Help Paper cutut

As a disenfranchised worker and political obsessive, I have found an article in “The Nation” particularly interesting, especially the author’s closing remarks:

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“Thirteen years ago, Hurricane Katrina gave us an early taste of the future they [industrialists / capitalists] have built for us: a murderous, militarized, racialized response to human vulnerability. Now we are living in it. We know what their world looks like: abundance for the few behind walls and razor wire, precarity and impoverishment for the rest of us; endless prisons for endless streams of migrants, concentration camps by other names.

But there are other futures, other worlds as yet unmade. We have only to choose ours, and to fight like hell for it—fiercely, with forms of solidarity that we have not yet been able to imagine. Solidarity not only with one another but with this planet and the many forms of life it hosts. There is no way out of this but to cease to view the Earth, and its populations, as an endless sink of resources from which wealth can be extracted.

This is not hippie idealism but purest practicality: There is no way to preserve anything approximating the status quo without turning into monsters, or cadavers, and no way to survive that is not radical. In this future we will need to keep our eyes open and learn to calm ourselves only with truths. If other worlds are not yet visible, it is because they are ours to make.

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I just posted a great story on mainstreaming the mentally handicapped with different learning abilities, and I want you to think about the fact that they are being mainstreamed into jobs that we are told American’s “don’t want”.

Sweet Jordan’s Bakery

When you contrast the story from the Nation with the story from WZTV Fox 17 News, you can see that they are both different viewpoints of the same topic – our vulnerability and desire to be able to take care of ourselves, all while trying not to contribute to the end of our planet.




Yes, I have way too much time on my hands in Winter.

One of our fellow bloggers, Marilyn Armstrong, has reminded me of how lucky I am to be an escapee from Massachusetts’ Wintery ice world; I haven’t thought of (or even had to consider) the existence of galoshes in years.

Given the crazy rain and flooding we can have, I *do* have a staple from my childhood, mud boots, acquired since I moved to the boonies and given the flooding our county suffered in the Winter downpours of 2016 / 2017.  But, I haven’t thought of galoshes in years.


In my case, the mud boots were an impulse buy from the local tractor supply store when I was out and about shopping for trees (I’d like a flowering almond, a dog wood, or a weeping cherry tree for that rear corner of the yard, by my neighbor’s shed).

Flowering Almond tree:


or a Dogwood tree:


Or, a Weeping Cherry:


Whatever it is that I ultimately decide to do, I want something in the far left corner of my miniscule lot, far enough away from the house to not dominate my pocket of sunshine, and yet far enough away from one neighbor’s fence line and another neighbor’s shed (a butt ugly color – kind of a pale yellow, almost a beige) to not create reasons why I *must* talk to neighbors about my tree bothering their property.

If I can find a way to make an English cottage garden thrive in drought country, without planting trees that will grow too tall to block my sunlight, AND find a way to add a small fish pond, I’m going to do it.

– after I get the skirting finished

– after I get the electrical updated to add replacement fans

– after…  etc., etc., etc.  (This whole homeownership business can fill a lot of day dream time and distract you from whatever’s going on in the real world, if you let it).


I’ve decided to put off dealing with the landscaping until I can hire someone to do it right (and handle all the heavy digging and landscaping for me).  But, I still shop and sketch and think about what I’d like to put in that corner.  And, which shopping led me to the impulse buy of mud boots.  $19.99 at the feed and tractor store.  A bargain !

When I get the crazy notion to walk the fields behind my mobile home park, those goofy boots are perfect for dealing with any mud, protecting my feet in the event of rattlesnakes, and generally making me look like a harmless doofus, so that whosever abandoned property it may be will be assured that I’m harmless should they see me on their security cameras.

That being said, though, I’m about done with Winter.  I know it doesn’t compare to anything SparksFromACombustibleMind is enduring, because I ran away from much tamer Winters than she experiences in the mountains of Utah or my Aunt can see nearby in the mountains of Nevada / Las Vegas.  But, I have had enough of being housebound.


We’re supposed to have a blood red wolf moon on Sunday night into Monday night, with a star gazing event planned to be able to get out of the house and enjoy it.  So, I’d appreciate if the storms would stop.  Please.  I’ve truly begun to turn into a mushroom, I’ve been stuck in this house so long…







Dear Dr Ruth… Part II

I could have called this “Dale’s Departure”, too, as this is more than a sex blog, but you decide what to call it yourself, after you finish reading, if you’ve decided to continue with this tale.

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The original chat I’m writing about first began in Dear Dr. Ruth.    For those of you still interested in this chat, here’s the latest chapter where I pretend to be an expert on something that I’ve only dabbled in and researched on my own.  (Photo credit is “Quantum Leap”, and an episode where Sam got cast as Dr. Ruth).  

Sex and sexuality continues to be a huge taboo in the lives of healthy people, never mind folks who are disabled or dealing with a chronic illness.  I am here to say that handicapped or chronically ill people are not neuters or androgynous folks for whom sex and intimacy have no value.  We are not asexual children, for whom sexual activity has no interest as there are no hormones or memories of happier times driving us.

Everything works, even if it’s not in an appealing package or a body able to be supple and lithe and act on its urgings without effort.

sexuality and aging

What’s been really strange, though, is learning that my much younger cousin, as she’s entered her 40’s and following the passing of her Mother, is also going through a sexuality evolution very similar to what I experienced.

Even though we have different fathers (the brothers), I am left wondering if there is something damaged in our Paternal line that makes it easy to get between the ears of the women of our family.

Since she was raised Jewish, I know it’s not the Catholic guilt that I always blamed for myself.  But, raised to be “ladies”.  Raised at a time when sexual urges and women’s freedom to act on their own sexual interest was evolving, and also becoming sexually active in a time of fear for not knowing what caused HIV and AIDs, it’s strange to see my 10-15 years younger cousin going through many of the same personal quests that I went through following the death of our Moms.

Maybe we both have the same fear of being exposed and ridiculed for our decisions to be sexually active without the benefit of marriage.  But, whatever it was that got packed in our personal baggage, we’ve both done or are doing our best to root out the existence of fear and derision from the voices in the back of our brains.  That inner voice that never shuts up and always sees us as less than.  Less than desirable.  Less than capable.  Less than intelligent.  Whatever it is, I do find it funny that we two wallflowers ended up being cast as Dr. Ruth personalities in our very different lives.  She’s speaking to the shy women to try and free them of their self-imposed bonds, and I am speaking to the handicapped women.  Amazing what a small world it is.

At any rate, I digress.

I tend to do that when given free rein.

In this case, a few months have passed, and one of the COPDteam members tagged me in a private message to again discuss his concerns.  In this case, Dr. Ruth is turning into a grief counselor and life coach.

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(The picture which started this conversation was probably something like this shared on fb.  I love for helping me address my ever present homesickness with beautiful images):


So, he reaches out to me (and, remember, I type a lot on the tablet, so please excuse my spelling and missed errors – I think you’ll get the gist of the conversation despite the typos.  I’m still the blue ink typist):

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(For anyone who wants to know what Hypoxia or Pulmonary Edema is, there will be a definition at the end.  Basically, he wanted reassurance that he wouldn’t suffer when his time came).

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60 degrees tracker

Another aside – temperature variations will kill us fastest with COPD, and many folks are too proud to acknowledge that they may not be able to afford to care for themselves as it gets closer to the end.  In my case, having learned from Dale’s situation, I have a temperature gauge in my house to verify what the actual indoor temperature is, and watch it like a hawk to make sure that my thrifty, Scot’s soul isn’t sabotaging my own health over my dislike of stale air plus worries that my money won’t stretch to heat my tin can home.

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I think in some ways it’s a betrayal of the private messenger to repeat this conversation verbatim.  However, since I’m hiding the names of the folks who are still alive and might object to something I’ve published being traced back to the correspondent, I’ve done what I could to recount a real-time concern while also hiding the identity of anyone involved.

Because these topics are so taboo to discuss, I want whoever goes through my blog to have the option to read what was going on in my life and my head, trash it all, or take it and make a book out of it which might help someone else in similar circumstances.

Once we’re no longer here, nothing much matters to the person that has left this earthly plane.  There will be no one left who cares about me to embarrass by anything I’ve said or done or written.

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Almost forgot – here’s what it usually says on the death certificate when one of us passes, and why my teammate was inquiring into the ways that Dale or Mom might have suffered before they passed.

hypoxia definition

hypoxia types

pulmnary edema definition

See?  Even the definitions leave you shaking your head and not wanting to think of the reality behind the process of dying.


Dear Dr Ruth… Part 1

Due to my willingness to talk about almost any topic, I’ve turned out to be the Dr Ruth of private messages for COPD sufferers.  REF my earlier blog:  Passages 

Often, it’s just a guy being a hound dog, so I have to be careful about pushing back and enforcing polite behavior so that my fb feed doesn’t fill up with x-rated material due to it’s ‘bots always spying on whatever you do or say, creating algorithms and links where you would otherwise prefer your privacy.  Sometimes, I end up friends with the wives and extended group of friends from the site, with multiple private chats and various conversations occurring.

Today’s private chat started way back in October, and I’m still not sure what picture this fb friend claims to have seen that matches up to something he claimed to have seen of mine on AFF, but I have always said that I will own my choices if busted on them, so I’m choosing to go public without waiting for whatever drama might hit the fact to actually hit the fan if my choices have been exposed to my family and friends as a whole.

Yes, sex is still a private issue for me, but it explains some of the background references that this fellow COPD sufferer claims to have linked despite my 9 email accounts and making every effort to keep all aspects of my life in their separate lanes so as to not embarrass anyone in my family with my personal choices overlapping from one social site to another.

(All typos are mine.  Since these are screenshots, just wade through them if you wish.  I’m not bothering to fix ’em, even if I am choosing some editing in yellow to protect other’s privacy).

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So, in the lonely hours, I hear from a variety of folks either on the MyCOPDteam website, or via private messaging on fb.  Whether I’m on either site I still get sexually-oriented questions that I try to handle respectfully as everyone needs to be able to express themselves about ALL of their needs and concerns or fears, and so often the intimacy of the internet is the only place that they can go to explore the things that are of the most concern to their health and wellbeing.

Since I’m sitting here wide awake due to fear of lying down and being in pain, I get a lot of middle of the night weirdness that I try to treat in the sprit in which I feel it was intended – a call for understanding in the lonely hours of the night.




2018 has been a hard year for losing lots of people that I’ve become connected to through the MyCOPDteam website.

While the development and expansion of the internet has been amazing to help people become their own best research assistants for remaining as healthy as possible, it’s also opened up the world to previously housebound folks.


So many voices in the night, struggling to remain positive while living with their fears that death may happen at any moment, and they are all gathered at the COPD-specific website.

I’ve been there three (3) years myself, and I struggle with the “God will save me” folks, as well as those that say, “It’s God’s will for me to suffer”.  Either viewpoint really leaves me cold because I’m not a believer and don’t think that my chronic illness was either visited on me because I’m evil and deserve it, or because I’m “strong enough to handle it”.  B.S. by any point of view is still B.S.

Today’s offline conversation with another COPD team member who also hangs out on facebook had me scrambling and wasting the entire day trying to regain my balance.

1)  Because I care for him and want to be a good friend, and,

2)  Because caring for anyone is absolutely draining.  Oh, and I also got a call from Auntie’s Realtor / friend / enabler last night,

so my 3) was following up with Auntie and trying not to let her anger drag me down.  We got through the conversation in all cases, but there went another day.

The idea of a website / social network where you can hang out and discuss your issues is great, but…  it’s also sometimes depressing, as when you lose people you care about.





These voices in the night are all greatly missed, and never far from my thoughts as I wonder what awaits us in the next life, and if their hopes for Heaven or a pain free next life were granted.

No one ever gets enough time in life, so I’m busy planning my next cruise, and the trip after that, and so on and so on.  There is no way I want to sit and contemplate my navel, fearing death, and yet lingering between sickness and health, with not enough health to have quality of life.

To keep up my energy when I’d otherwise just be hiding on the couch, I’ve been eating a lot of junk food over the holidays.  Today’s effort to stay warm involved  trying to melt white chocolate, dip double stuffed Oreos in the chocolate, and then dip the warm white chocolate in crumbled candy canes to finish the treat.


(my finished product looked nothing like this, but you can see what I was trying to accomplish)

Sleeping has really become a hassle for me, as my right side hurts the minute I lay down for any extended period of time.

sleep pattern thru 12jan19

With a deeper dive into individual chunks of sleep each night:

liver pain - sunday 13jan19

liver pain - sat 12jan19

liver pain friday sleep 11jan19


Getting up has become an adventure in stabbing pain and not peeing myself.  Getting older and dealing with chronic health issues is SUCH a joy.  Not.

But, I kept busy and got out of the house on Wednesday and Thursday for a total of 400 miles in round trip driving over two (2) days.

My sleep definitely improved Wednesday and Thursday nights, after all that driving, even if my liver was killing me and causing tossing and turning both evenings.  But I tell you that to tell you this – none of this matters.

If it is my liver, and it’s getting worse despite the Reservatrol, the lack of sleep and ongoing pain is making life not worth living.  Not saying that to be dramatic, but to highlight that there is nothing that they can do for me in terms of managing my pain if it is, indeed, the liver.  I’m not ready to call it a day and pull the euthanasia button, but pain does make me think it’s getting closer to the point where I will begin pursuing end of life solutions.

We lost so many people this past year, and I’m just sad to say that passing on is just a part of life that comes to us all.






Hanging On


The lawyer hates me traveling.

The lawyer wants me to stay at home and just wait to die.

His point of view, paraphrasing on behalf of my former employer’s point of view, is that if I’m well enough to leave my bed, I need to get my butt off the sofa and go to work.

He doesn’t care that I have a birth defect.  (He say’s it’s not relevant to my employer).

So, my choice to drive to Fresno on Wednesday, a 5+ hour round trip, in the Wintery rain, was not the best choice to make, but it was Necessary.  I’m a big fan of doing what I think is Necessary to make my life work, regardless of the consequences, real or imagined.

The lawyer doesn’t care that I don’t have a back issue and am not a car accident survivor.  He doesn’t care that handicapped people CAN do things even while claiming the benefits into which we’ve paid.  He very specifically doesn’t care that I have worked 42 years (he says that I’ve only worked for my employer for 4 years at the time of my becoming disabled, and my prior work history is irrelevant to their wish to getting out of the benefits I’m entitled to based on paying into a disability insurance policy through every employer during 90% of all the years that I worked).

The lawyer reminds me that one’s employer doesn’t care about me.  Rather, they care about what I can do for them.  In particular, what have I done for them lately.  Well, since I’ve been on disability since October 1, 2015, it’s clear that I haven’t done anything for them lately, and am not likely to do anything for them ever again.

In reading Marilyn Armstrong’s blog, “Losing your job without losing your mind“, I can relate.  Seriously.  Her story parallels the journey of my mother, who was divorced, owned a home, worked hard all her life, and was shafted.  Mom’s world was rocked, yet again, just as I was starting out my “real” life.  My “work” life. In a Capitalistic society, whether or not you can work and “contribute” are what truly defines one.  Truly, we are all expendable.

In the USA, you are just another cog in the machine.  “Personnel Assets” or “Human Capital” the powers-that-be currently label us.  Like any older equipment or broken machine, when you can’t perform the work for which you were hired, you are expendable.  Absolutely a waste of space.  Something to be dealt with, compassion being optional if not downright irrelevant to the process.

I have been dealing with my “expendability” for the last 3 years, and coming to terms with the crisis that was and is my finances.  My illusion of independence.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had a good life.  But…  No one can ever make enough cash to cover everything that needs to be covered when one is a walking, breathing, “pre-existing” condition for which little medical care will be provided – despite paying into the benefits and required insurances through my Fortune 500 employers – and for which you dare not ask your employers for help in fighting the insurance company denials for fear of finding yourself unemployed and without options due to exposure of your need for medical support via the benefits you’re paying into.

Having read Marilyn’s blog reminded me so much of what my Mom went through in her final years.

Like everything in life, Mom was my teacher for how to make things work, and for how to survive despite being shafted.  Mom understood being shafted, having made the wrong choice in a mate, having had many miscarriages, and having given birth to children who didn’t survive or who had issues and needed help surviving.  Mom’s label, if she had one, would be “resilience”.  Resilience, and expertise in making new choices.


Mom was effectively terminated from her life in 1980 or 81 at approximately 44 years of age, when her employer demoted her from being a loan officer at the bank to being a teller and secretary in the loan department because some younger, male, new hires had college degrees and she did not.

Rather than telling her she needed a degree (I recall she WAS going to night school to earn a degree during most of the late 70’s early 80’s, as she was very aware that she was aging and approaching a gating aspect which could halt her upward employability), she was simply demoted.

At this point, Mom had so many slams against her success (go watch the film, “Delores Claiborne”, and you’ll get an idea of how bad her relationship was with my father, without the physical abuse).  Mom’s final “first” choice was to kill him, and I’m thankful every day that she stopped herself short of succeeding.  Verbal abuse and the erosion of one’s soul is just as bad as physical abuse, and in some cases, even worse.  But, that’s a topic for another day.

At this point, already fighting depression, Mom’s next job, its loss and denial of benefits slam was an obstacle that she could not get over and conquer despite every concession she made to get a job, any job.  Every effort failed, and two (2) years passed while I was in California, oblivious to how serious it all was.

During this time, which is fuzzy in my memory because that’s how I avoid dealing with my own issues, Mom’s therapist was a great help, and got her to go find a better job, but…

Mom’s next employers were a small time law firm in our home town.  During this same time (maybe 1983 to 1987), two of her very best friends moved to other states.  My Baby Sis then found the love of her teenage life and ran away to California.  I was moving up against her time limit for being out of the house by 25 years of age, so I then moved to CA, too, shortly after Baby Sis returned home.  All of Mom’s friends and resources were leaving her behind.

My Baby Sis ended up pregnant at 17, a high school drop out, and demonstrating one of Mom’s pet fears for both of her daughters – picking the wrong man with whom to build a life.

Going from one crisis to another, and within about 10 years – maybe 1990 or 1991, her dickhead employer simply stopped paying her, effectively terminating her, which sent Mom into yet another tailspin as she applied for the benefits she’d paid into all her life, unemployment benefits, and was DENIED.  All while was she was the sole source of income for a not-quite-grown daughter and her daughter’s young baby.


How Mom’s latest drama happened:  Mom’s surviving boss was a cheap SOB, truly evil.  After the good boss moved away to California, the evil SOB would begin to be unable to manage the affairs of the office, spending beyond his means, and trashing his own life.

He’d refuse to pay her until she learned to ask for her paycheck in front of clients.  As time went on with his petty tyrannies, he’d pretend to write the check, and then substitute the check for a blank piece of paper when the client wasn’t watching, and hand it to her in an envelope, giving the impression that he was an upstanding guy.  However, the envelope was empty, and the paycheck was late or non-existent again and again.

My Mom was an honorable woman who thought there was a right and wrong way to do things, and even though she was being shafted, she’d be damned if she was going to sink to his level. It got to the point where he simply didn’t pay her for two weeks, so she served her notice (that next two (2) week period she worked when she knew full well she wasn’t going to get paid) and thus quit due to non-payment.


That quitting cost her unemployment because the Massachusetts Unemployment Board said that she needed to give the dickhead a total of thirty (30) days WRITTEN notice, and contact them, before quitting her job.

Who knows this kind of thing in advance?!!!

Gotcha’s like this are certainly not written down in any kind of unemployment documents I’ve ever seen.  Yet another evil man was dominating her existence.  Sucking the life and soul out of her ability to be the person she was determined to be.


This guy may have started out as an okay person, but by the end he was truly evil, and to this day I don’t know why she had to be dealt yet another blow in life.  Whatever lesson it was that she was supposed to learn, if one has faith that we are here for some higher purpose, is hidden in the mists of mystery and unnecessary drama from the mythical powers-that-be.    But, I digress.  (What a surprise!)


Thereafter, Mom worked for another law firm for ten (10) years.  These two guys had a heart, having lost one of her employers to cancer while my Mom worked for them.  They worked with her as her body failed due to COPD.  They allowed her to work whatever hours she wished toward the end, as she was too young to retire and too unwell to work. And she’d been denied disability AND early retirement options.  Again.

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Anyway, I tell you all that to tell you this – I am a second generation COPD survivor.

While my birth defect was a concave chest and related asthma and pneumonia breathing issues, the many cases of pneumonia and colds I suffered caused permanent scarring of my lungs and ongoing damage that deteriorated due to COPD and ended my ability to work a predictable and reliable schedule.

While my Mom was unable to get disability when COPD eventually impacted her ability to work, her example showed me that I needed to live beneath my means, save my money, and plan ahead to survive when life gave me yet another bump in the road.  Boring.  Boring and often pointless, as sh*t happens whether or not we’ve done everything right.

I can’t say I have any great answers to help anyone else survive, but with Mom’s example I was able to work much longer than expected, and to save cash while having fun.  Having also gone from disaster to disaster which drained my savings, finding a way to live despite the reality being that my benefits were not worth the paper policy was printed on, was just another ridiculous drama which I, too, had to overcome.

How – how in the world ??? – can someone be denied pre-paid benefits into which they had paid their entire working lives?

I have no answers, but with the current “sucker’s game” Master holding the highest office in the land while the politicians earn retirement for life equal to their whole income once they leave their offices, regardless of how long they  have served in that office, I don’t expect this rigged game to change any time soon.  Through first being denied unemployment, and next being denied disability, my Mom learned to roll with the punches and survive despite the odds being stacked against her.

Oh, oh, oh – and once they divorced, Daddy Dearest worked few jobs above the table – so he rarely paid into social security, taxes, etc.  It was sadly entertaining to find that Daddy Dearest is getting paid social security benefits now that he’s retirement age based on the years he was married to my Mom and Step Mom and not due to his sketchy work history or reality as a deadbeat.  Just think about that, the next time you have to fight the bureaucrats for your benefits.

Yes, people DO cheat the system.  But, it’s not the system doing the cheating as someone actually DID pay into the benefits on behalf of the cheaters, and the cheaters are just as covered as any spouse who was fortunate enough to stay home with the kids and not work a paid job during the time of their greatest opportunity to work and pay into benefits.

Anyway… I will admit that I do make poor choices involving money that would make Mom crazy.  Having her example of doing everything correctly and still being shafted, I learned from the folks who survived the Great Depression (her parents) that life would go on whether or not I was happy or sad, and that I would survive whether or not I took 5 cents to have a good time or saved every penny.  The money would disappear regardless, so I needed to find time for fun on the way through life as I would survive.

We had a running joke in the family from all the papers and notes that we found when we cleaned out my Grandparent’s home after my Grandmother (Red) died.  There were notes in one account book from the 1930’s about Grandpa’s efforts to balance the books vs. Red’s efforts to fit in the penny pinching mold he desired:

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I’m a mix of all of my forebearers and the lessons that they had to teach.  What I have learned is that no one ever does everything right.  That bureaucrats live to steal our peace of mind and benefits that we’ve paid into.  That trust in a system will be betrayed.  That trust in individuals will be betrayed.  That people are unreliable.  Weakness of will can beset us all.  That I will do some things to be practical, but that I will also do many things that deny that practicality because we only go around this world once, if we’re lucky, and we need to find a way to nourish our souls, or what’s the point?

Life will kill you if you let it, so I prefer to live in denial about whatever eventual fate awaits us and simply find a way to have a good time despite the depressing reality that I may be enduring on any given day.

So, on Wednesday, I took my hassle and aggravation into my own hands and drove all the way to Fresno to open a bank account (at the same bank the lawyer uses) to ensure that he will have the ability to directly deposit my benefits check at the end of the month.  I also stopped by the law firm to deliver a voided check to equip him with the tools he needs to pay me in a timely manner.

Time will tell if he does what he’s supposed to with my money.  But, I am not going to sit around accepting late benefit checks because he’s set up a hurdle that he thinks I cannot jump due to my disability.  It’s not just banks that take advantage of the so-called “float” between the time the check is deposited and when you can claim your money.






I was going to call this something else, but Brian Lageose’s repost from 2010 distracted me.  Please be sure to check out Bonnywood Manor when you have a moment and need a laugh.

what are they doing now cat

With the inevitable distractibility of the ADHD and hopelessly bored natives of any land, or your average cat, I am *still* working on my 2016 taxes.  Today’s topic – medical mileage reimbursement write offs.

Started looking for the mileage reimbursement rate for 2016 for my business expenses, and then ran into this gem that I’d forgotten.  Since I no longer directly care for Auntie and am no longer scrambling for any claw back that might net me a few more pennies credit on my taxes as dealing with her mental health issues was sucking the life out of me, I forgot completely about the medical mileage reimbursement.

business mileage tax write off 02 2016

I do think it goes without saying, though, that the IRS exists to suck the life out of all of us.  One must embrace their inner OCD penny pincher and paper pusher if they have any hope of clawing back a decent refund.  (And, by decent, I mean a refund that will offset the cost of any next trip that I am planning).

flamingo 76 days

Today’s budget is being updated to note any extra driving for 2019 so that I am tracking the tax write off going forward (vs. trying to claw it back years after the fact during 2016 and 2017 tax filing hassles).


It may be nickel and dimeing myself to death in the hope that I will eventually exceed 7.5% of my total income in order to claw back more discounts on what I need to pay, but I all can say is, “Hey – they started it !”

they started it

So, I’m sitting here working on my taxes, looking forward to the Golden Globe Awards tonight (one must critique who’s wearing what, and which MEN are dressed like little boys in too tight and too short suit coats, as if they are the Hulk, about to burst out of their clothing due to a recent growth spurt).  Yes, I need a life.

Real boys, who may be forgiven almost anything in a suit when trying to present the critical, “neat, clean, presentable” look that our parent’s always advised was best…

kids suits

Vs. grown men with too much money and too little personal fashion savvy for my taste as they try to relive their childhood:


Not saying I’m any kind of fashionista who has my crap together, but you can bet that I *would* be dressed appropriately for my gender and the occasion.

Meanwhile, back to doing taxes for me…

irs donation jeff leedy


I am bouncing back and forth today between doing my 2016 taxes (shush, I know I’m behind), pricing airline tickets for my cousin to fly from BOS to MSY (because I bought the tickets on Christmas day, and then cancelled them in a boneheaded move because I thought I could save $200), and awaiting my second disability paycheck (the so called LTD “matching salary” benefit) which the lawyer is sitting on for the second month in a row.

On the one hand, I have that “Money” song going through my head by Pink Floyd,

If Pink Floyd is not your rhythm of choice, how about Abba’s “Money, Money, Money” tune?

Instead, I think I’m settling on, “Bitch, Better Have My Money !”

Not a fan of the violent themes in the Rhianna video, however, that song still tops my list for relatable attitude anthems.

I regret to say that my Mom worked for some very disorganized lawyers in her time, and an organized Office Manager makes or breaks whether or not a practice is solvent.

While I am grateful to this guy for getting me my money each month, I am less than a fan of all the money going through him to me (vs. checks being cut to us both, or him trusting me to send him his retainer in a timely manner) as the money is always late.

Supposedly, he can only send me my money via direct deposit if I have a bank account in his tiny town (Fresno or Modesto or one of those).  Ha !  Clearly, his Office Manager doesn’t understand (or want to understand) about wire transfers and direct deposits.

I, on the other hand, am coming to the end of my patience.  It may be time to take a ride and visit his town to open my own bank account to force the issue over direct deposit…

Adulting. Taxes and Adulting.


The rule is, you can delay doing your taxes for up to three (3) years from their original due date, so long as they owe you a refund.


You’ll lose your refund if you don’t make the deadline, so I’m working hard (or, procrastinating and doing anything BUT working hard) trying to get my 2016 paperwork organized.

My files have been emptied.  I’m creating new tabs and sorting pendaflex hanging pockets alphabetically.  I’ve had to take a break and run to get yet more pendaflex hanging folders so that my still-needs-to-be-filed crap all over the office can actually be organized in preparation for scanning and emailing the necessary backup paperwork to the tax guy.  I’m doing ANYTHING to avoid looking at my tax documents yet again.

I’ve always over-paid my taxes to ensure that they have to write me a check vs. me writing them a check, but still I’m a nervous wreck.  So many changes happened in 2016, including buying a house, that I should be fine with all the tax write-offs.  But, still…

Having just come back from having a meatloaf sandwich, and now munching on some salted caramel pretzel fudge, I can see that I need to do a better job of buckling down.

April 15th is coming, and I need to get these done before that date.

bills chasing woman

Not just because I need my refund (the lawyer once again failed to mail my disability supplement on time, so I’m running late on the bills for the second month in a row!) in order to have some breathing room when life throws a spanner into the works, but also because I need to know the answer.  Did I screw it up, and I’ll owe them money or am I correct, and they owe me money?

Obviously, it’s better if they owe me.

But, what if I am wrong and I didn’t withhold enough?




Debbie Downer’s Entrance


I’ll apologize in advance, as this is going to be one of “those” blogs.  You know, the part where common sense has been stomped into oblivion by medical science, and I’m confused / frustrated / anxious for someone else / or, whatever…

While I’m not at death’s door myself, at this moment, I continue to make choices to live life to the fullest (including eating crazy amounts of salted caramel fudge each day – crazy for someone who has diabetes, at any rate).

I’m dealing with the emotional fallout of yet another internet friend being beyond the point where medical science can do anything to help him improve the quality of his life, and where he keeps on ending up in the hospital and asking for more surgery to remove his tumors.  The Doc’s say the surgery will kill him, so the answer is a resounding “no”.

They are also living on food stamps and other food pantry assistance as his / their disability income cannot cover their costs each month.  They’ve reached an impasse with the medical community that I’ve spoken about before, and as written about in the book, “Being Mortal”.


I know none of this is in any way my problem to resolve, but it’s playing upon my fears for knowing when to say, “enough is enough”.

Clearly, I said “enough” way back in 1975 when I refused yet more corrective surgery, and the related pain of any healing process, when it was clear that my additional suffering would not change the outcome to the problem.  I was as good as I was going to get, and needed to learn to accept my reality.

As the last 44 years have progressed, medical science has continued to move the goal posts, allowing us to reset the game if one is wealthy enough, and extending life beyond all common sense.

But, the boons in options available through medical science haven’t yet filtered into our conversations about what a good or “worthwhile” quality of life means.  It hasn’t helped us find a way to accept that death is a part of life.

This man I’ve now known and laughed with and fretted over is focused on living despite the true cost to his family.  While I am all for his continued choice to fight his hardest to live, I really struggle with the financial mess he’s leaving behind when he eventually leaves, as well as the financial burden he’s causing his also chronically ill wife, and the emotional burden he’s causing for his adult children.  Not my business, I know, but still thoughts which should be considerations for all of us as decisions do have consequences.  That’s just how life is.  You place your bets and hope for luck to be in your favor.

Another internet friend died this past Summer, and I watched the open warfare errupt in his family, as aired in public and private messages on facebook.  His current wife was refusing visitors, including his grown children from an earlier marriage, and he was in and out of the VA hospital and regular hospital on a weekly basis until he died.

In that case, he wanted to go and was tired of fighting, and she was not ready to accept that he’d been suffering for at least a year, trying to give her more time to get used to the idea of continuing her life without him.

I had a point when I began this blog, but it escapes me now.  I guess it’s that I live my life as if I’m already under hospice care, as it gives me the best option for quality of life.

I still make plans and look forward to events in the future, but I’m also ready to go when the time comes.

I’m in pain most days.  I deal with the every day small indignities that come with chronic illness.  And, I keep on finding that I’m still here.

Stuck in Heaven’s Waiting Room, I know that life is finite and that I need to make each moment count.  All while accepting that nothing I do matters either way, especially when it’s too cold to be warm enough or breathe easily.  I’ll continue to have the forbidden fudge (not a good choice with diabetes) and make time to nap in the hope I’ll actually wake “refreshed”, whatever that word means at this point for me.

I keep looking for non-narcotic solutions to manage my pain and other aggravations.  I keep up the research and try new supplements (it’s Reservatrol for the first quarter of 2019, in the hope it will improve my liver functioning and ease my pain).  I keep busy and actually try to get my taxes caught up (*that* is one task I hate like nobody’s business!), and I keep putting one foot in front of the other.

I’m sorry I’m estranged from most of my family, but I’m also thankful that I don’t have to share my space with anyone who will be devastated when I pass.

Life goes on, and I do what I can to make reasonable choices while also knowing that nothing I do makes a difference anyway.

Whatever will be will be for us all, and I’m hopeful that I will make it through the year without making a financial misstep, while also looking forward to going home and meeting my grand nephew and his yet to be born brother or sister.

No answers here, but it’s time to head back to bed for a nap because I’m freezing.  Again.