Hesitating over the publish button

Chronic illness doesn’t necessarily make you “look sick.” Remember that when you see someone who has a handicapped placard and you are sure they are faking it.

I Am Writing

Warning: this is a super long post. I’m sharing something I wrote for my writing class about a time when I was judged. I have this weird disease and I’m sick a lot. But if you were to look at me you’d think I was perfectly healthy. I reread the piece and made some edits but I’m not 100% happy with it. I almost think I should re-do it from scratch because I feel I’m leaving something out but then again I don’t think I will ever get it to what I want. These are just a few snippets of what it’s like.

“You look completely normal but you’re a freak.” I eyed the seventyish, red-faced doctor who just spoke those words to me. Who is this guy with the tufts of white hair escaping from his balding head, a white lab coat near to bursting against his portly girth…

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It started out with hearing Duke yelp followed by him running into the house with a trail of blood behind him.

Then there was Garry holding him down while I try to find the bandages, cleanser, and tape. Me, cleaning the wound. Bandages. I didn’t shave the fur off because I didn’t have equipment to do it and he was bleeding. I slathered the wound with antibiotic ointment. I believe in antibiotic ointment. It has been a life saver for various injuries in humans and dogs.

It looks like Duke was shot with a pellet gun, or maybe a strong be-bee gun. Garry thinks maybe there’s something in the yard on which he stabbed himself. I know someone shot Bonnie when she was younger. She still has the pellet under her skin, so I have reason to be suspicious that the same people did it again.

The hole in Duke’s leg looks clean. Is is a very neat, round hole.

I’d blame my neighbors, but I can’t prove it. At least in this house, suspicion isn’t proof.

I got so upset by Duke’s wound — he’s hopping around on three legs — I went into a cleaning fit. Not the normal type where you clean things you usually clean. This is the one where I clean all the stuff I usually ignore.  The corners where the dust hides. Pictures and frames. The book-case. Dolls in the hallway. All the parts of the vacuum cleaner that aren’t part of the standard dust bin.

Then, I cleaned the stairs because we are getting the stair climber chair and I’d like to not have a lot of dirt trapped under the rail. And Garry swept the remaining leaves off the deck, leaving it “winter ready.”

The deck, officially ready for winter

Meanwhile, the second (double) layer in my bathroom window fell out. No one can figure out how to put it back and it’s possible there is no way to do it. Which leaves me with a single glass window in the half bath, rather than the double-hung windows we have in the rest of the house. Recognizing it was going to suck all the warm air out, and in my continuing effort to lower the oncoming chill level, I bought insulated curtains for the room.

You would be amazed at how hard it is to find insulated curtains for a bathroom. I finally found a set designed for a child’s bedroom. They are too long … nothing is short enough for 36-inch windows. They arrived today … which is when I realized I can’t reach the curtain rod without a ladder. I will have to wait for the Tall Son to give me his hands. I recognized I have passed my time for climbing ladders.

I am tired. On the positive side, there are places in my house that are cleaner than they’ve been in years and which haven’t been clean since my last mental crash. Cleaning isn’t everyone’s response to problems, but it makes me feel better. At least I’m doing something that needs to be done. Cleaning is the last truly mindless activity in my world.

I just took the bandages off and it looks good. No more bleeding and he’s walking better. I’m pretty sure that all that tape sticking to his fur was bothering him as much as anything else. I left the bandage off and put on a lot more antibiotic cream. I’ll take a new look at it in the morning.

What a day.


This post was originally written months ago.
It should have been topical and no longer relevant. 
Instead, it’s even more relevant.

In almost all TV cop shows and movies, the bad guy, usually a mad psychotic, a mad genius or a mad, psychotic genius, is always one step ahead of the good guys.



For at least the first half of the show, the good guys keep getting caught in the bad guy’s traps.



Or (and?) the bad guy keeps escaping at the last minute.



Inevitably, at some point (usually about half way through the show) the chief good guy says: “We’re constantly playing catch up. We gotta get ahead of this guy.”

This is when someone on the team, usually the brilliant but nerdy computer expert, will find a tidbit of information which leads the good guys to finally capture or kill the bad guy. The end. Stay tuned after the break for scenes from next week’s episode.

After a year of 45’s rule … it seems impossible, but has it really been just a year? It feels like a lifetime!



We’ve learned a few things.

  1. As bad as we all thought 45 would be, it’s a hundred times worse.
  2. 45 is not going to “pivot” or become “Presidential.” He is actually doing every crazy thing he said he was going to do during the campaign. No matter how stupid, counter-productive, or dangerous.

We learned who the President really was. Steve Bannon. Or was. Now … I have no idea.


Bannon was the one writing all these insane executive orders. For months, the guy running the country (until he either quit or was fired or some bizarre combination of both) was an avowed White Supremacist who stated he wanted to blow up the government. He wants a world-wide “Crusade” against Muslims and he considers himself “The Thomas Cromwell to the court of the Tudors.”



Yeah, he really said that. I’m surprised he knew who Thomas Cromwell was. I wonder if he also knew what happened to Mr. Cromwell.


The U.S. government has been turned into a very, very bad reality show.

The American press has been declared “The Opposition Party” and the enemy of the state. Fake news. Or as I believe they are going to be, “The Good Guys”.

In this new, very bad, Reality Show, we’re early in the first half of the show. The media are constantly playing catch up. They have to react to every insane tweet. Every blatant lie. Every horrific executive order. Before they can fully expose how crazy the last tweet or lie is, another one comes out.

This is not the way to handle these chuckle heads. The press has to get ahead of these guys. And we don’t need a brilliant but nerdy computer genius to do it. The press hasn’t caught on yet, but they are the people driving this administration.  It’s been reported extensively that 45 has the attention span of a puppy.



He obsessively watches cable news.  He then goes off on a twitter rant over whatever it is that he sees.

This is how you get ahead of him. Don’t react to the latest tweet with hours of dissection.  Report it and keep going back to a single narrative, a single point. And that point is: “Is The President of the United States Mentally Ill?”

It’s a question being raised more and more all over the world.

“There’s something wrong with this guy.”

“This is not normal.”

“This guy is nuts.”



This is a valid question, the kind of thing cable news is really good at. Cable news spends much more time putting pundits and “experts” on the air to blather over the latest tweet or the last lie than actually doing investigative reporting. Let’s start getting experts and pundits talking about this for real.

The current resident of the Oval Office is a textbook case of Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Antisocial Personality Disorder (yes, you can have multiple personality disorders at the same time).


This is something both my wife and I are intimately familiar with. Both of our exes suffered from the former. Here is a test sample question from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The DSM-V.


Any of that sound familiar?

Now, when the press starts asking these questions, the blowback from the administration will be intense. Which is great. Why are they so defensive? Does the President have something to hide? I personally don’t know, but I hear lots of people saying  that the President is loony as a tick. (See, we can do that trick too). But in this case


The President has to have an annual physical exam — which he never did, by the way — so. why not a psychological exam?  This needs to become the narrative of the day. Every day. From now on. No matter what “President Bannon” orders. Whatever Cheesy McCheese Head tweets, we have to keep coming back to this topic.


It’ll work.

We gotta get ahead of this guy.


Sometimes we do things in life that seem like the right thing at the time but in retrospect, were really bad ideas.

One big regret I have is suing my ex-husband, Larry, on a contract we entered into as a side agreement to our divorce settlement. It’s way too convoluted and complicated to go into in detail. Suffice it to say that Larry wanted to become a co-owner with me, for a fixed amount of time, of an excellent investment I had at the time. In exchange, he paid me a fixed amount of money for three years. Our divorce did not provide for alimony, so we called this annual stipend ‘alimony’ for tax purposes.

Instead of going up, as we had anticipated, the investment went way down as the tech bubble burst in the market downturn of 2000. It went down to almost nothing. Larry claimed that he had agreed to share in the gains on the investment but not the losses. I wanted him to share the losses with me, as I believed we had agreed in our contract. That meant that he owed me money, for his share of the losses.

Me at around the time of the first lawsuit

I had spent 25 years being dominated and controlled by Larry. He almost always got what he wanted, often at my expense. I was finally out from under and I didn’t want to be screwed over by him again. Or taken advantage of again. I was flexing my new-found strength and ego. I also needed the money since I had just lost my major asset, which I had relied on to support myself and my kids. I still should have just let it go.

To me, this was just a business conflict. Larry took it personally. Very personally. We had been on very good terms after the divorce. But now he was livid with me. He refused to come to our daughter, Sarah’s, high school graduation. He was afraid I would have a process-server serve him at the ceremony. I promised I wouldn’t and agreed to put it in writing. I would never have done that. He was ranting and raving to Sarah about me but he finally agreed to come to the graduation. However, he refused to promise to behave civilly so Sarah could have ‘her’ day. Sarah ended up telling Larry not to come because she didn’t trust him not to cause a scene and ruin the day for her. She was right not to trust him.

Larry died a few years later. The first thing Sarah said to me was “Now I can never make it up to him by having him at my college graduation!” This has haunted Sarah through the years.

Larry with his daughter near the end of his life

We tried to settle the lawsuit but Larry refused to increase his initial, low ball offer. I should have settled. Had I known these were Larry’s last years and understood degree of damage the lawsuit did during his last years, I would have dropped the suit in a second. In truth, while I had a good case on liability, the damages would have been hard to prove. But I was trying to prove something to myself and to Larry. The whole family paid a high price.

We actually went to trial on this. My side came across very well and Larry’s didn’t. But the amazing thing about the two-day trial, was that Larry and I hung out and had a great time together. We reminisced, we joked, we plotted how our son should arrange the furniture in his new house. (At 26, David was finally moving out of my house. His girlfriend, and later his wife, had been living with us for a year and a half too. So this was a big deal).

My divorce lawyer testified at the trial and said he thought Larry and I were still tied at the hip. He also said he thought Larry still had influence over me. Very embarrassing. I came out of the trial realizing we had to settle the case and get back to being a family. I sent Larry a very conciliatory email. I’m glad I did.

About two weeks after the trial, Larry’s mother died. I thought Larry looked sick at the funeral but didn’t think anyone would listen to me if I said anything. Larry died in his sleep three weeks later of a massive coronary. The kids were devastated. I was devastated. He was 58 years old and full of energy and life. He left a three and a half-year old daughter with his second wife, Karen.

Karen was a sharp lawyer and found a clause in our contract that could be interpreted as voiding the contract if either of us died before the contract terminated. The lawsuit was eventually thrown out, on appeal, because of this clause.

Now we come to the plot twist. When Larry died, he left Karen three insurance policies. Two for $1,000,000 each and one for $5000. He also left me an insurance policy – a large one! He had maintained this policy for four and a half years after our divorce was final. Karen was furious. She didn’t tell me about the policy for a year and a half, which violated her duties as Larry’s executor. Then she sued to have the policy transferred to her on the ground that Larry ‘meant to’ transfer the policy to her when he was alive. There was absolutely no evidence of this. In fact, there was evidence to the contrary. Also, the law says that until you actually go through the procedure to transfer a policy, intent is irrelevant.

After two years and lots of legal fees, I won the lawsuit. I believe Larry gave that money to me as compensation for getting screwed on the contract and the divorce. There was always something between us, no matter how much he protested that he hated me (true even when we were married). Our ‘connection’ was alive and well at our trial, a month before his death.

These lawsuits consumed years of my life. They also left a permanent mark. Karen was so bitter towards me and so angry at my kids for ‘supporting’ me, that she refused to let my kids see their sister from the time she was four. She is now fifteen and there has been no contact for eleven years. Everyone is heartbroken. Including me. My kids wanted to be there for their sister. They would have been wonderful siblings. Everyone lost in this scenario.

So, in retrospect, maybe if I had never filed my lawsuit, or had settled it sooner, the family rift would not have been so deep and irreparable. I feel terrible about this situation. And there’s nothing I can do now to fix it.


Sue Vincent from Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo, a wonderful site and definitely a thinking person’s website. Anyway, she hailed me to come join this challenge. Again. And I said yes. Why not?

I did this first time around on behest of Judy Dykstra-Brown. Sometimes, getting roped into something is just what we need. My black & white photography never got the energy and effort I’ve used for color photography. This project improved my work.

“Seven days. Seven black and white photos of your life.
No people. No explanation. Challenge someone new each day.”

Having directly or indirectly finagled more than a few people to join this challenge a few weeks ago, I’d feel a bit bashful asking them again, but I invite you to consider giving this challenge a go, even if you’ve done it already. A push to do better work is always good for your art. Moreover, finding a good black & white picture that represents “you” in some interesting visual way poses an interesting mental challenge — an artistic double-whammy, so to speak. At least one of the pictures I used in the first round of challenges turned out to be one of my most popular-ever posts.

Who’d have thunk it.

This is the last post in this sequence. Maybe I’ll start showing more black & white photography. I think it’s time.