Asking For Help.

Easier said than done.  I gave in and allowed a friend to help me last week, and we were unable to accomplish a task.  So, her husband (a guy I like and respect very much) is now coming over to my messy house tomorrow to see if he can turn the screws that the two of us were too weak to turn without stripping.

I’m tired just thinking about it.

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I can get work done around the house.

Or, I can keep up with cleaning the house.

Or, I can go out and do something fun.

So many choices, and yet so little time.  But, once I ask for help, then I have no control over what happens next, and I hate that loss of control.

I’ve been cleaning the house for a week (last week was REALLY embarrassing for how much stuff had to be moved before we could focus on the couple of things I needed done).  And I’m still not ready for her husband to see my messy house as part of helping me fix this particular problem…

Losing Jumanji

As for reasonings as to why I have such a “meh” attitude?  No idea.

I had a pretty good attitude at the beginning of the Summer.  I loved my trip to the UK.  But, the drama of the canceled flights.  And the frantic efforts to replace the tickets cost me $4,000 extra.  $3,750 for the flights, and $183 for the transportation to San Francisco.

Coming back from the UK, I was still carrying a pretty good attitude, but… paperwork.  I really hate paperwork…

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Fighting these issues, I was told I was only going to be reimbursed $1,000 ($500 per seat), and have been effectively told to pound sand since that point.  I know I need to write the insurance commissioner.  I know I need to chase British Airways.  Instead, I’m sleeping the days away.

I keep trying to tell myself that there’s plenty of time to get everything that needs to be done accomplished, and then I get frustrated when I am not strong enough to do something by myself and need to ask for help.

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And, in the middle of all this drama and whining I recall that I already asked for help (a simple ride to the airport when all transportation was booked), and now the friend who couldn’t give me a ride but who could arrange a short-notice car service won’t let me pay for the out-of-pocket costs. It’s not that I didn’t have the money – it’s that I couldn’t find anyone to take me.

And, being unable to pay my way with her is really driving me crazy and adding to my aggravation with myself and the world.

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Why is asking for help (and not getting the help you asked for in the way you requested it) more frustrating than necessary?

$183 is not chicken feed, and it’s making me crazy that she won’t accept the money back from me.  I’m trying to let it go and just leave the dollars in the CASH APP for her to accept or reject as she wishes, but – somehow – her unwillingness to let me repay her that exorbitant amount of cash is adding to my frustration with life in general.  I am not helpless.  I am not penniless.  (Even though I want my refund from either the travel insurance company or British Airways).

While none of this is a new viewpoint for me, it’s exhausting to not be able to get out of my own way and simply accept that things happen at their own speed, regardless of what I desire.

I guess the signs are right.  I’m not depressed, but I am grieving.

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Crazy, as there’s nothing particularly wrong.  But, having to give way to ask a man for help (and having to accept that help GRACEFULLY when you just want to do it Charlie Sheen style and pay a stranger to do the work because you’re really paying them to go away) speaks to a really shallow lack in my own nature.

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Whatever it is, I’m still out in the wilds trying to clear my head.

My COPD is ok.

I’m being productive.  Somewhat.

I just can’t seem to get out of my own way, my house is a mess, and I’m sleeping way too much.  So, I’m looking forward to another vacation running around with another friend in Oregon and Washington, and hoping that the vacation will do what I need it to do and snap me out of my pity party.

There endith this update.  You haven’t missed a thing.

Haiku

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FFS

WTF

Exhausted

Who, me?

Not today.

Get up.

Show up.

Try.

Rinse and repeat.

There has to be more to life than this.

On bad days, though, there’s online gambling.

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Life is what it is.

The insanity continues in the world, so I’m still on haitus.

This is my hiaitus haiku.

 

 

 

Endings

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We look at the sunset everyday, thinking, “Well, is this all there is?”  Or, “That was great !  Can’t wait to do it again tomorrow.”  Or any one of a hundred musings along those lines.

Having made it safely back from my overseas jaunt, I am happy to report that I stayed well, despite being tired.  I am healthy, despite my body’s continued betrayal.

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Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a tired man trapped in this woman’s body.   John Coffey / Stephen King absolutely called my state of mind may years ago, way back in 1984, when I made plans to escape my parochial life and journey to this foreign land of California in the hopes that things would be better.

What I found instead was something I’ve always known.  No matter where you go, you can’t outrun yourself.  Ideas that had me branded as wild in Boston are still the same ideas that have me branded as boring in California.  No matter where you go, the truth will out and you are who you are.  It’s just that simple and that pragmatic.

So, as I contemplate my so called, “golden years”, I can’t help but note that it’s an ending that is taking way too long to arrive.

I’ve done my best to remain busy and out of mischief, but being busy without a purpose is just as tiring as having a purpose.  And, remaining within my budget is very hard, but especially when I am bored and looking to keep busy and out of trouble.

Today’s introspection is courtesy of an Auntie who appears to be trying to do herself in.  Again.  Plus a neighbor whose wife has Alzheimers, and who slipped his supervision and ended up in a care home 3 months or so back.

So many people unhappy with their lives, yet either trying to leave it too soon, or keep it functional long past all reasoning for quality of life.

While I was traveling I was exhausted.  Daily.  But I managed to get up and get moving every day (some days better and more on top of things than other days).  There was no question about my health, or “Is this the big one?” for a health scare in the night.

Instead, everything was on hold for an indefinite period of time while I explored other lives and other realities.  I was alive, and living, vs. trying to find a purpose to get my butt in gear and get on with the business of living.  Every day.  Day after day.

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It was a time away from my life, and I loved it.  And, while I have yet to get my income (matching salary benefit from the insurance company) due in the month of June, I’ve continued to spend money and buy plants and do what I can to stay engaged in life, despite the aggravation that being alive and continuing to fight the good fight brings each day.  Each day I’m short of money and worried about bills and managing priorities.

As the old song says, 🎶 If that’s all there is my friend, then let’s keep dancing.  Let’s look at the moon and have a ball… 🎶

Every life must have it’s ending.  And, my being aware for most of my 57 years that life is finite, and my life more than others, it just leaves me naval gazing and wishing I could be off dancing some more.

I’ve put down money on a trip to Portland and Vancouver, BC, in the Fall.  Having faith that my money will keep on coming and that I’ll need stuff to do to keep busy if my health remains stable.

I’ve also put money down on a cruise in the Spring, hoping against hope that my Sis will snap out of her mad and find a way to make the family trip for a cousin’s 10 year anniversary next March.

So many different things I’m doing, while also wondering when my ending will hurry up and get here.

I was stuck for an answer earlier today (twice!) when the neighbor who has had to put his wife in a home challenged me on my health and why I wasn’t “healing” my lungs through stem cell treatments.  It was hard not to say, “Look, you just put your wife in a home and are preparing to sell everything to pay for her care while you both fight to keep being able to afford to live.”   Instead, I just had to answer politely that I’m not made of money and that stem cells aren’t the answer.  Yet.  And maybe not ever, if one has to keep on dealing with the pain of the treatment and affording the treatments every six months or so.

Having harvested the tomatoes and bringing them over to a friend to enjoy, I had to stop from snapping at a know-it-all 25 year old who demanded to know “how” I knew I was allergic to fruits and vegetables.  (It was all I could do to not grab her by the throat and shove her face in the panties I’d crapped in on Friday, being unable to make it home in time to avoid the heading-for-the-nearest-exit food drama my body insists is now its standard).

Having eaten some roast beef that uncooked lettuce touched, and which minute amount of lettuce I didn’t find in my sandwich until more than half way through it, you can trust me to know that my body’s reaction to fruits and vegetables is worsening, and that I “know” my allergic reactions. Nobody wants to live long enough to have to clean up their own crap.  Anyone with sense will avoid anything even remotely likely to provoke an undesirable reaction, never mind one so extreme.

So, I’m sure I had a point to this blog when I started it.  For now, let’s just wrap it up with the knowledge that old age isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be, and that I’m ready to go when the time comes.  Endings.  They make way for new beginnings.  At least, in my world.

Answers?

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A good friend and favorite blogger, Embeecee,  of “sparksfromaconbustiblemind”, posted answers to another bloggers questions, recently, and since this colors a conversation I’ve been having with myself (post-vacation let-down, and scrambling for money issues kind of pointless thoughts), I figured I’d put off blogging what I was going to write about a little longer, and answer the same questions:

Questions and My Answers below:

https://margosviews.wordpress.com/2018/07/04/july-4-2018/

Thought provoking for Americans, but really these questions could be applied to anyone, any where.  They are questions ‘for our time’ I think.

She writes:  “I don’t have a crystal ball showing what the USA will look like in 20 or 40 or 100 years, but I know the decisions we make today will color, determine, shade and dictate what our grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren will see when they are our age.

* * * * * * *

Will they see a nation that offers safety to the homeless?

A)  Unfortunately, America never offered safety to the homeless.  If we go back to 1918, before the New Deal era, there were zero worker protections, homelessness was a byproduct of being brave enough to strike out on your own for new (and hopefully, better) opportunities.  But, none of this was available to women, who were still largely chattels and didn’t even get the right to vote until 1920.

Will they have the right to raise their arms and voices in protest without government retaliation?

A)  There has always been retaliation against the protestors.  One only has to look at the 1960’s to know that raising one’s voice in protest always came with consequences.  It’s a test of individual mettle as to whether or not someone is willing to protest at all.

Will women have control of their bodies?

A)  It’s an illusion to believe that women have EVER had control of our bodies.  While there are some basic rights since the 1970’s protecting a woman’s right to birth control and medical care, of which I truly believe abortion is a medical care choice, her rights have always been limited by her ability to access that control of her body.  Despite employers.  Despite conscientious objector pharmacists, and despite the pilloring of Planned Parenthood as an anti-women, anti-family medical provider.  To-may-toe.  To-mah-toe, as they say.

Will children be assured of safety and care?

A)  Children have NEVER been assured of safety and care. If that were true, there wouldn’t be so many neglected and abused children in the world.

Will minorities be treated equally?

A)  There is still much work to do.  Until mankind recognizes that we are all in this together, and that mistreatment of you equals mistreatment of me, there will always be those individuals who don’t care who they trample to get near the top – and who will use any context (gender, religion, skin color, etc.) to differentiate and descriminate against anyone they deem outside the golden circle of ranked privilege they are trying to attain for themselves.

Will the earth be abundant and fertile, free of toxins spewing and scorching its inhabitants?

A)  One can hope.  But…  as long as there are ignorant people who believe convenience and cost / affordability outweigh inconvenience and sustainability, it’s going to remain an uphill battle,

Will a middle class exist?

A)  Until America sees that Corporations are not people, and that we all deserve a sanitary roof over our heads, food and medical care – regardless of what we do to earn a living – the attacks upon the middle class will continue.  We were at our most prosperous after the New Deal era and World War II, yet we still found reasons to attack the weakest and most vulnerable among us, as well as attacking each other’s economic worth, as a way to undermine each other and the bourgeoise middle class.

Will this span of land be filled with haves and have-nots?

A)  It already is.  While it was better between 1940 and 1980 for parity and opportunities, it’s taken an equally scant 40 years since the 1980’s to undermine all the progress that had been made, and to set a tone of hopelessness among our citizens.

Will the nation be a leader?

A)  It cannot be a leader if it’s a bully, trumping other land’s rights to self-determination.  Cadet Bonespurs expressed wish / lighthearted talk about invading Venezuela points to the fact that our warlike leadership as a nation is a huge problem that needs to be addressed.

Will it be an entity beating its chest, taking advantage of whoever and whatever it can?

A)  As long as it’s run by self-motivated, greedy, imperialists, our boorish behavior on the international stage looks likely to continue.  And, as the cost of the future debt we owe our soldiers and veterans people who have paid in advance and for whom we refuse to care for properly in terms of mental health access, PTSD treatment, and income for life for injuries sustained on international battlefields is never paid, I believe we will continue with our thieving, bullying.

Will they be a people of peace?

A)  Some are.  Unfortunately, peace only works when everyone is willing to respect differences and refuse to fight to the death over nonsense.

Will they be a people of abuse?

A)  Given the examples visible today, we will continue to bully any one or any nation we deem expendible or less viable / worthy.

Will they love who they don’t know?

A)  Sadly, xenophobia appears to be alive and flourishing.

Will they fear who they don’t know?

A)  Sadly, we appear to be a nation of scaredy cats, flinching and reacting to the smallest provocation… even when or if the other guy isn’t trying to be provocative.

Will they be open to the oppressed?

A)  So far, we only seem to care if they look like us.  Sound like us.  Come here with oodles and oodles of cash in their pockets.  I’d like to hope we’d help strangers, but it’s not looking likely.

Will they be exclusive and prejudiced?

A)  So far, it’s 51 / 49 in terms of standing up to the status quo.  I think the prejudicial programs will continue, sadly.

Will white men continue to dictate the rules of society?

A)  I don’t know what I fear more… rich old white men, or the vociferous, us-against-them methods being used to divide us further by labels (ideals) and agendas.

Will women’s voices be heard, respected, heeded?

A)  We heckle everyone.  While men get the mic more often, we appear to be an equal opportunity abuser for holding down anyone interested in challenging the status quo.

Will the United States be united by force, isolated and alone?

A)  Both.  We are united in our passions, but unable to lead ourselves dispite our similarities, because we appear to be demanding Stepford Wife perfection in everyone.  Regardless of the fact that some of the world’s best leaders were drunkards, womanizers, etc., etc., etc.

Will the people rule and govern?

A)  When have we ever.  We govern by consensus, but that only works if everyone participates and agrees to be ruled by the majority.

Will more estrogen rule or more testosterone?

A)  Ugh.  If we make it a male / female issue, we’ve already lost.  It needs to be the best person governing. Period.

Will future generations know freedom as we do today?

A)  Absolutely.  Freedom evolves.

If we don’t speak out will future generations be allowed to do so?

A)  One cannot wait for permission.  One must speak out.  Always.  Whenever one has passion for or against an issue.

In closing, let me say that one must live in hope.  Some believe in a higher power; some do not.  I believe in me and all the good people I meet in the world every day.  Any day I’m alive is a day I’m trying to make things better.  Even in our darkest hours.

To pirate from Embeecee:

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London Calling

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Well, I made it.  London, at last !

Despite my fears.

Despite the last 2 years of legal threats.

Despite the challenges of travel, including having my business class departure-only airline tickets cancelled without notice from anyone.

I made it to London after emptying my emergency stash of money in my bank account, and making traveling without a safety net my reality. (Scary, but I’m making it work).

I’m wide awake at 3am London time, having had a wonderful and exhausting time at Stonehenge and Bath today, and falling asleep right after dinner.  *That* is the reality of leaving home and one’s comfort zone.

Weird hours.

Wide awake AND exhausted at the same time.  Starving and surviving on rice krispy bars and water (as the food does NOT agree with me – even the hot dogs).

But here, capable, and curious about all that history has to offer.

On my tour today from London to Lacock to Stonehenge and Bath, it was the words of Pablo Neruda (spied on a plaque in passing) that struck me the most:

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This journey has brought me the joys of seeing Dick Francis’s world of misty fields and pastures brought to life from his racing mystery stories:

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To sharing an adventure with a very dear friend and bringing her the joy of getting in among the stones at Stonehenge:

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Running around and marveling at all the cozy Cotswold stone cottages and their lovely gardens, one could not help but feel that that the triumphs and tragedies of WWII and D-Day, Or WWI and Armistice Day happened just days past.

 

 

Red poppies were in bloom everywhere, reminding me of how much was lost in 1918 during WWI.

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…only to be repeated again in WWII and beyond.

Here live the ghosts of Man’s inhumanity to Man, along with some of his most inspiring creations made by Man to glorify a belief in a higher power, and a calling to each soul to be more to the world than a beast of burden; a brute, determined to destroy rather than create.

 

 

 

I could feel my Mother’s love all around me.  Daisies everywhere I looked (her favorite flower), and grave upon grave of strong women, buried with the children they loved and lost too young.  So many cemetaries we visited during my childhood vacations, as she struggled to come to terms with the death of my younger brother, Jimmy, who came into this world in hope and perfection, only to leave us all in 3 short days.  A SIDS mystery from which we both never recovered.

 

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Life, death, passion and endurance everywhere I looked.  So much beauty, pagentry, and the indellible mystery of how a land will keep renewing itself and its people.

I can’t wait to see what the upcoming days bring to this adventure.

 

 

Brain Health Registry

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I’ve been involved in tracking my own brain health (as a caregiver for someone with Alzheimers / Dementia) since I moved my Aunt in with me in 2010.

While Auntie only stayed with me a year total, I’ve kept up with my participation in the brain health study as Alzheimers / Dementia runs in the family.

The medical agencies involved in this particular study are organizations that I believe are pretty cutting-edge, especially since I rely on Stanford for most of my own care.  I also relied on their assessments of my Aunt’s health to aid her in getting back on her feet despite her overall level of disability.

BHR Participants

While I have not been diagnosed with any particular brain malady, I was pro-active in doing my research to know that having COPD may compromise my brain health.  Having brain health issues in my family tree (I count 6 possible tags on my maternal side of the family – purple tags in the chart below), I believe it’s better to be aware and dealing with the possibilities that medication may help me stay in my right mind longer than if I ignore it all and do nothing.

6 incidents of dementia as of 2018

Add in the likelihood of dementia complications due to the COPD and underlying bodily inflammation, and it’s important to stay on top of worst-case scenarios in order to remain healthy.

Not sure where I’m going with this particular posting, however, I updated my brain testing this morning with the study, and was amazed at how poorly I feel I did.  Especially since I otherwise feel fine.

I also just checked my fitbit stats, and I didn’t sleep particularly poorly last night (and I’m showing an hour’s improvement over my longer term average of 5.5 hours per 24 hour period).

Sleep Log thru Sat Morning 19MAY18

Whatever’s going on, I’m feeling good today.

Working on the trip log books for adding notes while we travel.  (Mine will also contain some genealogy reminders, since we’re traveling through many places where my ancestors came from, and I may have an opportunity to learn more about my family history).

Bernard Family Tree

Tonight is P!nK, and I’m hopeful that I won’t get tired during the concert.  I’ll get my breakfast and meds shortly (now that it’s almost 1pm, as I’m still sticking with the daily fasting schedule to try and control my diabetes / tiredness).  As soon as I’m done with eating and meds, it will probably be nap time and then time to hit the road.  I so cannot wait to see if P!nk is as good in concert as she is on her albums.

Whatever you’re doing, I hope you’re having a good day.