Cats and the Art of Zen…

Cats and the Art of Zen...

“I put down my book, The Meaning of Zen, and see the cat smiling into her fur as she delicately combs it with her rough pink tongue.

“Cat, I would lend you this book to study but it appears you have already read it,”  I murmured…

***

She looks up and gives me her full gaze.  “Don’t be ridiculous,”  she purrs, “I wrote it.”

– from “Miao” by Dilys Laing

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Thanks to my Family

We have had the opportunity to spend almost 2 months with my biological uncle, his wife Rose, and cousins Mark and Randy

Much rest and the ability to love each other….

I’ve learned many things about our family — and have read a ton while resting. 

* * *

31 Flavors – Great News Today!. . . I’ve been trying to put some weight on and today  I weighed in at 100 pounds!  Hurrah!

31 Flavors of Ice-Cream

31 Flavors of Ice-Cream – I’ll be at my appropriate weight in no time!

Having gained 15 pounds in a couple of months is one terrific accomplishment. 🙂

Oh Joe, Please Don’t Weep

Sadly – Joe Biden is in good company when opening his mouth and inserting foot.  Many presidents, vice presidents, and all the “wanna-be” and the “real deal” politicians have had major foot in mouth disease.  But – Joe has his own unique style of messing up…here’s a few that made me smile!

  • “Stand up, Chuck, let ’em see ya.” –-Joe Biden, to Missouri state Sen. Chuck Graham, who is in a wheelchair, Columbia, Missouri, Sept. 12, 2008
  • “Hillary Clinton is as qualified or more qualified than I am to be vice president of the United States of America. Quite frankly, it might have been a better pick than me.” –Joe Biden, speaking at a town hall meeting in Nashua, New Hampshire, Sept. 10, 2008
  • “You cannot go to a 7-11 or a Dunkin’ Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent…. I’m not joking.” –Joe Biden, in a private remark to an Indian-American man caught on C-SPAN, June, 2006
  • “Look, John’s last-minute economic plan does nothing to tackle the number-one job facing the middle class, and it happens to be, as Barack says, a three-letter word: jobs. J-O-B-S, jobs.” –Joe Biden, Athens, Ohio, Oct. 15, 2008 (too bad that Joe can’t count the number of letters in a word…maybe we’re saving that job for another politician – like an educated  president?!)

~Compiled by Daniel Kurtzman

"I swear...my hands are clean!:

“I swear, my hands are clean as a whistle! …see, I even washed them so they’re really, really clean!”

I remember  so many politicans through the years who have offered up embarrassing  “oops” on and off microphone.  Four letter words probably don’t qualify as three-letter words, Joe. Ah heck, there are a ton of words out there . . . we’ll just not worry about that malarky!  However, you made me laugh!   If the folks in Washington DC could figure out how many letters are in the word, perhaps, just perhaps, we could get some growth and employment!  Or, is it too late?  Are people voted in as a result of the “Marvelous Plan” for “No Child Left Behind?”

* * * * * * * *

THEFT doesn’t just happen to be left to  the “little people.”  And don’t you forget it for one second;  we’re the “little people!”  To add to Poor Joe’s misery, his van was ripped off bunches of electrical equipment in Detroit, Michigan.  Secret Service agents are hot on the trail of the culprit(s).  Perhaps all the equipment will appear on Cold Case issue #403, and it will be found nestled in a junk yard dealer’s yard.  Or. . . maybe the van and equipment is pulled apart completely south of the border and being resold as I write this epistle.

Pardon me for snickering.

Joe's Van Today

If the van is still hanging around Detroit, I could defintely consider working on this search.  It would be a blast…no?!

Captivated by the Desert

Captivated by the Desert

We love the changing seasons everywhere, but it’s particularily spectacular in the desert.. Southwest Arizona has gotten more than it’s fair share of rain this “monsoon” season, which will probably yield a gorgeous spring of cactus blooms.

This picture is from Debbie Carlisle – a long-time resident of Quartzsite.

—–

Nike Air Shoe in Death Valley

Do you wonder where the other shoe went?!

This photo was taken in Death Valley and is one of about five “lone shoes” that we ran across . . . who know where the other shoe is?!

Social Security Disability – The Good, Bad, and Ugly

Social Security Disability:  Having a lingering, chronic, and fatal condition that is sometimes categorized as the “walking dead” is a difficult place to be. 

Waking each morning, putting my feet on the floor, I begin to move through the beginning of my day.  In spite of getting a lot of rest over the past 1-1/2 months at my uncle’s beautiful home in the hills of Auburn, California, this morning I awoke exhausted.  Today has been particularly cruddy.  I just have to learn how to be a little more patient, gracious, and good mannered about it all.  Throwing a fit will not fix my illness…so I’ll blog instead.

We’re extremely lucky and grateful to have this respite from the heat of the Arizona summer.  Great Bonus: An opportunity to visit family (who I’m sure are sick and tired of us, but are gracious enough not to tell us!).

Today I am very grateful for social security disability.  Without it, there would be no tomorrow for either of us.  I wonder what would happen if we couldn’t afford to purchase the medicines that we take – the cost with co-pay is approximately $600.00 a month per person.  If we didn’t have insurance, the cost would be almost $4,000.00 a month for both of us.  Crazy, huh?!

After taking my handful of prescription pills, tablets, and liquid tincture of opium in the morning, sometimes I have to point my head towards the toilet bowl.  I don’t drink much ice-water anymore.  Room temperature liquids have more success making it down and staying down

Like most people on Social Security Disability, I miss working.  I enjoyed my work, the long hours, and the feeling of accomplishment at the end of the day.  I miss “normality,” strength, pain-free days…the ability to physically and emotionally handle difficulties, solve problems, and all those challenges that we humans meet each day.

Today:   The challenge today is handling U-238 uranium and tungsten heavy metal poisoning that has settled into our bodies.  Most days pass with pain, discomfort, vomiting, diarrhea, and often depression joins the party.

My husband Richard and I are both grateful for days when we can get around without experiencing pain or some sort of weird ailment.

Our Experience with Social Security Disability:  Last year we applied for Social Security Disability.  We were told by many people to expect to be turned down by the social security folks.  We heard many horrible stories about people who were literally on their death bed with no bed who were turned down…

Surprisingly, we both received SS Disability three months after sending in the application paperwork.  I was shocked.  

No way!  I have known people who are barely hanging on a tree limb that is breaking, and they have not received a green-light for receiving Social Security Disability.  

I read this story with sorrow in my heart.

Blatant Commercial!   BTW, we didn’t apply for SS Disability on our own: we obtained the services of David C. Brown.  Although he is located in Utah, he has clients all over the nation, and I’d bet my last dime that you will be treated with respect and excellent service by everyone on his office team… If you want to talk to someone who will tell you the truth and keep their promises to you, this is one attorney who will help you and not empty your pockets – here’s the link to his web site: http://lawdcbrown.com/.  

Applying for SSD:   If you are contemplating applying for SSD, don’t try to do it on your own.  Seriously, this is one thing that you need professional help with.

Rejected claims are normal

Get thyself to a lawyer who specializes in getting people their social security benefits

The odds of your claim being rejected the first time through the bowels of the Social Security office are high – it’s rumored that only about 10% of the first claim you send to Social Security are awarded – the remaining 90% of claims are rejected. Get a lawyer that handles this type of work before you even file.

There’s a ton of information on the internet; simply type into your search engine “advice for applying for social security disability,” and do your homework. 

One important note during your application process:  Don’t lie.  This is applicable in everything, but even more so when working with the government, doctors, and attorneys.  And remember, lying includes omissions of information that is pertinent to your situation – there’s no grey here – it’s either black or white and nothing in-between!

I truly believe in the Ten Commandments.  Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think just about every religion and spiritual belief offers up some good advice about honesty!  Check out Buddhist beliefs . . . they have literally the same beliefs as Christians on how a human should behave.

Fraud:  If a little guy wearing a red-hot Lycra suit armed with the pitchfork hangs out on your shoulder whispering, “Come on…no one will ever know you told a little white lie,” please don’t listen to him; okay?   

Don’t exaggerate or try to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes…you’ll get caught.  The consequences aren’t pretty.

Cleaning windows while on social security disability?  ...not a good idea...

Cleaning windows on a high-rise building while on social security disability? …not the best idea… 🙂

FRAUD is what this is called!  Just so you know what social security fraud is, read this “e-how.com” explanation

There are a lot of stories and folklore about Aunt Ginnie collecting her deceased husband’s Social Security checks for years before the folks at the Social Security Office wised up.  Yes, that is FRAUD.

I suspect that only lawyers and politicians will escape the penalties for lying!

Just so there’s no doubt in your mind, if you lie (or omit information required) on your application for SSD, the rest of us ‘little people’ will probably have to refund the government all of the ill-gotten money plus interest and fees.

There's no way this orange jumpsuit will look this great on any of us

You and I won’t look this good in orange prisoner jumpsuits!

. . . And, oh horrors, you just may find yourself wearing a very unflattering orange jump-suit with PRISONER stenciled on the back.  Not a pretty picture.

This is how most people look in orange prison jumpsuits!

This is how we’ll really look!

The first social security payment was made in 1937.  What do you want to bet that shortly after that historical event, someone figured out a way to fraudulently steal money from social security funds? 

1937 - First Year of Social Security

1937 – First Year of Social Security.  It didn’t take long for the SS workers desks to get snowed-under with claims from disabled people in the USA.

This meandering tale and observations about Social Security Disability is brought to you on a Friday night; after a difficult week.  So that’s my excuse for not staying “on-point” right now! 

Prescriptions – Friend or Foe?

As my husband and I have been wending our way through this lingering condition of U-238 uranium and tungsten poisoning, the number and strength of medications has been increasing.  Last week we had the worst thing happen to us that could – our prescriptions for the month were way-laid for 1 full week.

I’ll skip the details on how the medication shipment got delayed, but suffice it to say, last week we went through detoxification (obviously un-planned and not controlled).  Detoxification of our systems for seven days had us literally physically jerking every limb day and night, throwing up, and all the basic ingredients that every addict fears the most. 

Because the poisoning that we have is so heavy (trust me: uranium is the heaviest heavy metal out there), no cure is available.  Chelation won’t touch this poison.  Surgery won’t work – unless we wanted to have every single organ in our body transplanted (I understand this has been done before, but the chances of survival are about 3%-we think those are lousy odds).

So, today we drink tincture of opium, take about 4 different pain pills, and add in valium….oh, almost forgot: I use a 100 mg morphine patch too. 

Going cold turkey:  Let me assure you that it’s an experience that is uniquely wicked. And, I don’t mean “wicked good.”  Your entire body including all hair folicles and fingernails hurts like hell.  You vomit constantly, and then you lose everything out the other end too.  During detoxification your skin goes from clammy warm to freezing goosebumps alternating every 10 minutes or so.  You cannot sleep, and you long for death. 

I found myself dropped to the floor on my knees praying, “Oh God, just kill me now and get this over with.”

Well, since you’re reading this blog, you know that He didn’t provide that option to me as an answer 🙂  Both of us made it through 7 long days without our medications.  I’m pleased to have a bit more time inspite of how I felt all week. 

Bottom line for us is that although we wish we didn’t have to take drugs, we must if we want to continue living.  If we stop, we will be stopped . . . permanently.

I am completely amazed at how much humans desire to live!  We fight for our lives even when we know that the final conclusion will be death.  No matter how jaded, cynical, angry, or pessimistic we may be: Life Is Important.

There are other important issues: Quality of life and finding a dignity as we die. Unfortunately in the United States of America and most all countries, the dying are not provided a dignifed, comfortable, and painless way to die.  Suicide for terminally ill patients is unlawful (except Oregon – and there are so many restrictions there, that I would advise you not to pack your bags and get right over there…). 

Richard and I have gone full circle on the subject of the right to die.  We firmly believe the laws must be changed to protect people such as ourselves.  We should have a say over our bodies and life.  We must.  Because by not having a right to say when and how I will die from a debilitating condition, the government basically OWNS me. 

There are a few exceptional events in our life where I don’t want the government involved, and the right to die is one.

Going back to being without our medicines for one week for a moment of reflection: It was hell.  But, I found that I have an incredibly strong desire to stay alive through it all.   We humans can take a lot of battering and pain for just one deep breath of air.

Saturday Morning Musing

Saturday Morning Musings…

Curiosity and interest.  Most of us desire to see things not previously seen – do something we haven’t done before-experience something new. 

Life is filled with exceptional experiences.   Unfortunately as time has gone by, we get jaded…curiosity is replaced with exhaustion, interest is replaced with disappointment. 

I’ve learned that so many, many psychological things happen to us when facing a serious illness.  Even worse, I’ve discovered a lethargy that I never expected. (Albeit, much of that lethargy can be attributed to the poisoning and the many medications that we have been taking for the past few years.)

Regardless, if we have a serious, deadly, or chronic disease, we do become different.  Our minds and emotions change – often because of the drugs taken that are necessary to keep us alive and breathing.  And, yes the pain of the disease or condition that we carry with us every day.

 “Better living through chemistry.”  REALLY? 

 Each day we take our pills and liquid tincture of opium.  And, each day we feel the effects of the disease as it moves through our bodies…pushing and pulling…every day wishing to have a happier frame of mind.

 I’d love to wish upon a falling star and have that wish come true!

 

Falling Stars are a Promise for Tomorrow's Happiness

Falling Stars Come in All Sorts of Shapes!

According to some writers who are care keepers or hospice helpers for dying patients believe that as you prepare to die, patients usually conduct a ‘Life Review.’  I believe that to be true.  If you aren’t hit by a Mack truck and die instantly, but instead face a lingering and painful process of dying…you sift through the past events in your life and evaluate yourself, others, and your life experiences.

It just makes sense to review the past.  I know that I have spent a lot of time going over my past, asking some important questions of myself, “did I do the right thing?,” “did I treat people with respect?,”  “did I give 100%?,” “did I act in an honorable way through my life?”  Those are just a few questions I have to ask myself.

Many nights I awaken with fear and feelings of helplessness.  I hear that’s also to be expected.  I would like to spend more time in the happiness zone.  Being a worry-wart isn’t going to help me at all.

Dying was never on my Top Ten of Desires.  In fact, thinking about it, I believe that I devoted less than 1% of my waking hours in thinking about death until we discovered that we have radiation (U-238 and tungsten poisoning).

falling stars come in all sorts of shapes!

I was busy wishing on falling stars and grabbing those beautiful stars with both hands for over 50 years. 

How blessed I have been . . . I have beat back death on several occasions and have had a life filled with travel, love of a caring man, and more “stuff” than I ever needed.  At the end of the day I value the love of family and friends more than anything.  The junk that I collected through the years is almost gone (good riddance!).

The one major concern I have as “ye ole’ grim reaper”  approaches:  I have lost my curiosity and interest.   I don’t crochet, am a crummy “craft person,” and just can’t figure out how to rejuvenate my curiosity and interest.

 Got any ideas?  I’d be pleased to entertain any concepts.

Much love and friendship to those whom I know and am very grateful.  Without friends and family, our lives would be quite different.  (Perhaps sometimes they could try creating a little less stress – but they usually mean the best – right!)

Happy weekend.

Patti

Patti – back when working was one of my favorite things to do (note: I said “ONE!”)

Love – Patti – on a good day!