Wednesday, April 26, 2006


My husband's family has a small 2 and 1/2 season cottage on Chebeague Island in Maine. My mother-in-law stays there most of the summer. She has many social contacts there. My husband and his two sisters grew up spending summer vacations at the cottage.

The island has changed throughout the years. Maine beaches are usually smaller and rockier than the ones I grew up visiting in New Jersey. The water is colder but the environment is certainly cleaner. My husband says that some of the beaches on Chebeague have more sand than when he was a kid and some have less. Since I have been acquainted with Chebeague, some changes have also occurred. One still has to park their car in a large parking lot and then take a bus and a boat to get there. And the cars on the island are still not required to have license plates. And elementary school kids still attend school on the island while high school kids take the "schoolboat" over to the mainland. There are subtle and not so subtle changes happening to the island. Some of those changes sadden me.

The very rich people have discovered Chebeague Island. They came in and arranged to have large sprawling second homes built wherever they could buy up property. These almost-mansion sized structures take away from the charm of the island. Sure, the tax base will go up. At the same time though, the locals--who are impoverished-- see their taxes increase and it is anticipated that some of them will be forced to leave the island life handed down to them for generations.

There is one hotel on the island and a couple of golf courses and a grocery store and a gift shop and an antique store. There is a flea market once a week in the summer. There is one church, a community hall, and a library. There are two docks and a cemetary. The islanders have recently built a recreation center. A few bed and breakfast inns have sprung up. A restaurant has closed. The island has a visiting doctor and a visiting veterinarian. There are barbeques and fundraisers and bingo games and a chamber music concert, plays put on by the locals, a historical society, tennis courts, and occasional boat trips to other islands in the Casco Bay. There is an older gentleman who leaves bicycles out on his lawn for anyone to ride--for free. There is a lobster shanty that sells lobsters caught by island folk. There is Little Chebeague Island that one can walk over to via a sandbar twice a day. On Little Chebeague at waters' edge, one can see comarants and puffins. In the woods, one can view piles of old lumber and signs denoting what building those piles of old lumber were.

Chebeague Island is about one mile wide and five miles long. It is a pleasant quiet place. There are things to do. I like to go there to enjoy the quiet solitude of island life.


Monday, April 24, 2006


4/6/2006 the original can be viewed at a very thought-provoking blog! Kudos to the writer of the essay below.

Giving a Taste of True Patriotism

Ok, for all of you sheep out there who feel that true patriotism is nodding your head and agreeing with everything the government says... here is what true patriotism is.

Patriotism is supporting the best interests of your country, even if (or possibly more accurately, especially if) those interests conflict with the way the government is being run.

Take a look at the United States of America.

At the moment, our government is spending billions of dollars each year, has a deficit of over 8 trillion dollars and climbing (this is not including the over 300 billion dollars in interest per year being paid on this deficit), and is taxing many people nearly into poverty. And yet our public schools are suffering, our military is not the best it can or should be, there are many people on welfare who do not need it, and many others who could use it and have no access to it, our rights are being taken away in an effort to make our country "more secure", etcetera, etcetera , etcetera. And that is just because of how poorly our government is spending the taxes it generates each year.

Our military is suffering the effects of bad politics. Many of those in Iraq and Afghanistan do not have appropriate body armor. They are not trained to handle some of the incidents which they face on a daily basis, such as bombings, insurgents, and basically guerrilla warfare. There are those in the government who insist that we set a timetable, and publicize it, which would give our enemies access to t, thus creating an opportunity for them to bide their time until we move out, get themselves gradually back into power, and create the same problem we had before, only with an even better reason to attack us.

One right that sticks out in my head that has been continuously limited, and been coming closer to being taken away each time, is that of the right to keep and bear arms. Now this right is given in the constitution, to enable the average ordinary person to protect themselves, their town, their state, and their country. Think of it this way, if the hijackers from 9/11/2001 had known there was a possibility that even one person on one of those planes may have been carrying a gun, would they have been stupid enough to even try it? I honestly don't think so. Why not? Well, their purpose was to cause mass destruction, loss of life, and terror. If they would have been the only ones dead, and/or would have had the possibility of being taken alive, they would not have been able to accomplish those goals... right?

Another good example of this is the limits set on who can own a gun. More homes would be protected if there were not such harsh laws against gun ownership. Why? Well, the average citizen goes to a gun shop, tries to get a gun to be able to protect their family, they go through two or more weeks of waiting, then finally are able to get some piddling little creation, which may possibly break the skin... if you're close enough to the person. However, the criminal element will go to a black market dealer and get a gun instantly, which can kill an elephant at fifty yards. Now, which one would be dead first, you, or the one trying to get into your house and rape your wife, shoot your kids, and steal your valuables. Now, if the average ordinary person, could do the same as that criminal, legally, don't you think there might be a little better of a chance for your family to live through any such ordeal, muggings would decrease, break-ins would decrease, most violent, and nonviolent crimes would decrease, simply because those who would commit them would know that there was a distinct possibility that the proposed victim had a better weapon than theirs, and possibly better training, more accuracy, etc.

What of the public schools? Teachers do not know how to teach. It is almost that simple. They are taught only one method of teaching, and instead of being able to create curriculum which is geared toward their students, they create a curriculum geared toward "national averages". These national averages cannot work on any given individual child, nor on any given group of students, simply because of the fact that this "average Joe, Jr." is just as nonexistent as his parent "average Joe". No two children are exactly alike, each child is an individual, needing different methods of learning, sometimes for different subjects, as well as different lengths of time to be able to learn things. By using this "average Joe, Jr." as the basis for teaching curriculum, we leave out those children who learn faster, those who learn slower, and those who simply learn differently. Children get frustrated thinking that it is their fault that they cannot learn the material, parents get frustrated because their children are not learning the material, and teachers sit there raking in their average of 40000 dollars a year plus benefits plus retirement plus 16 weeks per year of vacation plus 2 months per year of unemployment benefits, and not giving a damn whether or not the kids are actually learning.

I realize that that is a bit harsh, but when you consider the drastic increase in the number of learning deficiencies, learning disabilities, and mental diseases diagnosed in children each year, combined with the fact that the average public school teacher makes not only more than the average non teacher, but also more than the average private school or catholic school teacher, it kind of makes you wonder. And apparently some states think that the teachers really do not know how to teach, such as New York, which has recently mandated a six year term of college for public school teachers, instead of the four they used to have to attend, this is not including the mandatory continued learning they must undergo. Why raise the minimum number of years of college, if the teachers knew how to teach in the first place? Well, it is because they didn't, and i do not believe that this will help them. If public school teachers earned the average income for the area they were teaching in, or at most slightly more than that average (say ten percent more), then there would be a sharp increase in educational standards, because only those who truly wished to teach, not just get the nice money, and the great benefits, would be doing it in the first place. The school systems are seriously lacking as well, but I think I will save that for a later date.

Welfare is another huge problem. Our national budget is taken up more with "social programs" than any other form of spending. I cannot say that they are not a great thing, for those who need them. But there are many on them who do not need to be on them, and refusing to come away from them, because they are given no reason to. There are also many who really need them, and are denied access to them. There very few people in this country who absolutely cannot do anything to earn money. Even those who are truly retarded, can and do have jobs. Even as a stay at home parent, there are jobs one can do, using the internet, making and selling crafts, at fairs, and flea markets, and through mail order, there are many opportunities, one just has to look for them.

On to our prisons. I really have no clue how much money is put into the prisons each year, but even without that figure, I can tell you it is way too much. Consider this, the average American citizen may have access to a computer and to internet, may be able to find a library with current up to date research-able information, including laws, and other topics of interest, they may have access to cable television, they may have enough food on the table to feed their family, they may be able to keep a roof over their heads, power and heat in their homes, etc, but then again they may not.

Inmates in our prisons have cable television, computers with internet, more extensive libraries than some colleges, they have three meals a day plus snacks, they do not go without a roof over their heads, electricity, or heat, at any time while incarcerated, they get free medical care, free psychiatric counselling, and basically anything most of us pay hundreds and thousands of dollars each month for.... They get all of this for free, without being required to work for any of it, in most cases.

wonder, could it be possible that better housing conditions, more "fun" activities (did i forget about weight rooms, and sports fields and equipment, and the like), and better food than they could possibly afford out of jail, might tempt some of these people to commit crimes, just to get in there so they can live damn near in the lap of luxury, for free. Oh yeah, i forgot, there are people that will actually tell you that that is exactly why they commit their crimes.

Overall, this is just the tip of the iceberg. There are many more areas which need to be reformed, and as I figure out exactly how each would probably best be done, i will let you know. Until then this is your friendly neighborhood pagan, signing off.

THOUGHTS OF sapphoq:
Great blog here tho' I wonder about a few of the issues.

Masters' level teachers already are making a bit less than what ppl with Masters' degrees can earn in other fields. I have heard the opposite arguement of the one you present here-- that if we pay teachers MORE in addition to raising the base of knowledge that teachers must have, then the education field will attract brighter people. The truth is sometimes in between these sorts of arguements and I think there may be more factors here than salary and teacher prep.

Public school teachers usually earn more money than their private school and religious school counterparts because they have state mandates that they must meet. It is a common practice-- in this neck of the woods anyways, upstate New York-- for religious schools and private schools to hire teachers that are actually less qualified than the teachers in public schools.. New York State has had a requirement that teachers earn their Master's degrees within five years of beginning to teach here since at least 1985 and probably some years before then. Has that requirement changed recently?

Some? Many? public schools certainly leave much to be desired in terms of atmosphere and preparation for the modern world. Throwing money at charter schools, religious schools [which are then allowed to discriminate in hiring on the basis of religious beliefs with MY pagan tax money], and private schools is not "the answer." I know you didn't specifically address this particular issue however I do think it is an important point to raise. Throwing money at any school system in order to "fix it" and "teaching to the test" are two practices which plainly do not work. I would propose that allowing school vouchers to be used for [major denominational only] religious schools IS a violation of the separation of church and state which our deist founders worked hard to craft into our constitution.

The president openly admitted during his campaign that he does not concern himself with the votes of american citizens who are atheist or non-theist. He went on to state that american citizens who do not have a [major denomination?] religion are not patriotic or even real citizens in his view. More info about this can be found at and at . As you have probably guessed by now, I am no lover of our current president and his bias for the churched, the straights, and the rich.

What absolutely terrifies me is the thought that the president may yet order the bombing of Iran with nuclear weapons. Now we have "the war against terror." I am beginning to believe that perhaps the Untied States may yet prove out to be one of the largest terrorists thanks to our government in Washington D.C. which is approaching fascism. We also have "the war against sex, non-heterosexual orientations, and drugs." Before these wars, there was McCarthyism in the fifties and the "war against communism."

I worked in a prison briefly and I have known several corrections officers as friends. Each one of them has told me the same thing-- the guards do not want cable television taken away from the prisoners because it helps to keep order! I have eaten the prison food. It was not good. Dental care in a prison is usually such that it is better to allow one's teeth to rot and fall out than to be subjected to the drill. Medical care is a bit better in quality however surgery is equivalent to being subjected to a hacksaw. Again, many prisoners avoid prison dentistry and surgery if at all possible to do so.

The mental health care in many prisons is also pathetic. The "solution" in some places is to house the mentally ill in the SHU; or the Special Housing Unit. Twenty-three hours a day in a cell. A psychiatrist must check on each mentally ill prisoner in solitary confinement [those who are in call it "the Hole"] once a day. That "check" is usually a bit of conversation lasting five minutes or less. The exchange occurs with the state's psychiatrist standing in the hallway and the prisoner behind a celldoor shouting through a flap.

Only recently is this picture changing. Some prisons now have transitional housing units. Mentally ill prisoners who agree to take their anti-psychotics and show other evidence of possibly benefiting from a day program type treatment may be moved to a transitional housing unit. There the prisoners work on achieving levels and the goal is increased interaction with the general population until they are able to withstand the pressures of ordinary prison life. Some of the prisoners are not able to do it and so day programs for the chronically mentally ill become part of the treatment plan when their sentences are up.

Some of the "fun activities" that abound in prisons include brutal gang rapes and violence directed towards prisoners who are perceived to be more vulnerable or weaker. The stereotype about prison showers being dangerous places due to the possibility of gang rape has a large measure of truth to it.

Prisoner abuse is not limited to prisoners beating upon each other. I have seen with my own eyes the results when male prison guards impregnate women prisoners. Not all of those women traded sex for cigarettes. It is highly illegal for any prison guard to engage in any sexual activity with prisoners-- "consentual" or for trade or outright rape.

I am no bleeding-heart liberal. Prisons are necessary and probably always will be. While I recognize that prisons do fall short of the ideal of rehabilitation of the prisoners back into society as productive and law-abiding citizens, I also know that society itself demands retribution for crime. Retribution does include removal from the society where prisoners have proven that their behavior treads on the rights of their fellows.

I myself am currently not working due to complications from a brain injury which I received at the hands of a pot-smoking driver who felt compelled to run my vehicle into a house, leaving a hole in the foundation. I have some years behind me of working with people who are considered by society to be developmentally delayed [the newer term for "retarded" but which also includes folks with autism, aspergers', cerebral palsy, and brain injuries received before the age of 18 or 21 depending upon which state one happens to abide in, and a few other disability labels]. I am not picking on your use of an "older" word. When I went to school, people who are severely retarded or severely developmentally delayed were called "imbecile."

Folks who are labeled as developmentally disabled or retarded along with some other unfortunates are pushed into "working" at sheltered workshops. The most common "work" available at sheltered workshops is piece-rate and that means that many of the "consumers" or "trainees" [they are not technically considered to be "employees"] are "working" at FAR BELOW THE MINIMUM WAGE. And it is legal. Some of the folks who are taken advantage of by sheltered workshops bring home checks amounting to one or two dollars. If one is extremely lucky, one is able to "earn" twenty-five, fifty, or [very rarely] seventy-five bucks for a week's "work." My acquaintance Dan Wilkins who is associated with the organization ADAPT has much to say about some of the issues confronting us as disabled people. His internet store is called thenthdegree and his url is He writes essays for his site. They are worth checking out. I had the pleasure of hearing him speak at a conference once on disability culture.

The "jobs" that many people with disabilities are forced to "work at" by state agencies such as VESID here in New York State [OVR or BVR in other states] are not jobs as we know it. Unfortunately, VESID is very polished at dealing with consumers who conform. VESID's forte does not lay in dealing with people who have their own ideas and who are self-directed. Those who speak up for what they want and need are labeled as non-compliant.

It takes imagination and commitment to locate meaningful employment within the community for disabled people. It takes effort to coach disabled people in their places of employment, to teach self-advocacy, to demonstrate how to use natural supports at work instead of relying upon the professionals. It takes time to educate a society that is xenophobic.
So let us both make a beginning with each other at some honest dialogue. Write to me if you like. I'm willing to bet that what unites us will be far stronger than what tears us apart.


Tuesday, April 18, 2006


I was brought up in an openly-prejuidiced atmosphere. The things I was taught to think about people who were identified as "the other"-- folks who didn't look, act, or live as we did-- were not nice things. Nor were they rational. I had a lot to work through when I got older.

As I got older, I became part of "the other." I was no longer virginal, living as a heterosexual, or practicing any mainstream religion. I became a drunk, stoned out, burned out; and then got clean. I got fat and fatter. Then came a tbi and subsequent disability. I was not to be one of the pretty happy people.

After learning to celebrate the diversity in other human beings, I had to learn how to embrace myself as I changed and was changed through the course of living. I learned that I was bigger than my problems and far more than any label. I learned the difference between finding my tribe and division.

Division keeps us separate and tolerance keeps us placated. Screw that. May we all learn how to embrace each other and ourselves in our quest to become more who we are.

Pharoah Lake

is a very special place. I consider it to be my spiritual home. Although some people claim that it was named so because the shape looks like a "pharoah's head" from the Northway, others say that 'pharoah' is a corruption of an amerinidian word meaning "Split Rock." That is what I believe.

Pharoah Lake is a three mile hike in, and then an eight mile hike around it. There are some lean-tos scattered around the lake. There used to be more of them but the cross-country ski-ers get cold and thus start fires inside the lean-tos for warmth. Several lean-tos have been lost that way!!! Pharoah Lake is also home to some Loons and a variety of fish, little green snakes, mosquitoes, black flies, punkies, deer, coy-dogs, the world's largest bull-frogs, and some bears. There are also pink ladies slippers, blueberries, and lots of other wildflowers.

The water in Pharoah Lake is spring-fed and so it is COLD!!! On a hot summer day, there is nothing better than cold water. A springpipe is located up the creek behind the rocks in the photograph. The rocks in the photograph is what we call "The Split-Rock." The Split Rock is located in the middle of Split Rock Bay. People go there to meditate. It is very pretty.

Anyone who enjoys solitute is better off visiting Pharoah Lake on weekdays rather than on a weekend. Various dogs and I have enjoyed many many backpacking and day trips to the Pharoah Lake Wilderness Area.


Sunday, April 09, 2006



I was thinking about work today and how I used to be. I realized that I am no longer willing to maintain the frantic pace that I had to maintain at my last employ.

At a time when many jobs require multi-tasking--a skill that was robbed from me by my tbi and is not coming back--I find that I no longer wish to live that way even if I could. Nor am I willing any longer to have a sky-rocketing stress level due to career.

Many employers are willing to give lip service to the idea of work-private life balance but how many of them really mean it? We are living in an age where employers are trying to squeeze more work out of less employees in order to save money.

The VESID "counselor" wants to speak to me about career goals and accomodations needed this Thursday. The CAP agency woman tells me that my career goals cannot be set until I am "fully rehabilitated." VESID is not willing to pay for my cognitive rehabilitation. [I am past the time when formal cognitive rehabilitation programs would accept someone with a tbi for treatment anyway.]

I have an idea of things that I would like to do when I am able to return to working. Yet, I am still suffering from the fatigue that comes with brain and spinal injuries and no one can really say at this point how many hours a week I will eventually be able to work. I have been told that the fatigue may not "bottom out" until two to three years post-injury.

I am volunteering on my own at a small local musuem. I started out with three hours one day a week most weeks back in February. I am now able to tolerate up to five hours a week most weeks--but not five hours a day as I so painfully found out recently.

The last neurologist told me that I am making a slow but remarkable recovery from my very serious brain injury. He also told me that because of the clonus and tremor I have from the brain injury itself, he is surprized that I can walk and balance so well. My balance has improved to "excellent" because I have been doing exercises to help me not be afraid of my object vertigo [meaning I am not dizzy, but the room spins to the left] and those same exercises must have helped the balance. Usually people with clonus have to get either an ankle brace or an ankle-knee brace. Instead, I am improving to the point where I rarely even need a cane anymore.
So I have had to undertake much cognitive rehabilitation on my own and now it appears I will continue to have to do so. [That in itself is a story for another post]. I know that I am not "rehabilitated" yet. But I just keep working it. I do brain exercises that I have found on the internet. I also do alot of physical exercise and I believe that the physical movement has helped me with the cognitive deficits from my brain injury. I keep in touch with good friends and I have a specific tbi support network. Friendship is very valuable. Very few people recover in isolation from anything. I am very fortunate that I have been able to find my way through this maze and I know that I will keep going and keep improving.

The CAP agency woman is right, I've come to realize today. Realistic career goals cannot be set until I know how many hours I will be able to work a week. Certainly if it turns out that I can ultimately tolerate only ten or fifteen hours a week, it would not be cost-effective to get a Masters. And that determination would narrow the scope of employment possibilities somewhat.

Well, uncertaincy of any kind is sometimes hard to live with. What is harder for me today though is dealing with an agency with "vocational" in its' name which claims that they don't provide nor pay for vocational counseling wanting to hurry me into setting career goals before the proper time.

The other problem is this whole idea of "rehabilitation." Re-habilitation supposes that one has been HABILITATED in the first place. And I've long maintained that the only thing domestic about me is that I live in a house. Hmmmmm.

Author's note: I did quit VESID because we never were able to communicate effectively. An agency whose web-published directives to their employees include the idea that the people they are attempting to help do not have true ownership of the process is sorely lacking in the basics of how vital self-determination is to successful outcomes.




Today I got a letter from the VESID counselor insisting that he would like to speak to me about my work goals and accomodations needed. He offered an appointment in mid-August.

I was "accepted" by VESID in December. At the last "meeting" the VESID people were insisting that I apply for Medicaid in order to get cognitive rehabilitation for my traumatic brain injury. This "cognitive retraining" would magically make my fatigue go away and then I would be all of a sudden able to work twenty hours a week.

"Unfortunately", because of my husband's salary, we would have to "buy-in" to Medicaid for me at three times what we are paying for him to carry me on his health insurance now. Not to mention that I am unwilling to change some of my doctors or accept a lesser standard of medical care.

The last letter from the VESID counselor still insisted that I apply for Medicaid. What has changed?

It is obvious to me that I will have to continue to be in charge of my own rehab. I am currently volunteering at a local musuem--since February--and I'm up to being able to tolerate five hours a week (though not five hours in one day as I found out recently). The five hours a week over a two day period is up from three hours a week that I had started with initially. For my extra two hours, the VESID counselor wants me to bring "medical documentation."

I have asked for assistance from the CAP agency--the CAP agency oversees how VESID treats its customers. I will have to contact the CAP agency woman tomorrow.


P.S. This post was written sometime before I quit VESID because we were not getting anywhere. Ten months went by-- ten months of them insisting that I get Medicaid in order to get cognitive rehabilitation services. Ten months of aggravation on my part. People in my tbi e-group kept wondering why I was holding on to something that wasn't working. Finally, I asked for my "case" to be placed on hold or terminated.

What it came down to in the end is, "Either you're going to help me or get the fuck outta my way."


was the place in New Orleans between the river dock and the french quarter. It was famous for its' beignets. I went there for cafe au lait and beignets as often as I could. It was part of the New Orleans I knew and loved.


We all have dragons. It may be the next-door neighbor who planted trees right alongside the property line. It may be the boss who micromanages us to death. It may be all the people we used to know who had the nerve to die or the ex- who has the nerve to keep on living. It may be us.

Sometimes we are afraid because of legends which have gotten distorted when passed down through the generations. Dragons when christianized become serpents with legs and wings--demons--otherworldly forces up to no good. Pre-christianity, dragons were fierce and noble beings that represented challenges. With the Dungeons and Dragons roleplaying game craze [yes I was part of it and loved it!], dragons were judged as 'good' or 'evil' based on their color. Today, some of us have befriended the dragons!

We can befriend our dragons. Whether our dragons are fierce protectors or the demons that haunt us, we can embrace our dragons. The next-door neighbor, the boss, the ex--they're only people just like us. We can lose the feeling of having fire breathed down our necks.

The internal dragons can be tamed and then embraced. They are a part of us. They speak to us from the pages of ancient texts, challenging us to see ourselves for who we are. It is said that we have power over a dragon once we learn his or her name. We can call ourselves by our true names. We can put on the mantle of our own unique power. We can reject the patriarchial notion that confuses true power with control We no longer have to dwell in our panicked unrealistic fears. We can become our own protector dragon.


Tuesday, April 04, 2006


A traumatic brain injury is like a volcano. It shakes up a life permanently. People say that the brain "rewires" but it doesn't return to the way things were before the volcano hit. The brain can "rewire" but not in exactly the same way. Thus new roads may be constructed and detours are assigned. When a brain grows new roads (neurons), some of them stray off (don't connect to other neurons) and those strays cause a permanent tremor. When detours are assigned (wires connect to different wires), the new trails are slower, creating cognitive deficits.

Every brain injury is different.

Welcome to the place on the web where I will share some of my memories.



The food. The people. Musicians on Franco Square.

Seeing Bob Marley and the Whalers at the Warehouse.

The parks. People partying in their garages.

The New Orleans zoo. The bridge going over the Ponchatrain.

The truck stop in Slidell. The Mardi Gras.

The Riverfront. Shotgun houses. Paddleboats

at night from the woods in St. Francis.

The cemetary. Voudun. Cajuns. Gumbo.

Jumbalaya. Humidity. Mounties.

The Blues Festival. B.B. King. Wasting away

in Margaritaville. A dog named Rebel.

A failed job teaching. The sky. Metaire.

Poor folks. Balconies. Trinkets. Thugs.

Tangled up in Blue. The water, yes.

It was a different time then.

I was young, and never knew it would be gone




A long long time ago in a place that was not a place, there were several of us who attended a gay-lesbian-bisexual-transgendered recovery meeting. That is to say, there usually weren't any straights [heterosexuals] at that meeting.

At that meeting, someone who came in once who said he had been imprisoned twice for sexually offending. And he said that now that he is out, he would like to have some woman --any woman.


And I began to wonder if I was the only one in that room who heard what the strange man had said.

Unfortunately, a lesbian woman friend of mine was "befriended" by this man over the course of less than a week before he RAPED her.

Being as she was a lesbian, the judge gave him--the two-time sexual offender--eight months in the county lock-up. Out after five on "good behavior."

He put the word out that he was going to kill her. She left town and never came back.

We assume that people who are in the same space that we are-- in a mall or on an airplane or jogging in a park or at a recovery meeting or in church or at the local gay juice bar or in cyberspace--are all safe, all okay, all there for the same reasons that we are.

Them people on the airplanes on 9/11 are no longer around to tell us this ain't so. The Central Park Jogger has a TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY today and it took her months before she was out of the hospital and months before she could jog again. A woman I met on-line in recovery states that she was STALKED by someone in recovery she had met on-line. He had traveled unbidden to her town and showed up on her doorstep and at her recovery meetings. It was difficult for her to extricate herself out of that situation.

There have certainly been people at my local recovery meetings that I would not walk out to the parking lot with alone.

So please blogging buddies, don't assume that any of us is automatically "OKAY" just because we are blogging buddies. And don't assume that EVERYONE in the same place doing the same thing you are is "OKAY."


So be safe.



New Orleans is under water
and i grieve
for the lost.

I grieve for my sisters and brothers
whose candles were snuffed
as the rains came
and came again.

I grieve for the children,
the parents,
the grands,
the familiars and the pets,
who had to leave their lives behind
or who themselves were left.

This then is the true meaning of grief--
an ache that does not go away.
It's been years
since I've been there,
but my heart never left.