemental security income, which is partially federally funded) will come in August if the Government defaults on its debts.

We wait knowing that just missing one check will make some people homeless. We wonder how patient our landlords will be. We don't think those of us with visible disabilities will last too long out there. It reminds me of Katrina, Again!

Many oof us have a desire to contribute to society. We helped after the earthquake in Haiti, we helped after the tornado in Joplin, and with many disasters in between. We adopt kids, foster kids, teach Braille or ASL for free, and much more.

But no one Forgives us our debts or bails Us iout, like the large banks were Forgiven or Bailed out.

So we wait. We wait while imigrants who would be glad to be put on a "path to citizenship" including learning English, paying taxes, and learning how our Government is Supposed to work are deported.

We wait as gas prices and food prices rise while corporate CEO.'s, NOT Small Business Owners, make millions in salaries Plus bonuses and I, for one, am getting Sick of it!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

When a loved one dies during a difficult time with you

Real life together is Not usually glamerous, always fun, or warm and fuzzy. Ann and I had a basic difference about something which I did not know how to deal with, at the time of her death. We weren't fighting or screaming, it was a situation where each of us wanted our life to go in a different direction from the other, (or that's the way it felt) and we didn't know what to do, yet. We had hit these Seeming walls before and always managed to talk our way through, negotiating a path through or beyond them. I never had the chance to know if this one could be worked through or not because Ann died.

I have felt terrible guilt for being at odds with Ann at the time of her death. What do you do when you and the person you love the most are in the midst of a difficult situation emotionally and they die?

I was taught to feel guilty from a very young age. I was the cause of all that went wrong in my parent's lives, when I was around. When I wasn't it was another cibling's fault. So I have felt very bad for months now.

It seemed to hit a really bad point yesterday, I was exhausted physically and mentally. I called a friend who reminded me that each person has the right to be him or her self, that when someone says something which feels hurtful they are usually talking about their Own feelings or expectations of you, what is in Their head, Not all of who you are. That sounds very simple, but it doesn't feel simple.

He recommended I take the day off, not unpacking any more and just rest or "veg". I ordered in junk food for two meals, and watched episodes of my favorite Star Trek spin off, Deep Space Nine. I slept well and began to feel better.

I have written before about how this feels so similar to earlier months this year. For the last two days I've been swearing a lot and short tempered, like in late February and early March. Is it because there was too much to do to get it out of my system? Part of it is just physical and mental Tiredness. It isn't 10:00 P.M. yet and I'm Toast!

But today went smoothly and for that I am Grateful!

In thinking about others, there must be a Lot of people who loose loved ones at times of stress, disagreement, argument, or disappointment. Guilt Doesn't help! How we talk to ourselves inside our own heads is very important. I have begun telling myself I did nothing wrong, in that Ann and I were Both frustrated with one another in One area of our lives, when she died. This is called Being Human. It is sad, but Not Wrong.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Me, America, and Buddhism

This feels like the flipside of what I went through in May of this year. May felt like it would Never end! So does July.

In May I was packing, finishing the donation of Ann's used clothing, going to doctor with my mother to prepare her for surgery, (I took Braille notes and asked questions but he later decided Everything I said was Wrong and she new better) Donating to Joplin tornado relief, feeling afraid I wouldn't be ready when movers came and crashing from exhaustion anyway. I fell asleep any time I say or laid down.

Went to hear Dalai Lama in Fayetteville, AR. in May, spent all day sitting in folding chair, walking in the heat, couldn't understand a Thing. Very Depressing!

Had to sort through pictures of Ann and me, which to copy so I could have one, which to send to her family, etc. Have pictures I wanted saved, no time yet to organize them with Braille labels under them.

Last week I fell asleep both during silent meditation and in the doctor's office. Waiting a long time in armless chair, I almost fell out of it before getting onto exam table to sleep. Couldn't stay awake.

My sister's mother-in-law died of cancer. She had been active in the family for as long as she was physically able. I think she was relieved to die. That was Part of all that happened in May.

Luckily, no one has died this month, that I personally know, though I am aware that Every death causes Grief, in Norway, Somolia, wherever, it is the same.

Since Jan. 2007 I have moved six or seven times, not by choice. There was the ice storm of 2007 which made my mobile home uninhabitable. We moved to a dear friend's condo, and No one helped us due to disability. We had to go and stand in line, Ann cicn't have her wheelchair then and Couldn't. Fill out forms, I can't, on and on. The iced broken limbs were piled so high we couldn't leave the trailer park for a week.

Then to a house where little kid gangs roamed with knives, drive by shooting, thefts, we were robbed.

I bought a small house, too small, in May '07. Jan. 2008 a tornado rocked it on its foundation, cracking the foundation and we fought the insurance company for months, but they Refused to repair it. Floods in March that year made the already bad mold situation worse. I began having breathing problems. We spent many thousands of dollars repairing that house, but having already lived through cancer twice, I know you Cannot Buy back your health. I have one and a half lungs, we walked away from that home which went back to the bank in a "short sale."

In July 2008 we moved into a rent house, the final one where Ann and I shared a place, and I was forced into bankruptcy, couldn't pay mortgage on unlivable home I had bought And rent, And for all the repairs we put into the home I bought.

Ann died Feb. 1, 2011. I moved again. I forgot, in 2005, as I was recovering from my second round of chemo. we found our t was sitting on a sink hole, had to move It. Guess I can't count, that's only six moves in seven years.

I am learning to count on nothing, to know that I can die at any moment, and that a Home is only a place you stay for a while, until you die or move on. I'm Glad I personally never wanted to Own a home, didn't expect to. When politicians talk about the American Dream of Home Ownership I get disgusted. There are Many people in Europe who live in the same apartment or semi-detached home for Years and are Fine with it. But of course, They get things like child care, medical care, and have decent transportation systems. It is all in how you choose your priorities.
I would love to see the manufacturing ssector of our economy restored. There are things we have the ability to do which could make us Employed again. We could find out how to make solar technology cheaper, manufacture it, and Sell it to India's middle class and the Growing middle class in the cities of China. We could find out how to make organic farming Most productive, Without GMO's, then Sell the ideas in Book form, in Classes, etc. We could make the power generated by wind turbines Storable and portable, long-term. We could build highspeed rail systems for Amtrack's busiest corridors, and manufacture all kinds of vehicles to run on biodiesel Not made from food crops, but restaurant grease. We could retool cars, trucks, semis, busses, and motor cycles to run on this biodiesel. The Ozarks and the South in general, where Everything is fried in old time cooking would be Perfect places to set up grease based biodiesel plants. We could have Teachers of sewing to Mend clothes, instead of throwing them away and buying more from abroad, where some of them are made in sweatshops. Teachers could help gardeners, organic farmers, and parents with nutrition based on simple recipes which don't take hours to prepair. Working people have no Time for two hour meal prep. at the end of the day.

The American Dream as it Was is Done. And with multi-national corporations getting bail outs from our taxes, And having the ears of Congress and the President, I don't think My version of the American Dream will come to pass. But I Hope it will. There is enough work needing to be done to employ hundreds of thousands of Americans.

The problem, once again, is setting Priorities. Would you rather own a home and have a nice lawn which grows nothing, or live in a comfortable rental where there is an organic community garden and you Have to get to know your neighbors and Relearn how to cooperate with them?

Would you rather see healthy kids on the streets, attending school for Longer hours, learning a trade in highschool, or Junior High, or continue the rates of alcohol, and drug abuse, teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases we have now

Would you rather see Universal Healthcare or just keep what you've got for you and yours? I think the answers are obvious from our behavior. Do we recycle all we can, do we give tax breaks to multi-nationals And Small Business people for keeping jobs Here and Penalize them for Exporting jobs? Do we Keep large corporations from taking out 20 year patents on inventions or give them tax breaks, (after Closing corporate loopholes) for Ten year patents? Investment is crucial. But Not investment in the America that Was. We need an America which Can be!

Back to personal notes: I sometimes feel like I'm carrying my life around Very lightly, not wanting it to be taken yet, but trying to be ready at any time. And I feel like my living situation is just as precarious as my life. If my Social Security Disability check doesn't come in August, how many months can I stay here? I will not have the strength Or the bucks to set up anywhere else. How will a deaf-blind person survive in a homeless shelter? Will they force me onto the street each morning to go "look for work"? I can take showers in safety where I am, teach Braille on a volunteer basis to someone who needs it, give to Buddhist Global Relief to feed my fellow Americans, or to Convoy of Hope to continue helping in Joplin, this will all stop if I can't pay my rent. I can't donate large amounts now, but $25 here or there helps, and I share the food Ann and I have grown or friends have hunted for us. One deer can supply two people with meat for most of the year, if they are willing to eat beans with corn or rice, sometimes.

I have a lot of relationships, know many kind people, but have almost no Friends, people I trust to talk with about nearly anything. Ann was my closest Friend in the world. I miss her every day.

On the other hand, although I feel angry at her for leaving me in such a Mess, I am physically better able to cope with it than she would have been. I wouldn't have wished this year on her or anyone, most of the time.

I first had the energy to actually Cook something here on July 5th. Until then I lived on raw greens, bread bought from a store, cheese, organic apples, hummus. Again, from the effort of moving furniture and Unpacking, I'm not bothering to cook, eating far too much junk!

Needing time alone to feel what I've been keeping too busy to feel, and to Sleep!

Computer has been down, so this post is Far too long to read. But, makes me feel a bit better to write it, anyway.

Need the shower/tub combo fixed here, so far, landlord has done no repairs since I moved in. But luckily, nothing Major is wrong, yet. Scary though, is this how it will be here always, no repairs? I don't know.

The tiny business I was working on starting when Ann died uses fabric left over from weddings, curtain and some upholstry samples, old prom dresses, etc. Saturday night I stayed up listening to a blues show, moved furniture, and unpacked the containers which hold fabrics, by color. Major work, but If I could trust a concept of Home, a place I get to Stay for a while, this work almost makes me hope I can Try Again.

The happiest momehnts since I've moved here are when I found the Buddha statues! I sweated and dripped in the garage, unearthing them from atop the crushed artifical Christmas tree and elsewhere, then brought them in and made altar spaces for them in each room. Just a shelf, a corner of the computer hutch, etc.

Most people do not understand that the metal or resin or porcelain of a statue is Not what is being bowed to. In Europe when most people couldn't read, the cathedrals were built with frescos and stained glass windows to tell them Bible stories.

In Asia, when most people couldn't read, statues were made in specific ways to demonstrate by their shapes and gestures (the position of the fingers, closed or open eyes, the way of sitting) certain qualities or traits of the being the statue represented. So what is being shown respect by a bow, or asking for help W#ith a bow, is the Energy a particular statue represents.

Christians are taught to bow their heads and fold their hands when they pray, as a sign of submission and respect to God and Jesus. Buddhists show respect, love, or request help by Bowing to what a particular statue Represents, as shown by the way it is constructed.

Some Buddhists consider each statue a Being. Buddha Tara is a being who does many things, for example, as shown by the differing colors and positions her statues take. Other Buddhists consider the statues as Representing certain Energy Qualities. Medicine Buddha, for example represents compassion toward all who suffer from physical or mental illness and the wisdom and desire to heal these conditions. So it is this Compassion and this Wisdom Energy which one may bow to when giving thanks for or Asking for help.

As statues, I can "read" by touch, what another might "read" by looking at a picture of a Buddha. I can understtand the energy qualities shown by each statue by learning what is called the Iconography of Buddhist statues.

This should have been about Three blogs worth, but as I said, computer has been down. More than enough for now.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


The sound monitor in front of my talking alarm clock signals the bed shaker alarm to wake me up. First thing, put in "behind the ear" hearing aids.

Vibrating pager goes off when phone rings, as there is only one phone jack here. Not sure how to hook up answering machine to my amplified phone, E-mail works better for communication.

Grab fanny pack with amplified, large button cell phone before taking dog outside. Luckily, dog is not only guard and friend, but Dogbell also.

Fannypack also contains extra hearing aide batteries.

Haven't found extra loud smoke detector yet. When I do, I will climb on step stool and put it in place of ordinary one.

Use so many batteries for so many things, have invested in a solar battery charger and recharceable batteries of several sizes.

If not sure whether a friend has left on a light or not, use talking color detector as light detector also.

Have been fighting a battle with the DVD remote. To get the player to move from one episode of a show to another, at the moment, must open DVD holding tray and gently close again. I Don't know why. But in This way, I think I have Mastered the wretched thing!

Use "Pocket Talker" to listen to TV. Point micraphone in right direction, wear comfortable earphones. Works better for me than those FM. wireless transmiters.

TV is mostly Stupid, so read audio books, turn up volume on computer speakers when typing or reading with it, etc. Haven't had a chance to walk all of the way around the house with TV deliberately left loud, for soundproof analysis of house. So use "Pocket Talker" wich will also pick up conversation in room and other noises, to listen to DVD.s.

I am Thankful for the hearing I Do have, withoug aids I'm deaf, with them, Much improved!

Also I am Very thankful for the adaptive techniques I learned as a blind person, mark the oven with masking tape on the metal where the "off" position is. Then mark 250, 350, and 450 on dial. Match up markings to set oven, same for washer and dryer.

Touch pan handle to see if liquid is boiling, since I cannot hear it now. Use Braille timer and carry it into room with me. It, at least, has No batteries!

Have lit incense carefully and successfully for years, cooked, done laundry, cleaned, though occasionally miss a spot. Am having help relearning some of these things, with help of healthcare aide. The Worst is vacuuming! Have to lay the carpet mentally out in a grid pattern, vacuum each square one way, then the other direction (vertically and then horizontally) to try and get all dog fur up. Still sometimes miss some, same with broom sweeping.

Must use all talking appliances on loudest volume, answering machine is always turned up full blast.
Have an extra loud doorbell, haven't unpacked it yet. Use tactile markings on tape measure and self-threading needles to mend clothes. Use "Pen Friend" to mark colors of spools of thread and still need to see if I can use it to mark bobbins for sewing machine with seam guide.

I need to learn to speak ASL (American Sign Language) but will have to have individual tutor and probably buy DVD. series or book, (in Print, of course) to learn this language used by many deaf-blind people. Haven't done this yet. For most deaf-blind people, the struggle is learning adaptive techniques for coping with blindness. They must learn Braille, which bears no resemblance to print, except for using the same alphabet. I will learn AS, which is a different language than spoken or signed English.

These are all ways in which Some deaf-blind people function. All of these devices can be found online, or through Rehab. agencies for the blind and some such as ASL books can be found through Rehab. agencies serving the deaf.

Monday, July 18, 2011

"Winter's Bone" the book

Movie and book were Very close. I suppose the scenery in the movie must have been starkly beautiful, because it was described Perfectly in the book.

You know, it is bizarre how people always say wood smoke curling up from an old house in the hills or women beating clothes against rocks to wash them are Romantic. It's Not romantic to sleep in a bedroom where ice coats the Inside of the window, it's COLD! I spent some time with a family in Northeast Indiana who had dairy cattle. The thing Most crucial in the morning was to set a land speed record for putting on your clothes so you could Get to the wood stove and warm up. Thank heavens they Did have showers, which is what you took Before Bed, hoping the heat would last until you fell asleep. They also had a gas stove for cooking.

What Ree, the main character of "Winter's Bone" had to do to prove her father had died was horrendous. I was glad she had some place in her head to retreat to.

And I was Very sad when she said good-bye to Uncle Teardrop, because he was her last living male relative, who was willing to stand up for her.

You do what you have to do until you can't anymore. A book well worth reading. I will look for more by this author, but don't know what kind of chance I have of finding them in audio format.

Personal note: The cat ran away today. Front storm door frame flexes with the door, needs screwed back into the building, so for now if I lock it, it doesn't open. Glad for other security measures for Wooden door and he dog. Had to take dog outside through the messy garage Cat has been slipping out between my feet and gradually discovering the outside. He never ran away when my partner Ann was alive.

It was at least 100 degrees heat index today and he was gone about 8 hours. Finally, when I took the dog out again or bathroom break, I took the cat's bowl, called and shook it. Heard a terrified yowl which didn't Sound like my cat at all. But knew if it Was my cat he wouldn't be afraid of the dog.

So the dog and I backed up a foot or so and I put the bowl on the ground. One Hot cat which had the kind of tags mine is wearing came up.

I hugged him, grabbed the bowl and carried him inside while he struggled.

He was Ann's cat and I still have a Lot to do from the move, catching up on Dr. appointments, etc. I just don't seem to have the time to give him the attention he needs and he Resents sharing the bed with the dog.

Giving him treats seems Not to be rewarding him for coming back, but Teaching him it's ok to run off.

I may lose a cat-adoring friend over it, but am going to try and adopt him out to a Good home. I feel responsible for him, but cannot see or hear him. Letting him go will be a change for me. Always before I've kept the animals I adopted until they died of old age.

It will be sad to let Ann's cat go, but I think he will eventually be happier, with a true cat lover and a safer, hopefully bigger, fenced yard, if he's going to be an indoor-outdoor cat.

I love dogs, medium to large, and like most all animals, including cats. But if I had a small or even medium sized dog who could sneak away and did so, I would have to do the same thing. Although I'll be sad to let him go, there will be a hole where his presence used to be, it will be a Relief not to have to worry about him each time I open a door. Tonight when I fed the dog he ran out into the garage and won't come in. I fed and watered him as soon as I found him this afternoon, then gave him a regular supper later. Since he won't come in, I hope he enjoys the garage and that there is nothing poisonous out there for him to eat. Varmit!

He's a drama queen but that's a story for another day. Good night.

Saturday, July 16, 2011


What Are partners? Everyone thinks they know. Partners are an unmarried straight or gay couple. Are they always?

My partner was married twice. First to a man, clean and sober, who became a drug addict and user after they married. He became extremely violent toward her before leaving. At one point he was willing to offer her sexual services to friends for Favors, She was Not.

Her second marriage was to a man in a rebellious phase, whose dream was to go to law school. His wife was The lady who became my partner encouraged his dream and helped to support him financially and emotionally.

He encouraged her artistic work, but after going to law school he became more and more distant. Both of my partner's husbands had wanted children, as did she. She had nine miscarriages in pursuit of that dream.

Her second husband began hanging out with women lawyers and divorced her, as his first act as a lawyer.

When I first met her she had a lot of emotional baggag, which only increased as her undiagnosed disabilities worsened. She had experienced a lot of both neglect and abuse.

As for me, there was abuse in my family. Iwas blind and had moved back and forth between a state school for the blind and home, which Never felt safe. My father died a painful, lingering death for years. But he also gave me the only role model I had for being the best person I knew how to be. He faced long years of misery, then death with courage and curiosity, trying to understand how and why the world worked as it did. Was he perfect, no. But he was a bodhisattva for me.

Having endured abuse at the hands of men and women and neglect at the school where I lived for much of the year, I came with a lot of baggage of my own.

And there was my increasing deafness to deal with. But still we became partners.

I was able to give Ann a place to stay while she applied for Social Security Disability Insurance, which took several years. She drove us both places until she became unable to do so. We fought like fiends, but over time learned to Listen to one another.

We were Completely different in our communication styles and had to learn to accomodate the other person's differences, letting them express themselves in the way they needed to. We each learned skills the other person had and our discussions became more of a compromise in style.

We talked about the sexual feelings we occasionally had toward one another. Adding sex to a difficult relationship can either help or break it. Ann decided she had given committed relationships her best shot twice and just didn't know how to do it right. I had a confused sexual identity ad we both had triggers which made us afraid or enraged. So after a lot of thought we decided Not to ruin a good friendship by bringing sex into it. So were we partners?

We were caught in what I thought as a "Chinese sitdown" situation. This was an exercise we did in gym class at blind school and later for fun. Two people sit back to back and loop their arms through one another, bending them at the elbows for a secure hold. Then they try to stand up Together. If one person pushes too hard, they push the other person down. If one person doesn't push hard enough to stand up, the other person cannot Pull them up and both will fall back to the floor.

This kind of relationship is very dependent and Not as healthy as some other kinds of relationships. But we Did help each other.

We each worked out some of our Baggabe Issues with or On the other person. This means that at the end of our relationship each of us was more mentally healthy than when we began sharing living space. Ann supported me through surgery and chemotherapy, Twice.

I pushed her into going to the Dr. when she had an infected foot, because I knew about diabettes. As she became more physically disabled, I did more of the house and garden work, and she read the mail and did our bills. I helped her maintain a gluten free, low salt, low fat, diabetic diet and she became more healthy, growing long hair and fingernails for the first time since her teen years.

We talked about everything, shared everything so we each had enough. Together we found a nice place to live. I had more money and bought necessities she couldn't afford. Both of us bought her art supplies. We each supported the art work of the other. Ann helped me match colors for weaving, sewing, and bead work.

We fought a lot because we were so different, and we laughed a lot at the same things. We prayed for people together. We gardened together and processed food for the freezer together. We talked about unusual dreams we had. We listened to music together and separately and sometimes watched TV together. We read a Lot of audio books together in the evenings as we ate supper.

I can't make omlets, or cornmeal and spice battered fried chicken. Ann made both of these dishes Wonderfully. I make scrambled eggs with lots of veggies. and cheese. And I am Still not sure how to keep baked coated chicken from becoming greasy, yuck!

So were we partners? We helped each other in every significant way I can think of. We never stole from one another, struck one another, threw things, those were basic ground rules easy for both of us to observe from day one. We always did our best, (sometimes better than others) to treat one another with respect and kindness. And when one of us failed, we Worked to work it out.

We worked as hard or harder than any married couple I've met to get along and live as happily as we knew how. And we were friends for ten years before Ann's health crashed and she did not wish to go back home. But we never engaged in sex with one another.

It's funny and was to both of us, many people assumed we were a lesbian couple. They were so sure that we just let them think so, figuring that if they liked us, we were doing our gay and lesbian friends a favor.

There are said to be several types of sexual orientation, straight, gay or lesbian, transgender, and intersex. Butt there are also people, for reasons of our own, who choose to keep our sexuality to ourselves, or not to engage in sexual behavior at all. We have a right to be accepted, whether or not you understand us.

One of the most alive people I ever knew was a non-disabled child of incest. This person was bright, had a wicked sense of humor, was kind, took trips by herself to see what she love of the u.S. landscape, and was active in her church. She was also a wonderful cook. But she chose not to marry or have kids because she didn't want to risk bringing disability to them.

My partner was a woman, I am a woman, if I were lesbian I would say so. I am not, deal with it.


I started blogging to have a way to express how I felt and experienced the world after the death of my sighted, hearing, but physically disabled partner of 20 years.

What I am Not sure about are safety issues. So I have put no profile info. up, except what I say in postings. As I'm not interested in dating at this time, why put up a picture? As it is frightening to be deaf-blind and live independently, I don't know how to communicate in a way which does not attract negative garbage.

I have had friends ask how to get to my blog. When I tell them that to the best of my knowledge it is
they say they can't find it. As my earlier post about the uselessness of standard tech. support demonstrates, I cannot call on standard tech. support to give them more help in finding this blog.

So, I'm not quite sure what to do. It's a good thing I'm mostly writing for myself, because I don't have the technical skills to screen out E-mails, if I answered a bad one, and no tech. support is there to help either.

Is anyone else a disabled blogger who lives independently and has struck a balance between two-way communication and safety?

I'd be interested in learning, but NOT the hard way.

Blogger for users with disabilities

I will have to check my version of browser to see if it will be supported in future by

In the meantime, I would like the "Blogger Team" to please put on a blindfold, then point the mouse and click on the icon to the right of the green bunny, or whatever it is.

Many people with disabilities are living well Under the Federal Poverty Level. Many of us have computers a decade old or More. We Might be able to come up with the bucks to replace the hardware. But specialized Software, adaptive devices which allow us to speak what we want the computer to do, or Screen Reading software, no Chance!

I Hope Blogger will take Boby recommendations (ADA recommendations) into account as it continues to update.

Those of us with disabilities are looking at probable cuts in Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income. We can't count on anything improving financially in the future, any more than unemployed people can.

Every time I contact Tech. Support for Anything, from Any Company, the conversation goes something like:

"Ok, now what I need you to do first is tell me what lights are on, on your modem."

"I'm blind, I can't see to do that. All I can tell you is that a bit of heat seems to be coming from the left most light and the one just to the right of that, but no heat is around the third light."

"Right, but which color is the light that isn't heating up?"

"I am Totally blind and can't give you that information."

"Have you tried unplugging your modem for a few minutes then plugging it back in?"

"Yes. And I still can't get onto the Net."

"Push the Reset button."

"Where is it?"

"It's that little Green button on the back."

Etc. I say there isn't a button, the tech. says I need a small pointed object to push it, only Then do I figure out it is Inset into the device, it is not a protruding Button at all.

Another conversation:

"Click on the green bunny at the top right of the screen and tell me what the hour glass does."

"I would like to, but I'm blind. I cannot See the screen."

"Oh, how amazing, you use a computer and your blind? That's great. Now the green bunny is located . . ."

"I can't See to point a Mouse (rodent)."

"Well it isn't hard, you can Drag and Drop . . ."

"I must use Keyboard Commands to make my computer do Anything. Do you know the Keyboard Command to move the green bunny?"

"Sure, just click on the . . ."

If the technician were from a different country where blind people rarely have the opportunity to achieve any independence, this conversation might make sense. The Technician would have No Frame of Reference for a Blind person Using a Computer. It would be like announcing to him or her that a Martian is munching the surge protector.

I am deaf enough not to be able to understand soft-voiced English speakers who will not raise their voices. Sometimes I find the kindness and Attempts to help Greater among overseas technicians.

But these are American, U.S. Tech. Support? people!

So, I always write ignored E-mails asking how much trouble it would be to have One technician for the U.S. who Knew about adaptive computer technology. Well, what's Your answer?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Custom and Culture

Custom and Culture

I made a hard decision when my partner was diagnosed with Type II diabetes. It was to Stop making and eating fry bread. You've never had fry bread? Well it tastes Great and there are all kinds of it!

Basically it is wheat flour, baking powder, liquid, salt and fat. But there are lots of kinds and flavors. I've had the pleasure of eating fry bread with sweet milk, sour milk, with yeast added, (kind of a cross between fry bread which is flat and round and loaf bread) and then there are sopapillas, a close relative, which can be stuffed with anything, chili, for example, or drizzled with honey or dusted with powdered sugar.

Fry bread can be eaten with gravy over it, with dried apples in it, dipped in to wonderfully, viciously, hot chili, and topped with anything you like. It is crisp and brown on the outside and either heavy or soft and light on the inside. It can be used as a taco rap.

So why stop eating such a versatile, delicious food hot from the skillet? One word, HEALTH.

First, how do I know if I'm getting genetically modified wheat (GMO wheat)? Wheat, corn, and soy beans are the food Most commonly genetically altered and sprayed with particular pestacides, made just for them. You can get more crop yield this way, but farmers can be put in hock, just buying the particular fertilizers and pestacides and herbacides to go With GMO crops.

I respect farmers, especially Family farmers. Between their use of chemicals and the dangers of farm machinery, they live at a High risk for Serious illness and accident. No farmers, no food, pretty simple. But I don't want cancer again, Or diabetes, so I don't eat GMO foods when I can avoid them.

I also stopped eating fry bread, which I loved, because of what it does to the body. The lard which can be mixed into it and some of the oils it is fried in can clog up arteries, leading toward heart trouble. The white bleached wheat flour with which it is usually made turns into sugar Very quickly in the blood! High blood sugar and fat Both help promote the development of Type II diabetes! And That is one Nasty disease. Add a little honey, sugar, or syrup and you've just dumped sugar on white flour which Turns into sugar Very fast in the bloodstream. Use beer for your liquid ingredient and you've just dumped in More Empty Calories, calories without necessary vitamins or minerals, or fiber in them.

Before GMO wheat came along I made fry bread with whole wheat flour. It didn't taste as good, but it worked. Still, there was the issue of too many carbohydrates in the diet and the grease. Bummer!

Fry bread is a wonderful food if you don't have much grocery money. It's cheap and easy to make. I know it is part of Native cultures in N. America. I once gathered up a bunch of different fry bread recipes from different places, to try them all. They were all cheap and easy to make. I liked them all, uh-oh.

As a Rehab. Teacher of newly blind people I worked with many people who had type II diabetes. Some had lost toes, some had lost legs. All were going blind and most had Serious heart trouble or strokes. Some died in their mid-30's or forties. It was a Horrible thing to watch. Almost All of them Knew they shouldn't eat certain foods, but they did anyway. Part of the reason was that most of them were poor and had hard lives. And some just didn't care.

I know what it's like not to care what happens to you. But I've seen such awful suffering due to diabetes that I Try not to let that particular disease into my life. I never want cancer again! But at least if one is a terminal cancer patient, there are drugs for the pain. This isn't true with diabetes which can take Years to kill you.

So when my partner was diagnosed with Type II diabetes, we gave away everything sweet in the house. We found healthy friends and gave them our white flour, sugar, ice cream, cookies, etc. Yes, my partner still died, no one can stop death. But she didn't suffer for Years from diabetes first.

If I had to guess, I would Guess that Native women made fry bread from the flour full of bugs which they got from the Army back in the early reservation days. It would be a way to feed a hungry family on almost Nothing. Flour, water, grease, a bit of lye water for levening, and a bit of salt. It was a wise creation for the conditions of that time. When I was a kid my mother used to take a pound of hamburger, crumble it up small and make a Big bowl of gravy, which we ate over cheap white bread with the green onions, tomatoes, and lettuce we grew. About twelve people could be fed in this way.

Another factor is that we usually don't work as physically hard as we used to. If you ate a bread and hamburger gravy meal but worked physically hard for hours at a time, it wasn't Quite as dangerous as eating such a meal and watching TV or taking a nap, or sitting in front of a computer. Your body might Use some of that fat and starch while working cattle or gardening.

Even though my partner is gone, I have given up fry bread and will not go back to eating it. I miss it, but I Won't miss the effects of diabetes it plays one part in helping to cause.

Instead of looking at fry bread as "part of Native culture" I think of it as food which poor people have to eat, brought with European settlement of the continent and bad for humans.

There was no Wheat here before European settlement, and no Sugar either. And there Were no Genetically Modified crops.

I'm Not blaming European Americans for all of our troubles. I am saying that the Older diets of corn, beans, greens, berries, nuts, and meat from animals Not injected with antibiotics and other medicines was better. It was also one Hell of a lot harder to produce!

But today we can make better choices for ourselves: grow gardens, buy from local farmers who grow healthy food, hunt animals who Haven't been grazing on genetically altered crops, and buy organic when possible.

I hate to see people destroying themselves in the name of Culture and Custom.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


I have pets, so I wash my hands a lot. Birds can carry diseases to mamals which eat them. So though neither my cat nor my dog are interested in eating the canary and his two finch buddies, I always wash my hands after feeding, watering, or cleaning the cage, of the birds. Cats and humans can trade colds and flu. I wash my hands after changing the cat's food or water bowls. And dogs, my favorite animals, are sometimes just Gross, another reason to wash up.

But after my partner died I was so out of it for a while and then so busy coping with all that had to be done that I Stopped washing organic veggies from our local health food store. My possibly foolish reasoning was, "I used to eat things right out of the garden, swallowed a bug or two by accident, and that didn't hurt me. So what will a bit of dirt on organic veggies do?" So far, the answer is Nothing.

I uses to make home made eggnog with raw eggs, too. But after learning about the lives of laying hens at factory farms, and with all of the E-coli (or is it E-Koli? Haven't read That word in Braille) outbreaks I Don't do that anymore.

I try to follow te dietary reccomendations of Dr. David Servan-Schreiber, M.D. in his book, "Anticancer: a New Way of Life". This means I eat a lot of dark organic greens raw, collards, kale, etc. and broccoli. If it has a strong enough flavor, (I love chapotle and other peppers) I like dipping these veggies in hummus. Not having to rense them, dry them, then eat them saves a lot of time. I also buy organic apples as a treat, because I Really like eating the peal.

I have a friend, Highly alergic

to penicillin who cannot eat chicken bought from a store at all. She has a reaction to that drug from Cooked chicken.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Someone Has Always Paid

For every benefit that a people enjoys, Someone has Always paid a price. In S. Africa it was Nelson Mandela and many other African and mixed race people, many of whom lost teir lives. In the U.S. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Fred Hampton, Medger Evers and Malcom X, depending on your point of view. Many men and women (nearly all African Americans) were beaten and jailed.

In Native America N. and S., it has Been Anna Mae Aquash, Leonard Peltier, and the parents of Rigoberta Menchu. In many places it is tribes like the Tunica and Houma peoples of Louisiana who have not received recognition, and thus No Federal Help.

Among blind people those who paid for my civil rights are the piano tuners, chair caners, and basket weavers and beggars of the 1940's. Among deaf-blind people it was Helen Keller, who mastered ten Differing systems of Braille and literally read in an unheated house until her fingers Bled. She convinced Congress to standardize American Braille, And helped push for the establishment of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, which has a branch in each state, delivering via mail Braille, large print, and recorded, " talking books" to print disabled people. When an organization for the blind refused to pay her and Annie Sullivan a decent salary they said Forget It, and joined a circus.

In recent times we have had pioneers like Mr. Richard Kenney, former president of the Hadley School for the Blind, educating people around the world via Braille, large print, and taped materials, in correspondence courses ranging from poetry to computer skills. And there is Robert J. Smithdas, of the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youth and Adults.

If I have misspelled any of these names I offer my honest apology. I cannot know how to spell a name which I haven't read in Braille.

It seems to me that there is a fundamenal difference between those who pay the price for the advancement of themselves and their people and those who are asked by our Government to pay or risk paying the ultimate price, their lives, for a political goal.

The Dalai Lama is Very careful when talking of the Chinese Government's politics to Differentiate Between the Chinese People and their Government.

In the same way, I respect our service men and women. But I do Not always agree with what our Government asks them to do.

My uncle was among those who payed a heavy price to teach the American public to Differentiate between returning Vietnam veterans and the Government which sent them to war. He was from California. And when he returned from three tours of duty in Vietnam people spat on him, shrieked at him, calling him a "baby killer" and much more. He felt completely betrayed by his own people. And it was many veterans of the Vietnam War who gave All of us the Americans with Disabilities Act. I thank you and am Sorry you suffered so Much!

The reasons service men and women sign up to join the military are honorable. They may want a college education to better the lives of themselves and their families. This is a Commendable goal. They may want to protect our country from attacks like the one we sustained on Sept. 11, 2001. This is Also a Commendable goal. So I have no quarrel with our returning service men and women. I think they are Entitled to the best medical or mental health care we can provide. They are also Entitled to our respect!

But I did and still do disagree with the Government's decision to send troops into Iraq in the first place. I have always thought that our Government was heavily influenced by multi-national corporations to engage in that war. Iraq has the second largest amount of oil under its land, after Saudi Arabia. And companies which provide everything from "security" for American personnel to military hardware and armaments have done Extremely well in business during the war in Iraq.

Yes, Saddam Hussein was a despot who gassed his own people, there is No Way in which I can condone that. But We, as a nation, cannot Afford the loss of life of service men and women and the civilian casualties caused by going after every Despot who won't do what our Government and its corporate partners want! That is why I am Also against our intervention in Libya. They too have oil, by the way.

On a personal level, those paying the prices of disability and death in Iraq, Afghanistan, and now Libya, are doing so for honorable reasons. But I distrust the reasons of corporations to whom the deaths of our service people and the civilians of other countries mean little, and our Government which I think listens to Those corporate interests Far Too Often.

It is again, honorable Americans who are paying a price, along with Non-combatant civilians, but who are they paying it For this time?

Monday, July 11, 2011



I have lived both hard and long
and found this world to be stoney.
I must become like stone to survive;
deep reaching for the ancient timeless things within,
patient and enduring, weathered and eroded by time,
yet unchanging in steadfastness.

But there have been patches of sunshine along my way.
And in some ways I must be like Sun;
blazing with clean anger at injustice,
intense, hotly burning,
striding South through Summer's long grasses,
a warrior afire yet loving.

Perhaps it is best to be like Sun On Stone;
warm intense unchanging toughness,
sculpted by Water and Wind
or Emotion and Circumstance,
and ever burning with a Ceaseless Fire,
in search of Enduring Truths.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Blues on a Saturday Night

It's Saturday night, I can get our blues program on the radio. But of course it's not Our blues show anymore. Nothing is Ours anymore. I tried listening to the show alone and was Amazed at how Boring it was.

It took me a couple of minutes to figure out Why I was so bored. When We listened to it together we played instruments, clapped and created rythms with our hands, or sang along. But the Biggest difference was that during songs or performances neither of us liked, we turned down the radio and Talked. Then when we heard something more interesting, up went the radio and we enjoyed the music.

I remember that two or three weeks after my partner's death people I was close to started slipping in hints about "moving on with your life." I stopped mentioning the situation to them but occasionally they still say this. When they first started I didn't even know for sure Why my partner had died.

This means that people are still in shock during funerals, numbed out with all of the work which must be done. And what the blazes did my friends think I Was doing, anyway, if not "Moving on?""

In Feb. I was contacting everyone who needed contacting. March was for planning the Memorial get together at our rented house, no bucks to rent anywhere else. This meant setting up visual displays, working with my partner's sister on printing up signs for the displays and a program to let people know th order of the formal part of our get together, asking for help with food, inviting people, finding people to do readings, choosing the music,asking a friend to be Parking Director, all of it! We strung up Christmas lights around the display shelves of some of my partner's favorite things, my sister and her family brought folding chairs from their Church, another sister brought two kinds of cookies and the third videotaped the gathering for my partner's family in Indiana. Her family sent Lovely flowers! Major Work!

April was the month of paper work (I don't read print and there were Massive amounts of it) what to save, what to send to my partner's family, (pictures) what to shred, and donations. Used clothing, used dishes which didn't all match, used orthepedic shoes, used colored pencils, water color paints, crayons, they All had to go somewhere

May I packed. I packed or distributed all of the used belongings (they were All used) of a 7 room and 2 bathroom house. Return the adaptive devices given by the Independent Living Center which were still in good shape To them, to be redistributed to Other low-income people with disabilities. I had help packing a few boxes, three or four, but I packed the rest.

June was finishing up packing, donating anything overlooked, and cleaning the house. I would Never have had a fine Memorial Get Together Or had the boxes to be moved marked in Print, Or gotten the house looking good, without the help of a Wonderful and kind heaalthcare aide!

June was moving and trying to learn my way around a new house and yard, coping with the dog being sick, blogging for sanity, (and posting After internet was restored) and beginning to Unpack.

If that's not moving on, what the hell Is it?

I was introduced to some neighbors by my sister, but after that they haven't spoken, no surprise. But I am Very happy that the people I made friends with at Sangha and my former neighbors to whom my partner introduced me, ARE Still Friends! And I am Extremely Thankful to have the help of the Excelent healthcare aide in Unpacking!

It is good to see some of my Braille books back up on shelves, they are old and valued friends. But it sure is Exhausting to haul them around from one room to another! Braille is Bulky and Heavy. The only things heavier by size are books in large print.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Smoking Ban in Springfield, Mo. and

The voters in Springfield Mo. Passed a law this Summer which said no one could smoke in a public place. I have been told that the law used to say people could smoke in Smoking Areas of restaurants and bars, and within fifty feet of any public building. Of course, this new law is already being tested in the courts.

I don't smoke and don't like breathing in other people's smoke. I was glad when restaurants started having non-smoking areas. But I wonder why the people of Springfield voted in this law.

Was it new medical information on what is now being called, "third-hand smoke?"

I approve of the new gross warnings about the effects of tobacco on cigarette packs. Maybe they should put similar gross pictures of domestic violence, car crashes, vomit, etc. on alcohol packaging.

But for all of my dislike of smoke and drunkenness (which is different than a truly Occasional drink) I could not have voted for this law. If I go to a restaurant, I sit in the non-smoking section. If I go to an outdoor event where people smoke I move away. Bars, I usually skip because I can neither breathe well nor Hear well inside them. The only advantage this law brings me on a Personal level is that I could go to see blues performers in Springfield, if the bars are smoke free.

My concern about this law is it seems to go too far in regulating personal behavior. As I understand this law, people can now only smoke in their cars in public parking lots and in their homes and yards and the homes and yards of friends. Regulating behavior in public is hard to enforce, if it isn't threatening, criminal, or very obnoxious. Don' our police in Most places have Enough to do? Springfield is a college town, how will such a law be enforced on campuses?

I don't like rules against Muslim women wearing bourkas and face veils on public streets.

No, the two behaviors are Not the same. One is a personal choice to risk one's health and the other is a personal choice to express one's religious beliefs by dressing in a particular way. The motivations Are Different. But Both of these laws, one in Springfield, Mo. And the other under discussion in several European countries impinge on personal freedom too much for me to be comfortable with either of them.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

June 28th, 2011

Went back to the house today for the last time. Had many mixed feelings.

When I first walk in I always think "Oh, what a lovely house" or "Oh, I love this house!" But what I love is not just the arrangement of the house. What I'm thinking of is the day my partner and I first saw it together and realized that together, we could afford it.

Or I'm thinking of the den, the "chill out room" where we sat eating supper and listening to audio books together or talked over some interesting event, or where my partner helped me with a sewing pattern.

Somehow when I'm there I always manage to forget all of the annoying things which were gradually getting worse and Not getting Fixed. This must be the beginning of "rose colored glasses time".

When children are involved, this "the past is Only seen with rose colored glasses" thing can cause a great deal of pain. The kids remember a Lot about growing up and the things which form all of us are Not all "rose colored"!

But now I Do begin to understand the decision not to hold onto the frustrations with one another which keep bubbling up in many if not most relationships, the fights, the hurtful words. It is a decision to forgive, Not a decision to Lie. Lying is when "rose colored glasses" become Toxic to the children of parents who seem to have reconstructed the world to fit what they Wanted it to be.

As a part of normal grieving after a sudden death, with no time to talk or say good-bye, I have felt guilt about arguments past. I have wished we could talk now, since I know my partner sees things from a Much bigger perspective. And I have wished she would say she understands me now and forgives my faults.

But since I don't know that Anything Like this will happen, I have to choose to let it all go, except the love and beneficial things we did bring to one another's lives. This is Not to Lie, Not to pretend that life together wqas easy or that we weren't as opposite as day and night in many ways. In some ways I'm not sure we Ever completely understood one another. But we grew a relationship with a lot of good in it!

When I have to make a decision about whether to say or do a thing I try to ask myself, "Who will it help if I . . .". And in the case of remembering old arguments, I believe the answer is "No one!"

This doesn't mean I choose to forget the basic differences between us. If I remember the Basic differences in our natures then I may understand and empathize With another person who is Similar to my former partner better. But in terms of holding onto the pain, I don't see that it will help me or anyone else.

Back to my visit to our former rent home today. I was there to meet the DAV and donate what I could. It hurt to see items they didn't want and just set them out on the street with a "FREE" sign on them. I hoped my partner Wasn't watching! I felt guilty, did I Try my Best to find Homes for these things? I could have begged the landlord for a bit more time, he might have granted it. I could have paid another partial month's rent, while trying to adopt out her mobility scooter which needed new batteries and for which the key was lost, and a few other such things. But I don't think the result would have been much better and I Know I would have become Much More Exhausted than I already Am!

People immediately began descending on the free things, literally, As they were being carried out! In the Ozarks many people repair things to sell in addition to working one or two jobs. I can only pray that the people who end up receiving these things love and are helped by them.

I Needed to be Done with that house. Sitting on the floor, waiting for people to come and take the last bits away, I fell into a dull, glum, depressed place. The pawpaw trees are being eaten alive by Japanese beetles which have just reached this part of the country in massive numbers in the past few years. We planted those trees together along with a peach and pear tree. The cooking and medicine herbs have been overrun by weeds, I've had no time to keep up the yard. I hope the fruit trees survive. Who will care for them now?

I remember thinking as a couple of friends and I were loading up a car and pickup and people were going through the "FREE" stuff, "So This is how a family dies, when there are no kids."

I was glad to leave. There had already been More than Enough time to walk through all of the rooms and say good-bye.

It's SO Hot! I ache in lots of places and want to Sleep for a Week! These 12 to 16 hour days are Hard, even though I am Blessed with air conditioning for a lot of this time.

But tomorrow is a vet appointment for the dog, soon I Must work with my Braille student, and tonight we had Sangha, our weekly Buddhist meeting.

I have never been able to meditate as it is described in Buddhist literature, although many of the techniques I have found there are very beneficial to me. So I just sat quietly breathing in time to prayer thoughts for happiness and health and self-love to come to the people I know need it, according to their own willingness to receive it. The Buddhas Won't run Over someone's will. Then I expanded these wishes out to all the places in the world I could think of where there is armed struggle or war. (A Lot, unfortunately). Then to all beings.

Since I am unable to sit quietly and just Note my passing thoughts, or my breathing, I need more "active meditations" like the one I did today. It was a good and peaceful time.
Now I need to type out a print list of errands to run tomorrow and a list for the aide who helps me work around my disabilities.
Too Much Money, or Fear of Death?

I have noticed a very strange thing concerning the possessions of my partner who passed away in Feb. People seem freaked out by my use of anything she left behind.

The death of my friend and partner was caused by hypothermia. There was no skin or any other condition which would contaminate soap, lotion, her mattress, etc. But No One will accept her Perfectly clean mattress and box springs, although they are made to fit an antique custom made bed created by her grandfather.

Similarly, people seem to think I'll catch My death from using her soap, clean socks and sleep shirts, lotion, or remaining toothpaste. (Of course, I threw away her tooth brush.) As I couldn't pay the rent and have had to move to a smaller home, these things my partner left behind are Gifts to me, which will save me a lot of money in the long run.

When my partner first came to live with me she asked how Anyone could Survive on the $600 per month she received. She had always worked low wage jobs, (waitress, motel maid, etc.) I didn't know how to explain it because I have always lived in a particular way. But gradually, she got it.

When a bar of soap is almost gone, stick it on Another bar of soap. Use All of the toilet paper on each roll. Chop as much of a tender broccoli stalk as you can into a salad. Tougher veggie. Stalks can either make compost for the garden or be frozen, then broken up into stews or soups cooked in a slow cooker. You can Mostly cover up the taste of foods you don't like, (stalks from greens) with a careful use of spices. Rags go through a cyclical existence: clothing, doll clothes or scrub rags or kitchen towels, scrub rags, tomato ties, disintegration.

Unfortunately, clothing which is imported is now cheaper than home made clothes. But Mending and patching are Very useful skills. Re-use fabric softener sheets or skip them if it makes no difference whether a garment is Softened or not. Use cloth napkins which can be tossed in the was and cleaning rags to wipe up spills, instead of paper towels.

In the old days it was like this. I'm Not suggesting going back to once a week baths, scrubbing clothes on a wash board, or hanging them out on a line in the freezing wind. I can do and have done these things and do not miss Any of them.

After my grandmother died and was buried, relatives went to her government subsidized home and divided up her possessions. I asked for any left over food which was still good. We found spices, bags of rice, and some commodity cheese in the freezer. Each time I ate something she had Given me I said Thank You to my grandmother and felt close to her.

I also needed a mattress, as the springs in mine were poking holes through the surface fabric. As no one else wanted my grandmother's guest room bed and dresser, I was given this also. I am still using the dresser and have passed on the bed frame to someone who needs it.

Is it that most people have so much money that they can afford to throw away the ordinary life sustaining gifts of their loved ones and/or relations, after those people have died?

Or is it a fear of death? When I use something my partner once used, (a pan, soap, or her blanket) I feel close to her and thank her for gifting my life with these useful things.

Everybody's heard of the "Give Away" or "Potlatch" after the death of someone. But except for donating clothing to a charity, no one seems to use those things closest to the person who has died, even if they Can use them. I donated all but a few pieces of my partner's clothing, her dishes, her orthopedic shooes, and her Unopened tooth paste and Soaps. She lived her life in a loving way and I know her wish was to help others. Almost Everything she had has been given to some person or some agency which uses that item/s.

But I Kept items which were partially used and expensive, bottles of shampoo and conditioner, her bed coverings, etc. As I find out what I Truly Do use there will probably be more items to donate.

It takes work and time to find the right agency for the right item. But I am Horrified sometimes by the amount of possessions including clothing and canned and other preserved foods which are just Dumped

I am not a hoarder, but why not Use Up those things left to me which no one else wants?

Monday, July 4, 2011

Fourth of July, Independence Day

I am thankful to live in this country where I can say what I want and belong to the religious views of my choice. Thank all of you Veterans for serving and I pray that All of you will come home safe and Receive the assistance you need.

Dear Mr. President, Dear members of Congress, both Democrat and Republican!

Whenever our young men and womenn go to war YOU are CHOOSING to take on a DEBT, for at Least ONE GENERATION! Do you know or Care that One in every Five homeless people in this country is a Veteran? You Should.

When we ask our young people to put their minds and bodies at risk for us and they come home Wounded, in body or mind or Both, You, as well as WE are Responsible for Helping them.

The wars (three now, at least) in which you have Chosen to engage are putting people in situations where the friend looks just Like the "enemy".

My father fought in Korea and walked through the snows on mountains in a Cast. My uncle, (only 9 years older than me) fought in Vietnam. They both came home changed forever and it took my uncle years to be able to live a fairly normal life. By then, of course, he was ill from Agent Orange and other chemicals dropped in Vietnam.

He came home to be spit on and be called a "baby killer".

Fellow Americans, Wake Up! Don't you know that in Any War All Kinds of people die? Yes, babies, mothers, grandmothers, grandfathers, and children. So Look at what War Really Is and Stop blaming the Veterans, the President, or the Congress!

Did you and I Vote for a President, Senator, oor Representative who wanted war? Unfortunately, I voted for President Obama, in the belief that he would try to keep us Out of More wars and bring our Service men and women Home. I was wrong. (Grown-ups Can change their minds.)

I think the "War Powers Act" should be envoked, forcing President Obama to get Congressional approval for our war in Libya.

All of you in Congress who whine and tantrum about debt, how much is the war in Libya costing us per day? Why are you mostly Going Along with it?

An executive of a multinational corporation earned nineteen Million dollars last year. Who Deserves Nineteen Million dollars a year while Veterans are homeless and there is talk of cutting social programs for seniors and people with Disabilities? Get a Grip, people! My Oncologist, who helped to save my Life and those of Others didn''t make anything Close to Nineteen Million Dollars last year.

I think our Government has been in the control of multi-national companies, who have no more loyalty to our country than to Mexico, China, or any other place where they export jobs. This means we need a Grass Roots Movement of "Everyday People" to say ENOUGH. Otherwise, what does it matter if the President, Senator, or Representative in Washington is a Democrat or a Republican or a Tea Party activist?

I say ENOUGH of the ridiculous Supreme Court decision that a corporation (which may have no particular loyalty to our United States) has All of the Rights of an individual Citizen of our nation. And ENOUGH to asking our soldiers to kill civilians in Libya, Without the approval of either the American people Or Congress, in order to "protect civilians."

Our Veterans deserve to have that money spent for "regime change" in Libya spent on Their Medical Care and Housing!

And ENOUGH to CEO's salaries of nineteen million dollars per year and More, which "cannot be taxed without hurting economic growth." They Aren't facing any taxes Now and do You see our economy growing by leaps and bounds? I don't!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

June 24 Post

It just turned midnight. I was so Frustrated at not having furniture containing my business supplies where I could Use it that I did a bit of solo furniture moving earlier. It was a good way to work off some anger and grief.

Every time I go back to our old rent house to clean or find something I need (like Dish soap) it's weird! I know my way around Instantly, know Every jog and turn, even outside, but it's not Home anymore.

Then I come back here and my mind confuses the patterns of the old place with This place, making it even Harder to find my way around! And I don't really feel like This is home Either! I make a familiar turn only to find myself in the wrong room, or against Another Pile of Boxes!

If I'm here for a day or two without going back to the old house then I begin to feel comfortable. But this going back and forth is Rotten, both for my sense of knowing where I am and for the emotions.

The big couch my partner had since the early 1980's is still holding up.

After cleaning their today I layed down on it alone, in that Big, Empty, house, big enough for a power wheelchair to turn around.

I was So tired I fell into this dozing state, not really awake or asleep. And I remembered the times we had sat together and talked on that couch, the times we had prayed for specific people together, while sitting there, where in the house we were when we prayed for others, and my partner yelling at me from that couch, I sat in a chair, learned Very early never to be within arm's reach of an angry person, couldn't ever Unlearn that one, even when I Knew no physical violence would be offered. Neither of us would put up with That! Been there, lived with it, done with it altogether!

And I started crying and asking questions, but then someone scared the bleep out of me, woke me up, pounding on the door. It was a lady who needed a bedframe and I don't. So we were scheduled to meet and this is Why I was waiting in the first place.

After getting the bed frame she drove me home. I'm not good at chirping cheerily at the best of times, and this Wasn't the best of times. I was civil, and more friendly by the time we'd been driving a couple of minutes, but that was all.

It was assumed by those who chose to make a gift of their time to move my stuff (and I'm Not being sarcastic, it was a Gift in time and gasoline.) that my new rent house is too small for that couch. But I remember when it was new and I was Horrified at the price my partner's spouse, (who has passed away) paid for it. But as it Has lasted 29 years and only needs a good vacuuming, it turns out he knew what he was doing.

So silly as it might seem, that couch has a lot of history and memories in it for me and I want it in my home. It traveled with my partner to three states and all around in S. Mo.

I did not know if anyone would help me move it or if I'd have to rent a U-Haul truck and hire a crew. But the man who took the bed frame to his co-worker's place said he'd come back for it.

So when I got home I moved a big supply chest to one room from another, put two book cases where the chest had been and Heaved a love seat which was heavy because it folds out into a single bed Out of the living room and Into my office. Then I moved two chairs, a foot stool, and repositioned an end table.

No shin-shaterers (coffee tables) in the middle of the floor for Me!

To move the love seat through the office door I had to try turning it upside down, (still too wide) then stand it on end, (Got it!). I myself Cannot Believe I Moved all this heavy stuff Alone!

So I immediately took a muscle relaxer and know that I will Surely feel like I lost a fight tomorrow, unless the Holy Beings helping me survive this move in a mostly sane manner were also loaning me some energy!

Yes, with the love seat I did scratch the office door paint, Wonderful! So, shall I try getting it repaired immediately at my expense? I decided that before I got done putting All of the furniture where I wanted it there might be more than One ding to the new paint, though I don't Want Any. So I had better just go ahead and get it all in place, Then do repairs. I'm fried, toast, (exhausted) outta here! Later.
June 24 Post


What is deaf-blindness? It means that a person so described has a significant visual impairment, and either is legally blind or has a progressive eye condition which will lead to becoming legally blind. The same person also has a significant hearing loss, usually from moderate to profound. Many deaf-blind people wear hearing aids and some choose cochlear implants.

But most people I have become acquainted with who are deaf-blind first have a loss of hearing and must deal with a loss of vision later, from childhood years through middle age. By mid-life, the deaf-blind people I have had the honor of becoming acquainted with have severe vision loss, though many still have some usable vision, with the help of ttechnology.

Most deaf-blind people are a part of Deaf Culture to some extent, as they have become partially or completely deaf before encountering severe vision loss. This means that they speak American Sign Language, often reject cochlear implants, and have more in common with the Deaf Community than with those who are blind and hearing. But each person is different and uses a differing method of communicating. Some speak and understand ASL, by manually tracking the signs spoken by a hearing interpreter or another deaf person. Some deaf-blind people prefer to have an interpreter or a deaf friend sign into their hands, using the manual alphabet called Finger Spelling. Other deaf-blind people communicate by reading in large print or Braille, what someone else has e-mailed or personally typed into a machine. And some have enough hearing that, communication is possible, with help, by using many amplifying devices.

For most people who are deaf-blind, there is a constant readjustment to increasing losses of either hearing, sight, or both. It as difficult! As Helen Keller said, "Blindness isolates you from things, deafness isolates you from people." I think This is why the term Deaf-Blind is written in that order. Though surveys about disability show that more people fear blindness than fear deafness, I think isolation from people is perceived by those of us who Are deaf-blind as the more difficult circumstance with which to deal. Alternative methods must be found to deal with phone calls, conversations in any setting, (with a friend, in a group, in a restaurant, taking a taxi, in a store, at the doctor's office and in any emergency situation you can imagine., as well as with one's hearing, sighted family or religious group.)

Also, skills of blindness such as using a white cane or dog guide when traveling, learning to cook, care for children, garden, clean house, do laundry, and handle money without sight may need to be learned.

Most people picture Helen Keller when they think of someone who is deaf-blind. But she was unusual, in loosing her hearing and sight completely and suddenly, during childhood. Traumatic Brain Injury can cause someone to loose hearing and sight together, but other disabilities may also be present. Some very premature children are deaf-blind and may also have other disabilities.

Why have I picked this subject for a post? Because I am also Deaf-Blind and my hardest struggle is to communicate. My partner was my translator, (people always thought my dear friend was yelling at me when things were only being repeated at a level and cadence I could understand). A friend suggested, after the death of my partner, that I could blog as a means of self-expression, since I now have no one to talk with or to translate for me on a regular basis. It does help! But don't send me advertss for your brand of equipment or miracle cure, ok? I am still the person whose been writing posts for a while and who will Flood you with them when my internet service is restored.

I communicate online with some deaf-blind people whom I admire very much. But I have been afraid to write about being partially deaf. I will pay close attention to screen Out Hassles now.
June 23, 2011


There are generations of us blind people, educated at state schools for the blind from the 1940's through the 1970's (and in some cases later) who have our own way or Style of doing things.

Examples: 1. We don't put pictures on the walls. Of what use is a flat glass or flat plastic in a frame? I have heard, but do not know if it is true, that many sighted deaf people mostly brought up in state schools for the deaf don't put up pictures either. Why not? Because there were Never any pictures in their rooms at School. Institutions housing a large number of children don't go in much for encouraging personal style in room decorating.

2. As a blind weaver of tapestries I made a vow Never to create Anything which wasn't as interesting to Feel as to look at. I have sold a couple of tapestries, and I make centers for flowers with tactile objects which are also eye pleasing. I weave Tapestries, (more like making a quilt in some ways than beautiful but Flat weaving) because the combination of stitches is endless. I can work in a crochet chain stitch, make spirals, French knots, and more. I remember colors and my partner used to say that there wasn't an explanation for where I got a sense of balance within a piece of work.

3. When I set up my living room the way I wanted it, a sighted friend didn't like it. There are two comfortable chairs facing the TV, each with a surface to set food or a drink on at hand, but the long couch is on another wall.

For me this makes Perfect sense. I rarely watch a movie with more than 1 or 2 people at a time. So I can either sit in a comfortable chair next to 1 friend, or sit at the end of the couch next to the TV and hear it better that way anyhow.

But sighted people seem to like to drape themselves on the couch or lie on it and watch TV together or alone. I can hear the TV just as well lying down as sitting up, if I'm sitting on the couch closest to it.

But it feels all wrong to every Other sighted person I've asked. Even if it is less comfortable, the largest seating area Should face the Tube.

But they Do like my wall decorations, a "burden basket ) with rolled tin cones at the bottom which sound like rain when rattled, , an embroidered tapestry I bought with my partner at a "fair trade" store once, a tapestry I made for my partner and now have back, and a piece of blue leather my partner put on the wall with billows in it (wrinkles?) so it looked like a cloud, with and embroidered and fringed "Buddhist auspicious symbols" banner coming down from it.

I do have a very Few flat pictures, but they are Buddhist ones and I know what each one is by its placement, or I Will know this, when I get them set up.

So what do I do about the Living Room? Some people say, "If you want sighted friends in your place you'd Better make them feel at home." By I have Adapted and Adjusted to the needs of sighted people all of my Life. I don't usually Like TV, it is Stupid! And if we watch a movie I'll get More comfortable chairs for those afflicted with sight to sit in and Face the tube.

I am the only one living here now. If at some later time I choose to allow another person to live here, of course, I'll have to compromise. But for now I think I'll try it my way and see if my friends can't adjust.

I like playing cards, having intelligent discussions, listening to audio books, (like most sighted people, I prefer to do something else while I listen, like weave or sew. Most of them like to drive, not my thing, unfortunately.)

4. I have two pieces of jewelry I think Should go together. One has a turquoise and coral eagle on it. The other is silver (like the silver surrounding the eagle) and has a turquoise spiral swirling through it. Why do I think they should look good together? It's an Idea combination. To me that Swirl of turquoise (green of growing, blue of nourishing water) is a symbol for life. And the eagle, turquoise and red coral, (red for success, red coral for healing, and Eagle for vision, the wisdom to look Far) these things make a sort of blessing prayer in jewelry. Life being healed, nourished, and cooled (influence of silver) to succeed by the wisdom to look or see far.

But to a sighted person the issues would be: are the colors of turquoise the same? The second piece of jewelry Has no coral, no red. They may be similar in style, but do they Look good together?

My question: if they are both beautiful and meaningful to me, and they both have turquoise and silver, Who Cares? So we have a different perspective.

Nobody's right or wrong, just Different. And compared to the world's big problems, the differences mean nothing. But in a small life they have effects. I hope this has been interesting for someone to read.

Good night.

Friday, July 1, 2011

After the Move

Post June 21, 2011

Woke up this morning too depressed to move, stayed in bed for half an hour before could Make myself get up. I've been through two rounds of chemotherapy and they have effected my colon, though they have Also saved my life! It's been five and a half years since my last chemo. session.

I can't use the bathroom without drinking lots of water, moving around some (work or exercise) and two mugs of strong coffee in the morning. Coffee has also become a wonderful comfort food. A friend told me that the way you can tell a coffee addict is if it Calms you down, rather than reving you up. By that standard I'm an addict although I usually just have two mugs per day.

Haven't had coffee for a couple of days now. Remember when you were a kid and all of those commercials about "irregularity" seemed funny? So do I. Now I'm sorry I laughed. I didn't know any better, but it's Not funny.

My legs are decorated with a number of sore scrapes from open heavy box flaps, running into the outdoor swing set at the side of the house, (I put the thing together Backwards last night, luckily, it won't be hard to reverse) and the high front step onto my stoop.

I just Couldn't face Another day!

No coffee filters to be found, only plug in is directly above the gas stove, I'll make coffee on the stove? But with no filters, will it ruin the machine? I called my sister. She could hear my frustration, when I said I couldn't Find sh—and I was tired of people saying how lucky I was to have moved. She also heard that I was frustrated that some things were left behind which should have come here, and some things should have stayed at the former rent house, so I wouldn't have to add extra minutes to the cell phone to call a cab, etc. But we Agreed that the Volunteer movers, working on a Limited time schedule, did a Great thing for me! And, to be fair, everyone was running in and out asking questions about what went where so fast, I may be responsible for some of the confusion.

Then my sister reminded me how our great grandmother used to boil water with coffee grounds in it, let the grounds settle to the bottom, and pour off the coffee. I found a big stainless steel pan and filled my 4-cup coffee pot to get the right amount of water. And I had Coffee! Eating that and a home made gluten free biscuit with cream cheese nearly made me cry with happiness! It still Does, an hour later.

I couldn't pour from the big pan into a coffee mug, so I dipped out the first cup with a measuring cup I found, then drank from the pan. I feel Much Better!

It's amazing how the Right little things can Help!

Time to get on the step stool and put things on high shelves of cabinets and maybe move some furniture. I haven't had a carpeted house to live in for Years. Moving furniture on carpet is Much more work than putting "sliders" under it and scooting it across a wood floor or linoleum.

The Move

Monday,June20, Post

I wrote a long blog about several things on the night before I moved, Fri. the 17th. But it was lost. From now on, I will type in my word processing program and cut and paste the posts, once I get internet service on Friday, the 25th. Correction: I got internet service July 1, also a Friday, in the afternoon.

Too Bad this idea of Cut and Paste hadn't occurred to me earlier. Part of the frustration expressed in the last blog was seeing So many misspellings and mistakes in my posts, Because doesn't seem to work well with screen readers, (talking computers). I cannot Edit my posts, nor can I corredt mistakes in them while in the "New Post" spot at Blogger. I wonder if this is My lack of tech. savvy, or it meets ADA (Americans with Disability Act requirements or recommendations for websites. I don't know. The name Newby is appropriate for me.

The Move

One thing I've learned is that very Good feeling things can happen at the same time as very Painful feeling ones. People always seem to try to break an experience down, make it simple, but often this is not accurate.

Good feeling things: a lot of people came to help, more than I had ever expected! I am very Grateful to them. Because so many people helped, the move was accomplished in about 4 and a half hours, including some cleaning of the house my partner and I formerly shared! Again, I didn't expect this and am Thankful! Two of the women who came helped me arrange furniture in the way I had hoped to arrange it, cool.

Painful things: I had to take my partner's and my dog with me, as he was adopted from a "no kill" shelter and his biggest fear is of being abandoned. We went back to the old house and he Freaked! He went racing through the rooms and when he found my partner's couch, he leapt on it, burying his head in it. I felt like doing the Very same Thing. I remember when we rented that place, how delighted my partner was and how we both loved living there. Together we planted fruit trees, cooking and medicinal herbs, (comfrey, lemon balm, etc.) It will all probably be mowed off, like the blueberries, if I can't rescue some of it by the 30th of the month.

Then I couldn't find the Buddhist Prayer flags we put up on the wheelchair ramp. They were old and faded and had been thrown in the dumpster, without anybody mentioning it to me. One of the people who had been at the old house knew they were a religious item, but maybe that person didn't see it happen.

Probably someone thought they were doing me a favor, but it would never Occur to me to say, "Oh that picture of Jesus in the window is old and faded and these people smoke anyway, so it's grimy, I'm pitching that." But something like that happened to me, and if it matters, I don't smoke.

When you live in South Missouri there are just many hurtful things you have to get used to. What was I supposed to do, become angry with the people who so generously volunteered their time and gas to help me move?

I dug Out the prayer flags from the dumpster, (with a friend's help,) brought them here, and will wash them out. They will still be faded, but not grubby.

The purpose of a prayer flag is to share blessings with the whole neighborhood in which they hang. As they ravel out in the wind and bleach in the sun and are soaked by differing forms of water, (snow, rain, etc.) the understanding is that the prayers made as each flag is made, and those said as they are hung leave the flag and travel on the wind and light and water to those in the area who need the blessing each set of flags represents. I am sure the people who threw them away didn't know this.

This doesn't fit with the dominant culture's notion of Everything having to look new and pristine, of Nothing wearing out in public, including people.

In the front of our former home my partner had chosen Medicine Buddha flags, to wish and share good health for all in our area. In the back of the house we chose our Teacher, the female Buddha White Tara. These flags were to help us and others learn the lessons we humans all need to learn. The Buddhas Don't run over people by doing anything Against a person's will. So while the flags are symbols of protection for the household displaying them, they are also a wish to share happiness and wisdom, so far as each person wants it, with all neighbors.

The people who threw the Prayer Flags which my partner who died and I put up together did not know what they were throwing away. But to Not Even Ask, that felt like a terrible act of disrespect!

I couldn't find the blessing which hung on our front door, either on the door or in the trash, so all I can do is hope it turns up in some box!

I want to get back to the old house and check the currant bush, dig up the comfrey, lemon balm, and get the White Tara Flags down from the back steps before something happens to All of Them, I may be too late.

I was very upset at the dog's reaction, the fact that my partner's 28 year-old couch had been left behind, the dumping of prayer flags, and my own grief. The person who took me there just kept saying things like, didn't I feel lucky to have such a nice house and that the move was over? That person had helped with the move and understandably did not want to deal with anything else. Yes, I Do feel blessed to find what seems to be a good house which I can afford. And I Do feel thankful that the Huge Majority of the move is Over.

But I never wanted to Move in the First place, my partner of 19 years, and my friend of 30 years is dead, I can't pay the rent, I Had to move! And thing which had a history for us, the ancient couch, and the trashed prayer flags, and the mown down blueberries and compost tumbler and more, were all still There! But I just agreed with whatever was said, because I either wanted to be alone or be heard.

With so many people helping, there was no time to state clearly what should go and what should stay, or to explain Where certain pieces of furniture were meant to go. So I still have a lot of work to do, and don't know if I can find help for That.

My bedroom and a section of my work room are perfect, due to the intervention of the two women helpers, I thank them!

Before they left, the man among my Christian helpers wanted us all to gather in a circle and hold hands while he "prayed over me." Again, what could I say? He dedicated the whole house totally to Jesus. The main problem I have with Christianity is how Christians here never think they are tromping all over someone while they do it! I have no problem with anyone who, out of a wish to serve their Creator, or Prophet, or Jesus, gives acts of mercy and kindness to others. And that is most Definitely what the people who helped me move Did.

But it is also true that I was emotionally trampled by their assumptions. Would they have helped me if they had known I was not Christian? Could they have restrained themselves from evangelizing, could they have taken anything I had to say Seriously? I doubt it.

When you have a disability it is common, at least here, to find your wishes and beliefs stomped on by others, IF you Need or Want help! So, a choice must be made. Ignore One More Trampling, or Try to do what you know you Cannot do alone.

What ever happened to what the Dalai Lama refers to as "secular ethics"? This means calling the lonely because they Are lonely, feeding the hungry because they Are hungry, sharing cash and/or resources because you see the Need to do so, Without reference to the recipient's race, religion, sexual orientation, or any Other factor? Loving Kindness, as I understand the Buddha's teaching, is to be practiced for the development of good moral and mental habbits and Because it helps Eliminate Suffering, both for you and others! That is the agenda, all of it.

Of course, if an action Doesn't help eliminate suffering, (such as helping an alcoholic to drink) then the action is Not loving kindness. Such an action may be done out of ignorance (confusion) or for some other reason.

So moving day was both blessed and horrid, two opposites Can happen together. And they Did..

It's hard not to store up resentment when one feels frequently trampled upon. But I'm sure my anger and hurt will fade with time. They are tied up with Having to move due to my partner's death, this needs time to heal.
Newby 13 is lonely for the Net. It's been two weeks now and there are posts saved up just Waiting to Burst out! As long as they don't go anywhere, it only helps Some to write them. No e-mails from friends either. And I Might have some time Off, July 4th! Maybe I can get the dishes washed, make posts, (If I can get back on line tomorrow) and have some time to catch up on Sleep.

Every time I lay down for "just a minute" I'm Out for at least an hour and a half Minimum.

Southern Mo. Is Very hot these days, no rain near me for weeks and heat index above 100 F. People are being asked to donate box fans or cash to buy box fans for those in the homeless shelter in Springfield. Radio from there covers quite a distance.

When we were kids the box fan was a Treasured item and whoever got to sleep Closest to it was Envied and fought with for that coveted space. We did a lot of work outside, under the trees. No trees around the shelter in Springfield, probably, .

I miss the lovely trees at my former rent house, there are none here, though I am Gifted with air conditioning.

When I awoke after passing out for "just a minute" this evening, I was Totally disoriented. Kept making the turns I would have made in the Old rent house to find the same rooms in This one. Couldn't seem to wake up enough for a while to get the new spetial map I'm constructing in my head of this new place. It was scary! I knew where I was, but couldn't bring the memory of my mental map online. Glad I don't have to keep going back and forth between houses now, this should help.

With the Very Hard work of a sighted friend, I Have Internet service Today, July 1, Yeah!