Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Seniors and People with Disabilities in Mo.

This series of links comes from the Southwest Center for Independent Living, in Springfield, Mo. The info above is a copy of an E-mail I sent to a deaf-blin or Had, d listserv of which I'm a member.

In Mo. we have a Division of Senior and Disability Support which was handling all
requests for Consumer Directed Services, or Home Healthcare.
So the state, After Syncare contributed to the election campaign of our current Governor,
accepted a Very low bid for a company from Indianapolis, In., called Syncare, to
do this job.
They promised their employees company cars and high wages. It never happened. They
gave their employees gas cards, but no gas station would accept them. Many employees
hav quit, without pay checks Or reimbbursement for mileage.
It is recommended that If anyone in Mo. gets a visit From Syncare, you request a
business card with the Visiting Person's name on it.
At least One person has had to move into a nursing home because of cuts in their
hours, others have no in home services due to delays in paperwork. Still others
report being kept on hold for four to five hours when trying to contact Syncare by
phone. And not everyone is physically capable of holding a phone for that length
of time. This is what is happening in Mo. Syncare is currently being sued.
Sent: Wednesday, August 31, 2011 10:29 AM
Subject: Missouri SynCare news coverage
Thank you to everyone who supported the press conference yesterday. We got great
coverage around the state. Shelby
News Leader|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE
KY 3 TV,0,6552506.story
St. Louis
Post Dispatch
Cape Girardeau
Southeast Missourian
KZIM 960
Columbia Daily Tribune
The Missourian
Kansas City AP

Sunday, August 28, 2011

In the Kitchen

My microwave died and I'm trying to see how well I can get along without replacing it. I didn't use it a lot, mostly just to heat up leftovers. With a gas stove (yeah) I can boil watter pretty quickly. with a slow cooker, stews and soups can be made in Huge proportions and eaten, Forever. Oops, There's the problem. I am slowly getting Used to eating leftovers, but heating them up is what I used to do with the help of a microwave.

Of course, it's hot enough that I don't want to heat up the house by putting leftovers in the oven. So use the toaster oven? It is small enough that an aluminium pie pan will fit. Fine for heating up relatively solid foods, but too thin to hold sloppier foods without spilling them.

The sensible thing to do is heat things up in a small pan. As I Am the dishwasher, I do this reluctantly. Also, I haven't yet gotten the nack of Not scorching food, but making sure it is heated through. Time will teach, I suppose.

I did buy a blender and am Enjoying it! When it's too hot to cook or even eat, make a smoothy, (or is it smoothie?) But I'm glad I don't have to see the colors of some of the things I'm drinking.

Take today, old peaches pealed and pitted with some lemon juice, (not too bad) add a few frozen strawberries, (might even be good). Then some plain yogurt, (well, if you like yogurt,) and last but not least some grated carrot, (all Kind of peachy colors or yellow for lemon juice) and grated cabbage (Oh, Hurl, hurl! Probably looks like something to be scooped from the yard, but the fruits overpower a lot of veggies. And, in One Cold glass I have two vegetables, and three fruits plus Protein. I think I can live without a microwave, but had better learn how to heat up things without scorching before Winter.

My attempt at making m`ole (pronounced "mo-lay) sauce didn't work out too well. It's a blend of cocoa, hot peppers, and orange juice, with meat cooked in it. I got the heat and the chocolate close to right, but Not enough orange flavor to balance. Nobody's going to want to help me eat spicy chocolate deer burger, oh well.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Why I Began Collecting Dolls

Where shall I start? When I was a kid girls played with fashion dolls at an older age, up to age 12 or so. I was ill so much of the time that my Dr. prescribed a doll and medical kit toy. And it worked. Patient Polly doll was a good friend. She had to use crutches sometimes, like me. But her pills tasted a Whole Lot Better than Mine ever did. My sister even wanted to take some.

Patient Polly had to take lots of shots, just like me and my sister Didn't volunteer for these.

This doll was later joined by a Francie with, of all things, Brown hair! And it was straight like mine, too! I loved these dolls, carrying them in a case which had room for a few clothes.

One New Year's Eve, I tried to stay up until midnight alone, listening to the radio, quietly. My older sister said I would find a present on my pilllow. Wat I found, sometime between 11:30 and midnight, (don't remember if I actually made it to midnight or not) was a Wonder.

My sister, who is still a fine seamstress, had made me a Wardrobe for the dolls. We didn't "waste" money on doll clothes. But my sister had taken scraps from her own sewing and Made doll clothes for me!

And the clothes she made were in style, too. There were hip hugger jeans, a shift dress with strawberries on it, a blouse which I think was white, with islet all over it, (to go with the hip huggers) and even a formal! played with those clothes a lot, but recognizing the rare treasure they were, I took good care of them, always hanging up any outfit I wasn't using in the little doll closet carrying case I had.

Next Christmas my mother wanted me to give the dolls and clothes away to another family. I didn't want to because not only were the clothes still cool but the fact that my sister had made each piece was a sign of love. Our mother sometimes pitted us girls against each other, to accomplish one of Her aims. This made cibling closeness difficult. The fact that my sister would be punished for a completely accidental playing in which I was also engaged, but where my eye got bumped, sending the pressure inside up didn't help, it was wrong. Finally, my dad, who loved us both, would forgive me for stacking the clean dishes in the drainer so they fell down when you tried to remove one, but my sighted sister would get yelled at, which was also wrong.

So a sign of love from my sister was extremely precious to me. I have never forgotten that wonderful present and I still have a couple of cards where she traced the shapes of pictures on them out in glue, so I could "read" them too.

Mother followed me around for weeks telling me about my Christian duty to give up those dolls and their clothes. Finally my already guilt traind mind an heart couldn't take anymore. I gave them away.

The abuse at home and the neglect at blind school were such that I wound up with a dissociative disorder. And in the 90's, while attempting to under go treatment, I found a Kira doll with Black Hair, something inside just burst and I started to cry. Of course, I bought that doll, which I still have.

I don't look like Kira. Both of my parents had or have black hair. My hair color can best be described as brown-black or brack. This is a brown so dark most people call it black.

But of course, that was before the gray set in and the Summer Sun tends to lighten my hair and bring out some reddish highlights.

During my most severe dissociation, every doll had a name and personality. But I also got Hooked on collecting.

Frankly, this was a Horribly embarrassing hoby to have. I agree with the feminist criticisms of Barbie and other fashion dolls. But two opposite things can be and often Are true at Once. This is true in each human and especially true in one who struggles with dissociation.

Next post I think I will tell you how what a blind doll collector looks for differs from what a sighted collector may find attractive.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Day Owl, Night Owl

From childhood I have been a natural night owl. So was Ann. If we were in the midst of a discussion, reading a book (audio) which we didn't want to quit, or engaged in our respective forms of art, it wasn't unusual for us to crash at three or four A.M. I remember Ann laughing once, saying how confused she was, as the Sun was on the wrong side of the world. For some reason, she had to get up early.

On weekends it is still normal for me to keep my old hours. But during the week, since I now ned help reading Everything flat, (written in Print) and cannot match colors or have a double check by asking Ann, I get up in the morning, to meet the wonderful person who is my healthcare aide and helps me to do these things.

By the way, I used to match clothing by never buying two of the same item (shirts or blouses for example) which felt exactly alike. Also, with Ann's laundry included, I could put only one of my outfits in the washer at a time. When it was dry, I hung it up or folded it away.

But with only my laundry to do, and with the temperature this Summer in the upper 90's and 100's, I've been wearing T-shirts and matching shorts. I was given some of these clothes, for which I am Very thankful!

But I now need help matching identical feeling shirts with shorts. Sock matching is something I have Always needed help doing. I may need to buy some of those little Braille color tags to sew into clothing. But as they are metal, if they aren't sewn in the right place, they Scratch.

I have realized that I need to get up a Minimum of two hours Before my healthcare aide comes, in order to be organized about what I need help with and have a Clear head. But I Still rarely sleep Before midnight or 1:00 A.M.

So I often crash in the late afternoon. If I took some kind of energy boost in the late afternoon, I think I'd become unhealthy from lack of sleep. I am having some minor health concerns now, from the stress of this year and moving things which I probably shouldn't be moving, furniture. I have No desire to make these concerns into problems.

So, like nearly every older person I know, I take a nap sometime in the afternoon. When I think of it in this way it's a bit scary, but night is when I can sew or bead or weave or write Without being disturbed, so I like to have this time free to work.

I have come to Enjoy the sun on my face in the morning. I greet the Sun, Sky and Earth as I take out the dog. Of course, I don't do it in a visible way which would draw attention.

So I guess I'm a Night Owl, Day Bird, very odd.

When it is extremely hot here I have Never understood Why the Ozarks doesn't take an afternoon sies (does that word begin with a C or an S?) like the sensible people of Mexico do.

Work from 8:00 A.M. (or earlier) until noon, chill out between noon and 4:00 P.M., go back to work from 4:00 to 8:00, then have supper, or dinner, at 9:00. This puts bedtime at about midnight, a perfectly Reasonable thing to do.

But it never happens. This schedule gives you exposure to the least heat and Still get in at least an eight hour work day. And it allows for enjoying whatever relative cool there is in the evening, Perfectly Sensible, to me.

But today is lovely day! Topping out in the mid-80's! I plan to enjoy as Much of it as possible!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Home Make-Over Coming to Joplin and Blaming the Earth

I hear that the Home Make-Over TV show is coming to Joplin to help repair or replace homes lost in last May's tornado. If they do I hope they will take the area's economics into account. What I mean is they could build someone a gorgeous house and I am all for that. But sometimes when they come to the Ozarks or other poorer areas of the country they may build such large homes or homes with so many amenities that the owners can't afford the utility bills, insurance, taxes, or other expenses related to home ownership. These people have already been through Enough! Please make any new homes you may build Affordable for the people living in them to Maintain.

New subject: I was so angry yesterday and last night I didn't write. I just said every angry thing I was thinking out loud to myself. What I realized was that I was Blaming the Earth for Ann's death. Ann died outside, in the snow. The earthquake in Virginia yesterday reminded me of this, and th Joplin tornado which has taken at least 158 lives, and the earthquake in Japan, on and on.

Usually, I don't feel disconnected from the Earth. I recycle fanatically, try to buy "fair trade" and "organic" products when I can afford them, and try to support echologically sustainable agriculture.

I cannot pretend to understand the Earth, She is too large and mighty a Being for me to pretend I know how she feels or what she is "thinking".

But after the ice storm of 2007, which broke beautiful trees down like kindling, and which made my home uninhabitable, along with a lot of other people, I did feel disconnected from the Earth for a while. How could she kill so many children? What had the Trees or the flocks of hungry birds, wheeling through the air with no place to rest ever done to Her?

You can hear all kinds of explanations for such things, God's wrath, human destruction resulting in death for other species, but the truth for me is that I don't know. I believe the climate is changing, ask any gardener or farmer. I think we humans have brought huge destruction to Earth, Water, and Air. So it won't surprise me that We are partly responsible for so much damage.

But when you listen for days to trees you love screaming as they are literally ripped in two by the weight of ice, and when you throw out food for the birds and huge mixed species flocks immediately desend on it, fighting, you can still wonder, I did.

Gradually, I just got over my anger at the Earth. I let it go, knowing I did not understand. Without the Earth, we're all dead. That's a fact. So it slowly began to make sense to be thankful again, for a beautiful day, needed rain, etc.

Until last night I did not realize I was again angry at Earth for taking Ann away. If she had gone outdoors in Other weather, she might still be alive. But she didn't. I still have no answers for killer tornadoes, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis. They have always happened, just like lightning strikes, and always will, probably. This doesn't make anyone feel better, I don't know how to do that except by sending my love, some money, and my prayers to survivors of hurricanes and other disasters.

But the Earth did not call Ann outdoors that day, to die in the snow. I'm not sure I will ever feel the same way about snow again. Still, it's just the human tendency to look for something to Blame at work in me. The snow still fixes nitrogen in the ground, and is no more malicious than it ever was. People to the North of us die in the snow Every Winter. This doesn't make Me feel any better Either. But it's true.

Once I let all of my rage out, at the Buddhas, at the Earth, at Life, and went to bed, I woke feeling better this morning. Nothing about the facts has changed, just some of the toxins I didn't know I was carrying around have been released.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Bad word and more about Ann, Still.

Yep, it was the word "disgusting" which Disgusted the Blogger machinery. I took that out of the "labels" and was informed that the post had successfully published.

It's strange, a person could say Much more obscene things in a label without using "banned words" and I'll bet the censor machine would let it pass. Sorry dude or dudess, plastic tasting coffee IS Disgusting!

I think of Ann daily. Today I was sad that although we had a lot in common as people, we wanted such Different things from life.

Ann wanted to get married, have kids, and live in the country. She believed, correctly, I think, that if she had been physically able to have children neither her first nor her second husband would have left. She didn't know she was too disabled, even years ago, to have children and went through nine miscarriages, trying.

I, on the other hand Never wanted to be married. I have a Horror of being trapped in a destructive, committed relationship. I never wanted to have children. I was afraid I might hurt them like I was hurt. I love other people's kids, but haven't developed the patience to Live with kids on a permanent basis. Maybe the only way you Do develop that level of patience is by Having kids. But I was not willing to risk it.

I wanted a deep level of companionship and to feel cared about. Ann gave me this and I tried, not always successfully, to return it to her.

Ann Truly Deeply wanted to own a house. I didn't care if I rented for life, or lived in my mobile home, so long as I had a nice place to live.

Spiritually, our goals were the same, and we learned to talk out and do our best at resolving conflicts. But I sometimes feel So Sad when something nice comes into my life which Ann would have enjoyed.

And I logically know that guilt is a normal part of grieving, especially when someone dies unexpectedly, with no chance to say good-bye or talk out any remaining conflicts, but it's hard to keep telling myself to Let It Go, It's Over and Ann is happy and free now to pursue any path she wishes.

I found a friend to share the soup with, yeah! Maybe I Won't have to eat it for what Feels like Forever.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Thankful for Today, Sad About the Past and Plastic Coffee

I give Thanks for a Great Day! I slept Very late, had breakfast in silence, chopped what felt like Tons of veggies. in a "clean out the fridge. Mexican style soup with deer burger, read an audio book while I chopped, got some Braille files and a spread sheet on computer in flat stuff better organized, caught up events on Braille calendar which I have decided to make of this year, and listened to blues music as I caught up files and calendar.

Tomorrow a friend is supposed to come over to watch a movie with me, I can help her study, we may walk my dog, and I Hope she will Eat with me, as I Cannot seem to cook for One! I buy too much food for one, then prepare it, then eat it Forever! Much more Fun And better to share. If she likes the soup and bread, maybe I'll send her home with some.

New Subject: Alone, I have more money than Ann and I did together. I helped with things Medicaid doesn't cover: glasses, incontinence pads, dental checks, (very important for people with diabetes) etc. We paid more rent because there were two of us, and Ann needed a house big enough for her power wheelchair.

I feel bad when I have things now to eat or to work with, sewing, which we didn't have when Ann was alive. It was very tempting at first, and at times still is, to live the life Ann wanted. But we were actually quite opposite in what each of us most wished for. So it isn't my job to Be Ann, refusing to be me, out of the fear that I won't Like who Me turns out to be.

I am thankful to have nice food, a house Ann would have loved, etc., but I am very Sad and Regret that Ann had So Little to make her happy. No one person can meet all of another's deepest needs and that was true of me for Ann also. But sometimes I wonder Why I get nice things, and Ann didn't!

The only comfort and hope I have is that Ann is now getting to experience all of the Joy she didn't get, before going on, or in another life. I often pray that the spirit which was Ann is blessed, whoever and wherever she is now. I hope she has happiness which makes my enjoyments look trivial, although they aren't trivial to me, a being with a physical shell here on Earth.

New subject: Plastic coffee anyone? After my glass coffee pot jumped out of the tiny dish drainer I got a bigger drainer and found that it was cheaper to buy a whole New coffee maker that to try and replace the pot, ridiculous! Hope they weren't counting on me getting the same brand, I bought cheaper.

Inside the filter was this little plastic mesh filter. I ran hot water throuh it, washed it with dish soap and rinsed, it Still gave me Plastic Coffee, Very Gross!

So I decided to pitch the thing and just put a paper filter into the filter basket. Real coffee this morning, yea! The mesh thing might be useful to start a seedling in next Spring, but I think I'll recycle it with the hard plastics.

I'm Thankful for this day and ready to crash.

Good night, I wish you happiness.

Well, the Blogger site has done it again. I have a message saying ""these characters are not allowed" but I am not told Which Characters. Is it the word "disgusting"? That's the one I erased first, we'll see. Maybe I accidentally made an obscene typo, but it's hard to go back and reread a post, I don't know why. I was tired and didn't type it up in Word first. Sorry for any characters which may Disgust you.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Random Happier Thoughts

Got the patch done, turned out well, nice and flat underneath the shirt. Also did my part in designing piece of clothing, someone else found to draw and cut it out.

A Comforting thing happened today, I got an old friend of a book "Way Station" by Cliford Simak, to read. Listened to it while sewing and found myself enjoying them Both, Surprising! Ate health nut super followed by two non-health nut cookies.

Maybe tomorrow I'll clean out left overs in fridge., make big pot of soup. But hopefully not Too big, or I'll be Eating the stuff for Weeks! Is "yuck" spellec that way, or the way Ann always favored, "yuch"? Anyway, when I lived alone many years ago, it didn't bother me to eat leftovers for two weeks or more, after a short break when they were frozen. But Ann's mother was and probably still is a menu planner, all leftovers used up in a short time. I'm not that organized, but when cooking for two, we usually (not always) managed to wipe out a casserole or soup in a week. If not, I usually ate the leftovers which were bothering Ann. What Good is a slow cooker for One person? Have to invite friends over for soup and home made bread from a mix. My Earth Mother days (Everything made from scratch) are over!

Can't make soup too spicy if inviting friends to share.

I did another thing today, ordered a couple of dolls I've been wanting for a long time. Scary to spend the money without anyone there to ceck with. We always consulted one another about any purchase costing more than $7 or $8.

Sometime I'll write about a blind person's (at least One blind person's) perspective on fashion dolls.

So maybe tomorrow I'll just Chill and Read! Or maybe I will catch up with Email or do something creative, like submit that article to the newsletter reviewing a book banned in Stockton, Mo. "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" by Mr. Sherman Alexi. Honesty about history, is that what got it banned, or was it honesty about being a teenage boy? In either case, I think it's a Good book for kids to read, And adults. But I've never lived in Stockton.


Last night ate super alone. Alone meaning no audio book, no TV, etc. and of course, no people. Kept my mind busy for most of that time but stopped, just for a couple of minutes, no thinking, and realized I Was ok. Like waking up for a bit.

Also measured (with tape measure marked with staples) and cut out patch for shirt.

This weekend I should have more time than usual to myself, it could be interesting.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Fighting Fear

In these few days I have had to begin slowing down I have realized how truly Frightened I feel, living without Ann.

I have a shirt which needs patching from underneath. I've patched Countless things before. But I'm so afraid that I won't match the patching material up Perfectly, without a sighted person to doublecheck it, that the shirt has been laying around now for a Week. A friend matched the colors for me, no problem. I have sewed since high school, but I'm Afraid to do it.

And there are so many Little things like this. I could be cntributing a book review (as I was before Ann died) to a Native American heritage newsletter. I read the book, reviewing it Doesn't take sight.

I guess now that the Have To things are done, I am just Afraid to jump back into what Was my life, or part of it.

Logically, I believe that with just a bit of help I can continue my plans for a small business. But as my plans were made with Ann included in them, I am Terrified to try.

As I walk around here I sometimes Try to make myself pay attention to where the doorways in this house are. I can do this, but with my hearing difficulties, it means payinn g attention. Often I'm just in too big a hurry and honestly, too scared to do it. When I had no trouble hearing it was a piece of cake. Not now. So I bump the edge of the doorways, then feel frustrated with myself And more scared. I am going to have to practice going through all of them slowly. I know how, but when you feel scared already it's Not an aid to concentration!

I know that the best way for me to fight fear, of anything is to just Force myself Through it. So I am beginning to try and do this.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Lost in Time

Tonight I left the house thinking, "That's a very nice place to live, but what the hell am I doing there?"

Seems like old questions are just Now beginning to catch up with me. I can't seem to get going on projects I used to care about.

The microwave stopped working, must find a place to recycle it.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Swamped by the Waves

I was right. Slow down, stop beins so busy, and the Pain hits.

Most people know how when you are in pain every little thing which otherwise would be a frustration or annoyance feels big? Well I have started slowing down and that's the way it feels.

Only twice in my life, both times since Ann's death have I made coffee without a pot. Fill the filter with grounds, fill the pot with water, put filter in place, pour in water, turn on machine, oops, no pot to catch the coffee. It makes a truly Wonderful mess! Then come home from a good time with family to change the catbox, disgusting enough, but the litter spills. Not the clean litter either!

Hear from a close friend that a dog who pulled her out of a terrible depression when she became disabled and lost the life's work she loved, this dog has cancer for the second time, probably not much to do.

Have your young visitor of a few days ago call sobbing because the family's dog, whom they all adored has died.

Wash dishes and hear an amazing shatter from the coffee pot, yep, dish drainer must be for those who use a dish Washer and only need the drainer for a couple of pans. The pot has taken its last dive. Swear! Carefully clean up gLots of little glass shards.

All of these things together plus cat cragging out towel sopping up toilet leak and doing extra laundry from this, scrubbing up coffee spills and catlitter spill, enough!

It would be enough to dampen anyone's enthusiasm for the weekend, but it's really about Ann.

I didn't do Anything Friday afternoon or night and That's when it hit. I stopped caring what happened to Any character in Any book or TV show. I Just wanted to sleep. And my depression hasn't let up since.

Nothing I know to do about it but keep breathing deeply and Live with it. The only constant I know is change, so someday it ought to lift. Sticking my head in the sand (sleeping, drinking, etc.) will only Postpone this. A friend told me to think of it as waves rolling over and just let them roll. That wasn't too bad, back when it didn't feel like the whole damned ocean was sitting on my head and chest.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Is Braille A Different Language?

A Braille student of mine said that they had a "discussion board" on which this question was debated. From the point of view of Spoken English, Braille is Not a different language. But in terms of a language used for reading and writing, I think it Is.

I was Horrified to learn that those who read print actually have Three alphabets: upper case print, lower case print, And curssive, it's enough to Make one curse.

In Braille all symbols are composed of six dots, numbered one through six, according to their position in the Braille Cell. Want to know what a Braille Cell looks like, get a six cup muffin tin then turn it upside-down. Now turn it so that three muffin cups are sticking up on the left side of the pan and three on the right. Top left, dot 1. Center left, dot two. Bottom left, right, dot three. Top Right side of the pan is dot four, middle is dot five, and bottom muffin cup is dot six. Shrink this pattern Extremely Small and you have a complete Braille cell.

If I tell a student to make the Braille letter D, the dots 1, 4, and 5 will be indicated.

This is Not the way print or curssive letters are made. We only have six dots to work with so each time we want to indicate that a letter is capitalized, we put a dot six in front of the capital letter. If a word or title or Roman numerals are in All Caps, we put Two dot sixes in front of a single word or Roman numeral, or two dot sixes in front of each word in a title.

Braille has three levels, which might be compared to 1. print or curssive writing, 2. short hand writing and 3. sommething like stenography. These are Called grades 1, 2, and 3, though they have Nothing to do with first, second, or third grade in school. What they Are concerned with is the level of contraction of each word and writing words or signs For words together, without spacing between them.

Braille letters and contractions for common Groups of letters (ing, the, of, and, for, with, etc.) look Nothing like Any form of print or curssive writing. Braille is uniform in it's production, so there are No Braille "handwriting" analysts.

A formerly sighted person learning Braille must give up ideas of trying to relate Braille to print letters. Braille is based on a Completely different system and has differing rules oof footnoting and other puntuation than print.

There is Just as much memorization required in Braille as in print. But it is memorization of Totally differing things. While print or curssive students are memorizing shapes and squiggles, Braille students are memorizing the dot formations (1 through six) necessary to make Braille contractions for the shorthand equivalent of Braille in which all non-teaching Braille books are made.

The word "teacher" in Braille is T, (ea sign, dot 2 alone) (ch sign, dots 1 and 6 together) and (the er sign, dots 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, altogether.)

Most college students who take notes in Braille (abreviated as: BRL, in Braille,) use their own combination of grades two and three, often refered to as "grade 2 and one half".

The reason for all of this contracting in Brl is that a person can see Much Smaller things than a person can Feel. A Brl dot might be compared to a small seed bead. Grade Brl runs about three pages to one print page. This is why Brl takes up So much room and Brl books are bulky.

Shapes of Brl letters and symbols for contractions are memorized by Brl readers as they are, Not with reference to Anything in print.

When numerical symbols are used in algebra or advanced math, or Brl music or a foreign language is written in Brl, symbols are often duplicates. Talk about memorization! It could be said that every language has its Own Brl alphabet, Not referring in Any way to English Brl. In this way Brl Is related to its spoken and written counterparts. In the Spanish Brl alphabet, the letter N, with a Tilde is the ER contraction in English. So to learn Spanish Braille it helped to Pretend I didn't know English Brl.

We drove our non-Brl reading housemothers nuts at blind school by Speaking Brl. We would say "After dinner do you want to 1234 123 1 1456?" The word is "play." We were supposed to be studying.

But since no one knew what we were saying, our housemothers only knew we were up to no good. Since Brl can be spoken in this way, although long time Brl readers are the Only ones who might do this, I Do think it is a different language from writing on a page, whether that writing is upper case, lower case, or curssive.

To be as clear as possible I often call Brl my "language of literacy." It is hard to know how to punctuate a sentence, where to begin or end a paragraph, and how to spell similar sounding words (threw and through) without Reading Brl.

For many deaf-blind people, Brl and ASL, including finger spelling, are often the Primary, if not the Only means of communication.

They must learn Two different languages. As I have no one to practice with, I can finger spell, but cannot read the fast replies of professional interpreters. At this time, I can use hearing aids and amplification to hear, Most of the time, but Not always. I need to learn to speak and understand ASL and like most people who lose their vision, when I am forced to by deafness, I will. Since I am totally blind, a cochlear implant is a future possibility.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Weather Misery Ended? and Inner Realization Glimpse

We haven't had a temperature lower than about 95 since June 24th. But lately we've been getting the relief of sweet, blessed, Rain and Clouds! Temperatures in the eighties to 90, normal for this time of year. If a humid 88 degrees seems too hot, all you have to do is remember that it's Twenty Degrees than a week and a half ago when it was a humid 108! We've Finally stopped having the "excessive heat warnings" from the National Weather Service!

You can tell the farmers and gardeners in a crowd. Usually they are the ones smiling while it pours. No dragging hooses from the creek to the truck garden, or hauling them across parched crispy grass to the city garden, no carrying Heavy buckets to water animals or food plants. True, the mosquitoes have revived and the grass must be mowed. But this mowing is lighter work by Far than hauling water. And Thankfully so far, no tornadoes!

Turned off the AC for the first time last night, stuck a box fan in bedroom window, left all ceiling fans running, slept to the sweet scent of cool water under Cool Air! A Treat.

Ok, so you've heard enough about the weather. But it Truly has been Hard on humans And others this Summer!

New Subject: Something I like about Buddhism: You can know a thing intellectually without it Ever touching your heart or actions. Somehow last night I Finally Got the idea of what Robert Thurman has called, "Living in the Light of Death." Sounds bizarre, doesn't it. Really it's just the terminology that sounds weird. It's the same idea as setting in your mind that this is Truly your Last Year of life, and seeing what changes come about.

Did I move, get a new room mate, change all of my daily routines? No. But I Did stop worrying about whether or not I would be able to start the very small busines I'm working toward. Did I stop working toward it? No, but I took a partial break and relaxed, knowing that nothing is guaranteed in this life. There may come a time when I need to accept a room mate to survive financially, not a pleasant thought, but no need to worry about it now. I may be called upon by life or the needs of friends or family to do something Other than what I want, the business. But since I haven't been yet, I'll be aware of the possibility and keep working toward what I want.

This all sounds like child's play doesn't it? But it Isn't if you have always felt you must struggle just to Get By. That kind of living easily breeds worry and overplanning of the future. So for me, getting a Feeling for the concept was a breakthrough. Did I do the dishes tonight? Yes, because they needed doing and dying while doing dishes isn't usually such a bad way to go. If something more important had come up at the exact time for dish doing would I have done the dishes? No, I would have attended to the needs of another or myself.

I guess my blogs sound pretty morbid, but I try to learn from whatever life presents. This year it has presented death, first of my partner Ann, then of a friend, and a friend has lost a couple of acquaintances or friends this year. I always am aware that cancer can return and am nervous when I eat American. Unfortunately, between being busy with sorting through our former rent house, packing, moving, and Unpacking, and also for comfort, I've been eating more American style than usual. Am trying to correct this, but it isn't easy.

So I allow myself to think about what life presents and am Very glad I don't know the future. If I get a definite feeling about something, I try to follow it. That, for me, is taking care of the future. That and common sense. But I know I would Never have had the courage to live through all I have if at some point a person had sat down with me and said, "Ok, this is how your life will be." Never.

One thing my trying to treat each day as though it were my last has done is free me for the most part from the Fear Sellers. Have the aliens landed? Does the Government control our minds with microwave beams? Will we all starve without a huge food reserve? Will another killer tornado get us? Will we live through another Great Depression?

The answer to each of these questions may be Yes. But if I cannot control any of these things, what Good does it do to Give away my Energy to them? I always respect tornado warnings, that is good sense! Having some nonperishable food in reserve is Also good sense, if one has the luxury to do this. I'm sure it is good to have a little silver or gold stashed somewhere, again, if one has the luxury to do this. But beyond this, the future is what it is and I Finally got a glimpse of dealing with it one day at a time by Choice.

Doing this by Choice is Very different than those times which are so Hard or so Painful that all you can Do is put one foot in front of the other or live through one minute or one task at a time. Living this way when Not in immediate crisis means making lots of little choices throughout the day and night. It means choosing to take good enough care of one's self to keep whatever health one has, to try and make sure one has a chance to Enjoy Something non-harmful to others each day, and to decide a moment at a time that this is the kind of person one Wants to be. It will be interesting to see what changes come from trying to live in this way, over time. It takes time to incorporate any Inner realization into a life. It will take me time.

Not fearing death and looking it in the face is a Buddhist teaching. Buddhist "heaven or hell" have to do with "reaping what you have sewn, not a God punishing you for sin and Certainly not Original Sin. Buddhists may speak of harmful or nonbeneficial behavior, but this is not sin. It is caused by one of the "poisons of the mind."

The chief among these poisons is "ignorance or confusion". Others are envy, craving, revulsion or hatred, pride, and greed.

It is these "causes of suffering" which we try to overcome in ourselves. They hurt each of us and they hurt others.

But long-standing guilt has no place in Buddhism. The only function of guilt or regret is to help beings change toward something more beneficial for themselves and others in the future.

Some Buddhists are honestly confounded with the notion of self-hatred which most of us Westerners carry around. They assume that each of us is born good, as we have acquired merit enough to Earn a human life and body. They tend to work on not getting selfish in what is considered a Natural self-love and desire to be happy.

Only recently have Buddhist teachers from Tibetan Buddhism begun to grapple with the self-loathing and fear and guilt of Western students.

For me, Tibetan forms of Buddhism fit best with what I understand of Cherokee teachings. I do not follow Asian rituals blindly, however. I am not Asian, was not raised in either an Asian or traditional Cherokee culture, and the Buddha urged his disciples to use those of his methods which worked for them and Not to use methods which did not help them learn.

I speak so much about Buddhism because as we humans face death, we each turn to our own belief systems. Also, there are a Lot of misconceptions about Buddhism in our country, Especially in rural areas, to which it is still relatively new. Please understand, I Don't want anybody changing whatever religious beliefs make their life more meaningful.

More than enough! I thank anyone who has taken the time out of their own life to read this journal/blog!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Resources Waste

My young visitor wasn't interested in helping me create a "worm house" even though there were no worms in it. So today I did it with another adult. What is a "worm house"? It's a compost ben.

I prefer using a compost tumbler of some kind. But when I had to move, it was too full to lift safely. The compost was dumped and I gave the tumbler to my sister and brother-in-law, who have been wonderful to me, helping in every way they knew, since Ann died.

I tried to convince my visitor that it would be Just like making a layer cake for worms, but no luck. When I first moved here I had to throw coffee grounds, egg shells, refrigerator experiments, and bones in the trash. This Really got on my Nerves!

Sacred Resources: water, (what we are mostly phisically made of) dirt, (what supports our physical lives along with rain, wind, and sun) compost (giving back to the Earth those nutrients we take from her body to survive.)

So when I couldn't Stand it anymore, I decided to make a "worm house". A big plastic trash can was the start. A friend's bad potatoes (Oh dear, did I do a Dan Quail spelling just now?) and onions, then dirt. Next add outer withered leaves of greens, bad spots in tomatoes, and bones cooked with meat in a slow cooker until I could crumble parts of them up with my hands, why Buy Bonemeal for the garden? Another layer of dirt, topped with old yogurt. Poke small holes all around the trash can and its lid, set in the shade, add living worms. A worm layer cake. I can sell the compost next Spring or give it away. It will be hard to turn in such an enclosed space, but I'll use a short spade and do my best. By next Spring, I'll have something worthwhile to give back to the Earth, whether I can use it or not.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Visitor and More

Today my young visitor left and I found myself with a strange mixture of feelings and reactions. The first was Tiredness, not because the visitor was difficult, but because it was the first time visiting my house. There is a way in which those of us who don't see our child relations and who don't live with kids are ON, when we are hosting a child visitor. We want them to be happy and are Always trying to pay attention to their needs.

My visitor was polite, Very mature, and has a kind heart. But I still found myself wondering what would be said about me when the visitor went home. This visitor was fun to be with and Very Bright!

Last night there were two people sleeping in two different bedrooms for the first time since my partner Ann died. It filled a little cranny in my mind which said "home". Something just felt a bit more right.

I decided that if I ever let another person live here I could store my Braille materials in the garage on shelves, clear out the desk which Ann used, and Let someone else use that room as a bedroom.

But I was Very ambivalent about whether or not I ever Wanted to live with another person, on a permanent basis.

I also found out I don't eat American, although I'm not a vegetarian. My visitor's mom eats hummus, salad, and many veggies. And fruits. My visitor, it turned out, didn't want salad, like peaches, did not want to try mangos which I had bought for smoothies, and did not like overly spiced food. I did not have flour tortillas to make home made burritos like her dad, or burgers, fries, milk, bananas,desert, or starchy veggies. Like corn, or peas. But we both like to snack on baby carrots and my visitor does like strawberries.

When I asked what was eaten at home I was told spaghetti, steak, home made burrritos, milk and chocolate milk, ice cream, potatoes,pizza, macaroni and cheese. Woops, we had to go to the store!

I eat deer meat, when the kind people who hunt (do the hard work) can get a deer for me (formerly for Ann and me) in late Fall. But I have Learned to Love fresh veggies, broccoli, peppers, tomatos, squash, cauliflower, kale, collards, dark greens. Tonight I ate kale, baby carrots, broccoli, and green pepper dipped in chipotle pepper hummus, with a few blue corn chips. Yep, that Does sound like the dinner of a health nut!

If I had thought of it at the time, I Could have just bought flour tortillas, put more rice or something in a dish already cooked, and rolled it up in the flour tortillas, Instant burritos!
But I had Mexican casserole (basically inchaladas with more veggies.,) probably too spicy. And mild Indian curry, too spicy. And a jello salad with walnuts, peaches and apples in it, and fresh peaches to go with vanilla ice cream. No Peaches.

I think at home my visitor is made to eat some of everything. But I am a relative who is getting to enjoy spending time with the kid for the first time, what to do? This is an act of trust on the part of visitor's parents, as I have a Buddhist group meeting at my home and they know it. They have seen the Buddhist altar in the living room, where we meet. Luckily, no questions were asked about the statues, though I know they were seen. So, no questions to answer and a Christian book brought from home to read, written by someone Very dear to my visitor.

One thing I've learned about living with or taking care of kids for any length of time, start tough, and relax as they learn the rules. But I don't know how often I'l see this person, so we ordered pizza. I care much More about restoring relationships than monitoring the diet of someone else's child.

When I was alone later in the day, I realized this is a nice place to live, but Not home. Home, after 20 years of living with Ann has come to mean sharing a space With someone and Interacting with them on a daily basis. When I lived alone earlier in my life, Home was a safe place, no one allowed in unless I said so, Safety! And I don't know if I will or can come to feel that I am Home while living alone again.

I was tempted to ask my visitor to come outside with me when taking out the dog. I was tempted to say, "If I'm not back in ten minutes, come looking for me, ok?" But I didn't. These are the kinds of things Ann and I did for one another. And it is unfair to place upon a child, even a sighted hearing child, anything I can do for myself. I just took out the dog as always.

When thinking about someday maybe sharing this place with someone, I understood that the Difficult part would be that I have staked out the back room for my computer, Braille writing and teaching stuff, and supplies for a Tiny business I hope to start. Every person has personal junk, hobbies, etc. Where would these fit?

New subject:
My bed shaker-alarm clock broke. A friend is kind enough to call and wake me. I cannot hear my alarm clock with hearing aids out. The Only thing I can hear is the amplified phone in my room. If the windows were open, it's possible that neighbors a quarter of a mile away would know every time I got a phone call. Wonder if they'd call law enforcement to ask me to turn down the phone?

So I use an unpleasant alternative, at least until one gets used to it. It can be placed between the mattress and box springs, or underneath a pillow to shake me awake. After leaping out of bed cursing for a while, I Did get used to it. Not the New Madrid Fault, just my (cussing) Alarm Clock.

I am having trouble finding a clock which I can set with Braille numbers, or which talks and can be set with hearing aids in, and Also has a bed shaker.

It's embarrassing to be an adult and need someone to Call to wake me up. I have E-mailed the company I purchased the broken one from and hope to hear from them soon, as it is still under warrantee.

Interesting times and changes.

New subject:
When I have time I will contact the blogger management team to see if they can get me subscribed to a blog I want to follow. An IMwidget, I am told, is an icon. But it sounds like a tiny Physical tool for tinkering with a devise that needs repairing. I don't know whether to do the keyboard equivalent of "clicking on it with a rodent" (mouse) or not. And if I give the equivalent keyboard command, will it work? On some websites yes, on others, no.

I had fun with my visitor playing "bopit Extreme" and another game with audio cues which I can hear with hearing aids. We listened to music, watched TV, (I showed her the "Pocket Talker" and I wrote her out a Braille alphabet and a Braille story about the dog and cat. She Very Quickly figured out the story from looking at the alphabet, after printing letters under each Braille letter. She made us chocolate milk shakes with milk, vanilla ice cream, and chocolate syrup. We danced to old music.

Friday, August 5, 2011

De-Buddizing the House?

A very intelligent young person will be visiting me soon. Her parents are devout Christians and I have no wish to interfere in any way with her beliefs.

But I think I'll still be me. I went into a panic when a relative informed me of the dates when my visitor will come. Should I get rid of the altar shelves in nearly every room?

I've heard of de-dyking a house, the movie "The Bird Cage" is all about an attempt to de-gay a home, so what should I do?

I warned my relative of when our Buddhist group meets here, so my guest Won't be exposed to that. Do I owe anything more? I don't think so. Maybe my relation, whom I love, has already warned the guest about me. Who knows? That's Not my problem.

I think I will just leave things in place. If the altar shelves are ignored, I won't bring them up. If I am asked questions I will try to do some education. One of the things I Like Most about Buddhism is that it is Not a Missionary belief system.

It's kind of like the birds and bees talk, answer what is asked and no more than a person wants to hear.

Maybe sometime I will write about what I like best in Buddhism.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A Story I Never Forgot

One night as I listened to the BBC I heard the story of a gentleman and gentle man from Cambodia named Akira. If I am misspelling his name I respectfully ask his pardon.

As a child, under the Pol Pot regime, he was shown how to set land mines and told he could do this or die. He did as he was told.

As only a slightly older child, he was told by Vietnamese forces that he could set land mines for Them or die. He did so. It was not uncommon for a person's family, even a child's family, to be harmed in order to ensure the child's obedience.

As an adult Akira dedicated his life to the removal of all of the land mines from his country. Others might have forgiven him as he was only a child when he set them, under threat of death and harm to those he loved.

But this remarkable man Chose to take responsibility for what he was Forced to do, and spend Years Undoing it. He not only removed land mines, risking his life Voluntarily every day, he set up a museum of land mines. The purpose of his museum was to teach anyone who didn't know, what different land mines looked like, especially children. He taught them to throw a stick, from a safe distance, into anything resembling the land mines in his museum. And he taught the children what terrible damage a land mine could do, so they would take his instruction seriously, protecting themselves and their friends.

He Could have said it wasn't his fault, and it wasn't. But he chose to heal where he had been Forced to cause harm.

His voice was calm, gentle, and soft, as he explained what he did and why. He wanted help with his museum. He did Not dwell on the horrors caused him or his countrymen during those years of war.

This is another story I have never forgotten and I hope it encourages You to do something, anything, to help someone. It has encouraged me.

I wish, when I hear such stories that the reporters who bring them to us would Also say how We who hear their words can help.

But there Are enough people all around us with whom we can share a phone call, a card or E-mail of encouragement, a fan, food, a coat or blanket, or any special skills that we may possess. Men like Akira just encourage us to do this, not by their words, but by their Examples.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

They Requested Mercy for All Living Beings

I am by no means a regular Coast to Coast A.M. listener. But sometimes a news item sticks with me and doesn't leave.

I don't know how long ago it was that in the news items which always begin the show George Noory (looked That one up to try and get the spelling right) announced that 1 or 2 Chinese monks were going a long distance, across a large part of China on their Knees, to visit the Goddess of Mercy.

I think the story might have been from 2009, but not sure. It was reported as though these monks were Crazy and by American standards it would look that way.

But I can't imagine doing such a painful and difficult thing in the wrong spirit. And if it was done in the Right spirit, then those monks took All of Us in their hearts With them. They took to the Goddess of mercy those in all nations who were homeless, who had to beg to survive, who had just been diagnosed with advanced AIDS or cancer. They took with them all who were struggling in violent or verbally brutal relationships. They took the Chinese elders who are committing suicide out of neglect, poverty, and loneliness. And they took with them the rural Chinese women who swallow farm chemicals to poison themselves to death.

I know most Christians and probably most monotheists won't agree, but what those two monks took on voluntarily was all of our pain. It is similar to Jesus' allowing himself to be crucified.

The monks may not have died in their attempt, but they may have, I cannot find out. If they hadn't had the sufferings of others in mind, why not just hitch a ride or take a train to where the Goddess of Mercy was? They chose to go on their knnees to endure sufering in the belief that this could help Others suffer a little less.

The Chinese government now says that Quan Yin is and always was male. It's what they tell tourists. But if the story was reported correctly on Coast to Coast, these monks even went against their powerful Government, by appealing for all suffering beings to the GODDESS of Mercy. I think of them often and am filled with admiration.

I wonder what happened to them, does anyone know? Many peoples around the world understand the ideas behind what these monks chose to do. Native shamans of many traditions face illnesses in which they die or nearly die, before becoming healers for their people. Some Catholic people carry crosses themselves and whip themselves until they bleed before Easter. Then their is the Sun Dance. Tibetan Buddhists practice taking on the pain of others and offering to others the good things they have, or that they wish others could have. It is called Tong-len.

Why was the report made in such a way as to make the monks sound crazy, because what they were doing was dangerous and hurt?

We forget that all over the Earth, every day, people are doing dangerous or painful work for the sake of others without compensation. Maybe I should tell you some more of these stories. But for now, som monks you will never meet cared enough about your suffering and mine to start a journey on their knees over hundreds of miles to request Mercy for All of Us.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Well, as of last night it Looked like some of us won't be homeless, due to lack of Social Security and Disability Insurance checks. I know one woman, working for Just over minimum wage to support three kids and a husband who has become disabled. She was afraid of Housing Assistance being cut off and having her whole family become homeless. She And I would like to thank the Senate for rejecting the House Bill Before the hoped for compromise last night!

Got my amplified phone set up today, hoping my check will come through. What a Relief! not to struggle, ask impatient people to repeat, feel embarrassed when trying to Use the Phone! I am Thankful! Don't have the equipment to use the Relay Service, where a person, (the Relay Operator) types what someone says to me and it would come up in Braille. I don't need that equipment, if I can use amplified phone plus hearing aids.

Next project is a wireless door bell. My Dog Bell was sick over the weekend and didn't bark or come and get me at all, when someone came to the door.

New subject: Why are the TV shows I liked the best always called "edgey" by reviewers? That must be a Hollywood word for realistic. I am watching reruns of my Favorite Star Trek spin-off, Deep Space Nine. It was always described as "edgey."

Is that because it was a show gronups could enjoy and Believable problems to solve? If we Humans can't "get along" it seems Perfectly believable to me that different species of aliens plus humans would have problems and conflicts. Also, the love between Major Kira (sorry, haven't read That one in Braille, may be misspelled) and Odo is Grown up! First they get to know one another, then they are friends, then he learns to love her and she is surprised by her mutual attraction to him. This is much mre realistic than Most TV relationships.

Does "edgey" mean that there are lessons which can be learned from fiction and applied or used to analyze some Current situations? They make it sound like such a Big Deal, when I just think of it as TV for grownups.

I didn't like the characters in New Generation as much. It was like Data was replacing Spock, Riker was replacing Kirk, Troy was eye candy and her character wasn't developed well. And Warf's character got Much more interesting on Deep Space Nine.

I could tell there was anger or tension in a room before the Telepath Troy Sensed it, and I listened to the show Blind.

There should be a category for "Voice Candy." The actor who played Captain Sisco was and is a joy to hear!

I liked Patrick Stewart better as Professor X than as Captain Picard.

Voyater was hit and miss. Some episodes were Truly outstancing and some were just ok. Nivce to see a Native American who did more than grunt and follow orders. Seven of Nine was interesting, as was Bellanna Torez. When attempting to spell these names right all I can do is Try to get this talking computer to pronounce them correctly and hope I'm close. But then this Is the computer which pronounces a cancer inhibiting mushroom Shit I Take. And it's not my spelling either, I've had a friend read the bag.