Wednesday, May 22, 2013

#ROW80 - WEDNESDAY CHECK IN – POST 9 – EXPLANATION REQUIRED (AND LONG, LONG OVERDUE)


First, a short explanation, before the longer one, and a warning. This is being directed at my 3rd ex-husband, Bill Nunnally, and it is vengeful. The reason it is so, is that I found out recently that he is currently the Head Poobah at Gulf Coast Jewish Family Services, out of Lakeland or Sarasota, but is now the Chief Quality/Performance Officer for an outfit called Heartland for Children, headed by Terri Saunders. A little background here; my mother worked for them and had her B.S. In psychology. Part of me can't help but think that one of the reasons he is there, is because she worked there. I take it as a slap in the face, although I walked out the door in January, 2005, never to return. I had recently been released from the hospital with congestive heart failure and the atmosphere was so corrosive in the house, I was afraid of having a heart attack and dying. I truly believe to this day, that Bill wanted that to happen, and was doing his level best to make it so.

After Bill (henceforth “Crapweasel”) and I were married, he very arbitrarily decided to give up a 70k job a year at IBM and get his B.S. In psychology. No discussion with how it would impinge our standard of living; he just did it for himself, as he did most things. I would have preferred he not do that, but that was his unilateral decision, as were many major decisions in that marriage. After graduation, he worked at a number of menial jobs for shitty pay, like he was going to save the world, and that would make up the difference. My assumption is that he is about as good as saving the world as he is at marriage. I was number 4. Shame on me. Over my ever-screaming instincts, I felt I may be able to reason with him. I wasn't and over time, I was scared of him. But I was afraid of my mom too and all of that old baggage came home to roost in spades.

He ended up at HKI, which is one of the more corrupt social welfare organizations. This is a for-profit that handles children's services for Hillsborough County. When I was homeless, I saw first hand how bad the place was from what had once been the purview of the state. By that time, Bill “Crapweasel” Nunnally and I had long been divorced. I saw children see-sawing back and forth between horrible foster parents and even worse birth parents, while incompetent social workers, who were having affairs with the parents and mis-managing the cases dragged out these cases. The kids were a mess, pulling out their hair compulsively, biting their fingernails, being dragged around and used as bargaining chips.

Our marital problems started before I started showing signs of Parkinson's Disease, but at the time, I had no earthly idea what was going on. First, I lost my vision and lost it rapidly. What I didn't know then, but would shortly find out is that I had congestive heart failure, probably because of my Young Onset Parkinson's Disease. He started screaming and yelling at me; mostly about how I was lazy and about my “many illnesses.” The one exchange that stands out? Bill “Crapweasel” yells, “We need money, and all you do is sit there and look at that goddamned book!” I was trying to look at the larger pictures in a Time Magazine, since it was really all I could see. On the one hand I was so frightened and alienated and also bored, I needed to take my mind off of this whole mess. So, he's yelling at a blind woman. I couldn't drive and had been fired from Chase Manhattan. I sued them and won with the ADA act, but that came later, after I fled from my home. And who in the hell is going to hire a newly-blind woman, who can't drive? What would that job description look like? Christ!


The cane is for beating the shit out of people who step on me. Picture taken when it was 55 degrees Fahrenheit and I thought I'd died and gone to Michigan.

Every day was a complete and utter hell. His old room mate from before we were married had moved back in with us, as he had lost his job; Bill felt sorry for him and he was treated better than I was. I ended up in the hospital with congestive heart failure. 2 weeks later, I drove home, vision only in one eye, hopelessly scared of what I would find. I found my mom's cat so sick, he wouldn't or couldn't eat. I had to take him to the Vet. The Vet was so kind, but he told me, “look, I can run tests on him, but it will be over 500.00.” I didn't have that kind of money. I had about 100.00 and Bill “Crapweasel” was giving me no money. I had no job, no prospects of one and the idiots at Unemployment cut me off when I was hospitalized because I wasn't out looking for work. Seriously, who is going to hire someone with one eye and a bad heart? I was coming up on my 50th birthday. Karma is a bitch they say. His granddaughter was born on my 50th birthday, so in that way, he will always be reminded of that time. I hope he remembers it with shame, but how can you shame a person who has no honor, compassion or empathy?

You would think that the person who, as a child had a capricious step-mother, named Virginia, who alternately tried to mother and then pushed away young Bill, after he was abandoned by his birth mother, or was she run off by his father, also named Bill, the son feeling the fists of his father, slept in the auxiliary room beside the water heater, would have more empathy. Many were the nights I slept in my truck in the Publix parking lot, because I could not bear the thought of sleeping in that house. The tension was so great and my heart, not yet healed, would go into arrhythmia. 



Gulf Coast Jewish Family Service's Mission Statement. Items circled in red were absent in the male partner of Bill Nunnally's 4th marriage.


An online 53-minute co-parenting workshop, part of Florida ACCESS and the "system." I love this, because this is either the most clueless, or the most ironic slide I've ever seen. Bill was also only the 2nd person EVER to bully me. The first was my mother, but she got over it. He never did.

I told the Vet all of this about the money and my situation, and he said, “spend all the time you want with him. Normally euthanasia is 100.00. I'll do it for nothing.” I said my goodbyes for an endless amount of time and then held him, as the Vet put him down. I cried all the way home. The room mate buried him, (an aside, I got a package from the room mate a while back, with his phone number, saying “Call me some time. “We'll get together.” Yeah. As if.) but then when Crapweasel got home from work that night, he told Crap what had happened. Crap wheeled around and said “You murdered Dwayne!?” very melodramatically, as if I had just killed a room of small children. Oh, goody. More mental cruelty. I can see it for the melodrama and shameless manipulation that it was now, but then? It just was too, too sad.

I just looked at him and went back into my computer office where I was sleeping. It really takes a certain kind of special hypocrisy to voice this. This is the man, who, when his own Great Dane was dying under the front porch, tried to make me help him drag him out to the back 40, so he didn't have to hear his screams.

The truth is, Bill Nunnally is a weak man. He cannot face weakness in others or flaws because he himself is so utterly weak in character and flawed. He likes to think he is a survivor, yet he has to use others to do so. When he returned to school, I started paying half the bills again, when prior to his unilateral decision to return to school, he was earning far more than I was at the time, so he picked up the larger share. Without me, he would not have been able to go back and finish his B.S. He exhibits delusion, self-aggrandizement and self-righteousness here, along with the most stunning hypocrisy and amoral behavior I've witnessed in many a year.


And, of course, what pseudo-lecture would be complete without a pseudo-psychiatrist? Dr. Phil has platitudes to spare. Having lived through the cauldron of psychosis and Baker Act, coming out the other side, relatively whole and knowing myself a whole lot better and owning up to my own faults, addictions and failures, but recognizing my strengths, I see all of this for the money-making shams that they are.

While I was in the hospital, Bill “Crapweasel” Nunnally got a girlfriend, because his wife was “broken.” He kept bitching about my “incipient weirdness.” Well, it takes guts to live with someone who has Young Onset Parkinson's Disease. JC's seen my dementia, tremors, been with me many times to the hospital and been with me through my Baker Act. Yup, been there through my committal. He's there with my legal blindness. He's also there with my triumphs, writing awards and laughter and good times. Unconditional love is just that. I wonder what Bill “Crapweasel” Nunnally's bosses at Gulf Coast Jewish Family Services would make of his being unsupportive and unfaithful to an ailing wife. I'd love to be a fly on that wall.

YOPD is not a choice and after thinking back, I am convinced my mother had it. There are no more completely "good" days. But through force of will, and the realization that life is truly to be savored and experienced, by damn I'm experiencing and loving it. I am still the same fuck-up I was, only more so, but I'm smarter and tougher and I got that from my PD. I also developed an insight and a very complex set of tools to help me navigate this new life. Couldn't ask for a better trade off. Hell, I should have left you years earlier.

After being hospitalized for 2 months and homeless for 11 months, I received full disability; no 2 year waiting period. 5 months; record time. Tremors, bipolar disorder I, pain and all the other ills that come with it are just part of it. What I experienced 12 years ago is nothing compared to what I deal with now, but I am tough and clear-minded. I also don't let go of things, until I am goddamned good and ready and this baggage is going out the door, here and now. If I hadn't found out that Bill Nunnally was now working at a place that my mother loved, I wouldn't have written this post. But, I feel her memory somewhat defiled. I deal with negativity in my own way. This is my burden to lay down.

Bill? When you thought I was depressed after the death of my mother? That wasn't it. I just realized that the one person who loved me for me was gone, because I knew you didn't. That is also one big, fat giant turn-off and I really didn't want to have sex with someone who didn't love me anymore, if you ever did. Creepy-crawly time, but then part of me always knew you didn't. You saw me as a commodity and an object. You will never give yourself over to any woman, because women are beneath you. Actually, you have it backwards. You are beneath me. Asking for money all the time. What kind of man are you? You can't even be truthful to yourself. I know I'm an alcoholic; I told you that. I stopped that shit.

So, here's the kicker, Bill gets a girlfriend while I'm in the hospital, fighting for my life. I stole his phone bill. Yup; I sure did and called the tapioca-headed bitch and basically told her that if she married Bill “Crapweasel” Nunnally, he would do to her what he was doing to me. He came home that night, full of self-righteous indignation and high dudgeon. “Where's my phone bill.” I had my blind eye towards him; I liked that part about being blind. “I don't have it.” He had the temerity to say, “You're a liar.” I almost, almost, almost said “At least, I'm not a philanderer.” Damn, I so wish I had. Unlike you, I was faithful throughout the marriage.

I realize there are faults on both sides, but when one goes out to deliberately kill a marriage, there is truly something wrong. The mental cruelty practiced was at a level I had not witnessed since my parents' marriage. You told me at one point, that you were hoping I would “just pack my shit and leave.” Eventually, I did before you could finish me off by letting my own ill-health engulf me. I don't normally talk of this and I will not again, but I think for once, someone needs to stand up and say, “you know what? Bill Nunnally, you're a flaming asshole and all of your talk of helping children and saving and doing this and that is pure bullshit. You can't even take care of a family properly. Who in the hell are you to try and teach others?” Family to you are those vapid daughters your crazy ex raised. Their idea of a rich life for them is Cheer and trips to Disney World. Oh, and yes, those who can't do, teach. Unfortunately, that maxim went out ages ago. The most skillful of teachers are those of us that can do and do it quite well.

taken 02/2013

Yeah, Bill you asshole, I have 2 beautiful clear eyes; I finally got that 2nd surgery, it's just that my brain doesn't see one image. It's called Parkinson's Disease. I'll probably outlive you; I'm happy. Because you're not my problem anymore. This post is strictly because of your WTF move to Gulf Coast Jewish Family Services, and because it's your Birthday! A slur to my mother's memory if there ever was one, you giant bag of dicks.

What I got from the divorce settlement about covered what I put monetarily into the marriage, but the scars run deep. It's okay; scar tissue is tough. You did however, keep my mother's iron skillet, which had been her mother's 200.00 into a good violin, 200.00 into a good Australian Shepherd and a mix-master his daughters got me for mother's day. And you never, ever attempted to pay me back for the 5k for my IRA, which you promised you would, but then, what did I expect? A man's word is his honor and you have none. Today, May 22, 2013 is your Birthday. I hope you enjoy this present from me!

P.S. Before you start hollering slander or libel or any of that nonsense, think of this; I'm legally blind, have young onset Parkinson's Disease, am Bipolar and on full disability. I'm pretty sure a lawyer would take that up in a heartbeat and it will not hold up in a court of law, and do you want that kind of press? I gave in on the divorce. If you want to have a fight over who said what? Bring it on. I will not back down, because it is the truth and you know it.

P.P.S. I debated with myself for quite a while before deciding to do this. This is from my gut. I have found as I've aged that my gut instinct is reliable and not to be ignored. I could have set up false accounts and yada yada yada. I certainly have the computer know-how and the black art to leave no traces, but I had rather bring this into the open. Lest Bill think I am kidding about slander and libel, let me just say that there are things I know that I am sure he would rather not have brought out into a courtroom. Behavior witnessed at the house on Annie Street, that I did not participate in. Let me leave it at that and you leave it and me alone. I'm done.

===================================================================

Update: This is dated 06/21/2013 - Per Gulf Coast Jewish Family Services, "Mr. Nunnally no longer works for them and left the Agency last year to pursue another venture." So, I did fail to notice that the date of the lecture was from 2012, which indeed it was. But, this also brings up another point. His entire life has been spent in "re-inventing" himself. I don't know about most people, but I had a goal and mind  and achieved that. When I was confronted with husband #2, who didn't want another violist, I was forced to do something else, but I continued to play the viola. It was mere happenstance that I also loved working with computers. I don't feel a need to "invent" myself as a snake sheds it's skin. I may have lost my way, but I don't bully other people or resort to passive-aggressive behavior to get my way. So, wherever Crapweasel is and what he is doing, he clearly is not working at GCJFC anymore. There was a parting of the ways and is now no longer an issue. I don't wish him well. I suspect his karma is catching up to him and his restless ghosts are even more so. Good riddance, and I do hope  your continued existence here on this mortal coil is hell, indeed. You've earned it.



July 11, 2013 - Postscript - After several attempts to send messages to Bill's daughters, Katie and Kyle and his son-in-law, John Holley, who posed what was probably the stupidest and most obvious request ("Call him, you have his number. Well, no I don't; we've been divorced 8 years) with no response, I am ceasing my rather quixotic journey here. Rather than force someone who behaves in such a craven and cowardly manner and with no decency or honesty, whatsoever, I will finally let it rest. My mother would certainly understand and tell me to move on. I had gotten him out of my head years ago. This time, he's gone for good.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

#ROW80 POST 8 SUNDAY CHECK IN – TUNE IT, OR DIE


This title comes from a coffee mug my mother sent me, years and years ago. The mug was a campaigner and was my companion on many a tour. Some musicians found it funny, some laughed uneasily; I have a notoriously "true" ear. In fact, I have perfect pitch, or whatever they call it these days and will cheerfully point out egregious tin-ear like behavior at the drop of a hat. It's not necessarily a good thing, because, it's made me lazy. Actually I've made me lazy. A story for another time.


 I get the whole enharmonic thing. Still when you see double F♭♭, or worse, E double-sharp, which looks like a skull and crossbones, I prefer not to go there. Alas, I have no choice. Someone has to do it and my stand partner has usually decided it's a fine time for a nap.



P.S. This ain't my clef, so we're already 2 removes from my reality, whatever that is.

I believe I've mentioned that I am not a big fan of the violin and that most of my gigs in the latter half of my career were non-classical in nature. I did play viola in quite a few of them and had a few stand partners that were most memorable. Somnambula, for one. Here was a guy who would fall asleep, mid-measure, take a nap for about 16 measures, then like some automaton, just wake up and come in precisely where the orchestra was in the waltz.


A Tribute to Fibich, who is famous for "March of the Gladiators." You know that Circus music that every circus in the world plays, when the circus enters the tent. Total cheese.
This is a piano reduction.



Toccata and Fugue in D Minor by Bach; these are the opening 6 bars. It flat out rocks. It's the one you here in every scary movie and is originally for organ. It's a real challenge for an orchestra and I love playing it. This is the adagio, or toccatta (which means "to touch") Although slow, it is brilliant technically. The fugue itself is difficult as well.

I also had another stand partner who heard voices and kept trying to sit in my lap while we played. After he got carted off to the loony bin, I was designated Principal. Not because I played well, necessarily, but because I was unflappable. But my favorite stand partner was a gal out of Orlando. She was just as nonchalant about all of this as I was. We were playing Pops-type music and the viola parts sucked. So, after the concert, we would go off and get snockered in the Hotel's bar. One night, she whispered to me, “You know so-and-so?” Who was a member of our section. She asked me this after looking around to see if anyone was listening; there wasn't anyone else in the bar. We were closing the joint. I said, “Yeah, I do.” My friend, Beth says all wide-eyed, “I walked by her room and she was PRACTICING this music.”

What's-her-name was practicing something like this. For interpretation? Artistry? Music like this drove me to drink.

Get out! No violist practices this crap!” I said. Beth just nodded. “She WAS! I swear.” Holy cow. You practice Beethoven, you don't practice “Life Is Just A Bowl Full of Cherries.” Anyway, this was the tour where one of the 1st violinists fell asleep against the proscenium during a concert. Since he sat on the outside, everyone could see him. Alas, he didn't get hired on the next tour.

So, I got to play first violin on the Bebe Neuwirth tour and she sings this song about Johnny Surabachi. The manager was daft enough to seat me with my dear friend, Nancy. This is a disaster waiting to happen. There were 4 stands of 1st violins. My friend Bryan, a colleague from the University of Michigan is playing concert master and his partner, Inga out of Julliard, are on the first stand. I can't remember who was on the 2nd stand of 1st violins, then it's Nancy and me and I don't know on the last stand of 1sts. So, 8 1st violins.

There's this passage in Johnny Surabachi that is all bongos and mysterious. The parts are divisi, with the 1st stand playing a couple of measures, then the 2nd stand joins in, with higher notes for a few measures and then it's time for the Mary and Nancy show. Mind you, these F'ing notes are so friggin' high, I have no idea what they are. I don't usually play in this clef and now I'm expected to pull some stratosphere notes out of my ass...


What in the hell? That someone, who put this nightmare together "helpfully tells us "D" string and "E" string. I like the way he hastily scratched in (octave lower) with an arrow pointing, so the dimbulb celli and basses would understand, it wasn't an octave higher. Clearly not a string player. The second staff down is viola clef "B" I climb all OVER my fingerboard and play notes higher than some of the ones on the "E" string on the violin, but I have not clue one what that shit is in the stratosphere on the violin clef. Guess what? Nancy didn't either. She just wings it!

To top it off, the first 2 stands had gone Eek! And Squeak and then just stopped. Nancy and I went Erk. And then stopped and the 4th stand did nothing. Thundering silence. I pretended to tie my shoe, which is a neat trick when you're wearing flip-flops. Bryan turned around and looked directly at us, like “who are you and what have you done with my Mary.” Nancy raised the stand so no one could look at us as we howled with laughter. The conductor called a 15 minute break.

Someone weenused out and wrote 8va, which means they're written an octave lower than they sound.This dingbat thought it would make better sense in color. Lemme just get out my magic markers and color my strings. That'll help.

Nancy and I raced outside and rolled around on the loading dock of the theater. She said between guffaws, “First it sucked, then it got suckier and then it sucked some more.” It was truly, truly awful, but funny as hell; Nancy and I still laugh about it. That's one reason why I hate playing the violin. The stupid notes no one can read.

Not that I haven't suffered debacles playing the viola. Many, many years ago, my stand partner was responsible for the music. She and I had decided that we would copy the third page, because the turn from 2nd to 3rd page was right spang in the middle of a very complicated viola passage. We were playing in this little chamber orchestra up in the choir loft and it was rather drafty. We had all 3 pages set up on a music stand designed to hold 2 pages, and of course, being violists, we assumed the Magic Tape Fairy would provide. She didn't.

The 3rd page wafted out into the audience and Julie and I went from fortissimo to pianissimo and made many serious viola-like playing movements. I believe the term is air-viola. The conductor, who was Romanian and a complete bastard, started waving his stick at us, to make us play louder. I am not entirely sure of the physics involved here, but am fairly sure, that is not it. Julie and I could not even look at one another, as we played these imaginary notes on our air-violas. I am fairly sure that we were playing a Bach something-or-other, where the violas were absolutely necessary, so this just sounded like a clockwork mouse, that someone had stepped on, was still running but missing a part or two.


Free-form music; my favorite

After the piece, the conductor came down off that podium and started leafing through our music to make sure we would have no more “forgettings” as he termed it. After Julie and I got over our laughing fit, we told him we wouldn't.



Friday, May 17, 2013

#ROW80 POST 7 – COMPUTER TRANSLATIONS


I think that just about everyone knows I've supported, fixed, developed, deployed, trained and written software for every stripe of computer known and used in either big corporations, small businesses and even, God help me Law Enforcement. I did this all while I was still pursuing an active career as a violist and half-assed violinist and was fortunate enough to be granted leeway to pursue both; I guess I earned the respect from the people I worked with; they didn't give a fig if cartwheels were performed in the muster room of the Gastonia Police Department, or fierce hop scotch matches won and lost in IBM's server rooms at midnight, so long as the work was done. Those were the days, prior to scripts and metrics and stakeholders. Creativity abounded and it was fun.


I worked in an environment like this one at IBM and supported OS/2. As I worked 2nd and 3rd tier, I always got the calls that had cooties.

When I was actually in-house and not tearing up and down the United States, on either a bus tour from Hell, or driving myself with the latest Goombah tour with Al Martino, or channelling Elvis with the remaining Jordannaires, my managers would bring me the latest newfangeled whatsis. The purpose? To see how long it would take me to break it and then concoct a fix and write up a process. A break-fix. We had some doozies. Some of my fixes were rather high-tech, others were what we called “sneakerware.”

It goes like this: Step 1. Blow up, or corrupt some really horribly important file, like one of your *.DLL (dynamic link library) files. The key here is “dynamic link” which means they're used by several applications. Oh goody. Now, half of the shit that worked badly, doesn't work at all, or does stuff like give you blank menu drop downs, or if you click on “Edit” you get the “Tools” menu. Just really horrible stuff. You can forget about trying to figure out which *.DLL file augured in, because there are elevently-billion of the things on your system. So, now for step 2. Rummage around, and find yourself a bunch of disks. Go to your neighbor's desk, who has called in hungover and boot up in safe mode. Copy all of his *.DLL files. Reboot your system into safe mode, copy over all of your *.DLL files. Reboot. Fixed. We are talking early days, when people didn't really get the architecture of PCs, which are really not all that different that mainframes.


When I worked at the Gastonia Police Department, I wrote them up a "maintenance manual" for their Windows system. They had enough to do without trying to figure out Microsoft's gibberish. "Rule 1. Windows Lies." And we went from there.

It got to the point where I would stare at a Thinkpad or a config.sys file and figure out why someone's external hard drive wasn't working, then fix it through the software. Now that I'm ready to go off on another tangent and have pretty much gotten my hardware into place, it's time to learn some more black magic. I find it's kinda like riding a bike and all that arcana is coming back to me. I'm about the worst there is when it comes to hardware. I worked for XBox and I aced the software test. I had to take the hardware test 4 times and the instructor had to help me. THAT's how bad I am with hardware.


I am a lion when it comes to software, writing and I'm fearless, but if you present me with crap like this? I am completely and utterly undone. I would probably put it in the oven, cook it and try to eat it.

So, today, my friend who is a hardware guru, I mean seriously good with it, thoughtfully brought me a hard drive and a bunch of memory sticks, 80 Gig Seagate and 1 Mg of memory, for a favor. Eventually, I'll keep horsetrading and end up with another Quadcore and custom monitor. We do a lot of stuff like this. It's how I ended up with the T-42 ThinkPad. He brings me a bunch of papers he needs translated from English to Spanish. I can do this, so I find the web site and proceed copy the English translation to Spanish in Google and then, cut and paste into a document in OpenOffice.org. I don't use Microsoft Office, although I have it, it's not on my system.

I email it to myself and open it; this is what I see:


This isn't looking like any Spanish I have ever seen. I have forgotten one teensy, weensy little thing about hopping around between applications.

Well, shit. I forgot about that little thing called FORMATTING, even though I saved it as an *.rtf file (yeah, *.rtf does pick up formatting.) My friend thinks this is hysterical and says “I'm going home, you'll work it out.” And he left; he lives across the street.


Then, I remembered. Eureka! I took the English, saved it as a *.txt file, which strips ALL formatting. I ran it through the translator and saved the Spanish version as a *.txt file, sent it to myself to make sure it worked, then emailed it to him. I used to do this all the time, with corrupted Excel files, databases, I can't believe I forgot that! He had that sucker BEFORE he got home! Ha! Still good for now, until my next idiocy, 3 ½ minutes from now! Have a great day!



Thursday, May 16, 2013

#ROW80 POST 6 – DESIGNED BY VERSACE?


Okay, another Wednesday check in missed. I promise to get back into the groove. We've been blabbering a lot over here about personal freedoms and Civil Rights and of course, I jump in with my Constitutional and Bill of Rights hooey, as I understand it. And, pray tell, what on this here blue-eyed world does Versace have to do with all of that. Why, not a damned thing, but this has been on my mind, because I know people who have had their freedoms and rights curtailed because of past mistakes. I don't think it's fair, but there sure is one hell of a lot of judging going on by people who probably need to take a good, stiff look in their own mirrors. Right. Maybe if I get to Be World King or Poobah. I'd make a bunch of shit change. First thing I'd do is fire Rick Scott and send him to Devil's Island. Dreyfus went there, so it's plenty good enough for Rick Scott and the French can keep him.




Neener, neener and ha ha ha, Rick Scott. You couldn't deport me after all, ya jackleg. 

Anyway, I went to my doctor who is wonderful. She has some unpronounceable last name, so she's Dr. K to everyone, even herself I think. Everything looks pretty good. The usual. “You have anemia, low potassium.” She said to me. I hear that every time I have blood drawn. “Okay, I'll keep taking my B-12 injections and double up on the Niacin and Potassium. I weigh 104 pounds. After being 79 lbs and fighting back to this weight, I've been here for a year. Great news. No cholesterol problem or anything like that. Yay! Time for 12 dozen deviled eggs!

What was unexpected was this: the presence of antigens in my blood was off the charts. I have to go to an allergist. Well, shit. Then, Dr. K, being the awesome doctor she is, said, “You do know that Parkinson's Disease is an autoimmune disease.” Nope. I did not. I know it's a neuromuscular and psychological disease, but the autoimmune thing threw me. I've never been allergic to anything. So, oh boy! A new doctor to go to! Someone else to annoy! The next day I went to the Dermatologist and had a bunch of cancers zizzed off. The one on my lower right lip looks splendid. Kinda a Popeye thing. I look like I've been dipping snuff.


I think I broke the camera when I took the lip pic; here's a picture of our stove that I took in the dark. At around 1 am-ish. For no particular reason.

Part of my lip fell off into my lap onto my keyboard the other day and I was all, AAAHHHHH!!! I have leprosy!!!! AHHHHHHH! JC was napping on the couch. He thought we were having an air raid. Geeze. The Dermatologist was funny and cool. The good doctor reminded me of some beachcomber that got lost and ended up in a medical suite. Colorful shirt, Loose dockers and very laid back. He came in and we talked; he noticed my braces on my arms. I had carpal tunnel in both wrists, but my right hand was broken, the little finger and the 3rd finger knuckles were crushed. I spent 12 weeks in a cast.

So, as I'm peeling off the hardware, he starts looking at my hands and upper arms, then he notices my right hand and knuckles. He said, “How did this happen?” I kind of blushed, and then said “In a fight, doctor.” He looked at m, and grinned. “I'm guessing by the condition of you hand and the fact that you're standing before that the other guy is no longer among the living?” I looked at him and laughed. “Well, in a manner of speaking. That whole payback thing...”

So, he took care of all the little barnacles and the bigger ones that are in fact, basal cell carcinomas, the most benign form of cancer (if you can say that and not sound totally silly.) But, you can't ignore them, either. I had one on my left bicep and I ignored it for years. When I finally had it removed, the damned thing was deep, nearly to the bone. I have a scar that was cleverly sculpted like my bicep. Lesson? Don't ever wait. I was still playing and I put black medical tape around my bare arm, as I wore a velvet spaghetti strap gown until it healed all the way and it took months. Stylish!

I thought of this Versace thing because no one's Parkinson's Disease is like anyone else's Parkinson's Disease. I keep hearing about all sorts of different symptoms and some of them I have and some I don't. Likewise, I have symptoms that no one else seems to have. We all share some sort of generalized stuff, but then we put our own “spin” on things. I suffer mostly in my upper body, which includes my head, especially my brain. I can still walk and do a sort-of run pretty well.


Race-walkers; so competitive. Once you get over how ridiculous it looks, you get drawn in by the race to the finish line. They always take it down to the wire; I guess it's the nature of the sport. Fun!

Of course, we already know we can kiss the eyesight goodbye. It's 20/20 in both of them, but not at the same time; it's like a really crappy kaleidoscope. If I am able to focus, then my brain refuses to see 1 of anything. It sees 2. Go figure. I'm so used to this, if by some miracle it could be fixed, I'd walk into everything in my path. As of now, I have no “path,” I just walk kind of sideways, but at least there is forward motion. It's rather more like a controlled fall. The only time I came close to losing it was when the neurology intern took away my cane and made me walk up and down their hall. I should have gotten whackamole back and beat her about the head and shoulders! What a jerk!


Not "millions," you moron. I said "billions." It's "billions of lives are at stake! No wonder you can't talk!
Now, talking is getting to be a riot. My voice is getting weak and hoarse and I get tongue-tied and stutter at times. JC doesn't hear very well, so I get to make all the phone calls. Last night, we decided on pizza; Dominos. Oh goody! I not only get to call them, there's the added pressure (put on me, by myself) of making sure the order is right. So, I'm excited. When I experiencee any type of extreme emotion (C'mon, it's ONLY pizza, for God's sake. You're not Jack Bauer and millions of lives are not at stake!) I start getting tremors... everywhere, pretty much. So, after I've successfully leapt the hurdle of ordering, I now have to provide the dreaded debit card number. I open my mouth and say, “lBlurk grik orutu lljljll no?” JC hollers from across the room, “Good God, why are you so tongue-tied?” (He's still getting used to this.) I can't help it. I just burst into laughter. Laughter is good for PD, or Parkies. It's like crack. We produce endorphins when we laugh. The guy on the phone is all, huh?


Getting JC to smile for a picture is impossible. You have to sneakphotograph to get this! He's talking to an old friend and all they do, is laugh. Works for me. JC, savior of cats and love of my life!

I explained to him what was up with me and said, “you gotta admit, it's funny.” So, he started to laugh, too. I was able then to give him the card number and we chatted for a few minutes. He's recently lost his job in the construction industry, where he's worked for over 20 years. I said, “Oh, I am so very sorry. I hope you land something soon.” He said, “Lady, you're amazin'. I wish you well. It'll be okay.” I said, “I know; it is already. Take care.”

So, this whole thing is like Florida and Michigan weather; if you don't like your current symptom, wait 5 minutes, it will change. Some of them are just flat-out annoying and ridiculous. My favorite was the 3-day festival of underside-tongue-tip-twitching. And that was all that was going on. It drove me bonkers. I mean, WTF? I've heard of similar stories from other people. Another top 10 in the hit parade is the Pseudo Bulbar Affective Disorder. Just the name is enough to give you tics. What it is, is this: you cry at nothing, and you laugh at everything inappropriate, or in questionable taste. Huh? I would just call that a matter of taste. Guess what? There's a pill for it. Like there is for Asperger, which I've had all my life. I call that “doesn't play well with others.” My teachers called it that, as well. So, doctors, you can keep your pills. The side effects are bad; “sightings of the dead, levitation, horn and cloven hoof sprouting.” I'll pass.

One other thing that happens and has since I had my psychotic break is dementia (and who doesn't love a little dementia? I have friends who say they can't tell the difference) caused by my precipitous drops in sugar. It will go from 150 to 47 in less than 30 minutes. At first, I didn't recognize the signs and it would hit really hard. I couldn't recognize things, I felt like I was seeing God, that I was dying and every neuron in my body would fire at once. As soon as I drank some orange juice, it would stop. I am not diabetic and this is very common. The lack of Levo-dopa (the chemical that helps to regulate our autonomic functions) that my brain no longer produces causes this and a whole host of other really neat-o, keen and fun stuff. Like heart rate, (about 120 beats a minute) and a bunch of other junk I can't remember now.

So, I have all this great stuff: Parkinson's Disease, which in fact caused my Bipolar I disorder, Asperger and somehow this Pseudo Bulbar Affective Disorder latched on, most definitely with the PD, because I didn't cry a lot. My mom wouldn't allow it, and it's a habit I carried into adulthood. I've always laughed, so, I guess I just picked up the other half, but I didn't truly start all of this until after my psychotic break which was caused by my PD to begin with. Round and round. Very chic, designed just for me; and if I don't like it, I wait. Generally, my health is good, even with bits and pieces falling off. I fell last night for the first time in over 2 years. I caught myself and landed on my right knee and it hurts like a BITCH! But, I don't feel that crisis of confidence when I was falling all the time. I'm strong now and just have a sore knee to go with my lip leprosy.

A little note here about Sunday's Check in. I am privileged to know a wonderful gentleman, by the name of Terry Carroll. He has published a truly awesome and charming book called “Among the Fourth Graders.” He has been generous and kind enough to send me my very own, hardback and signed copy (SQUEE!) and 3 paperback copies. I am going to be quoting some excerpts and reviews (it's flat out marvelous) and I'd like to interview him, I would love you all to stay tuned and we'll have a book give-away!


 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

#ROW80 2ND QUARTER 2013 - SUNDAY CHECK IN – POST 5

PARANORMAL CENTRAL OR AREA 51 ANNEX?

I mentioned during the A to Z Challenge for my letter “V” for Visitors that I sometimes, usually once a week, have some visitors. They only show up when my compilations for SETI@home is NOT running. I also run Cosmology@home and SAT@home, for both Cambridge U.K. And Russia and my guests don't care about those functions, but they hide when SETI is running. Fair enough. For a few months, I just watched them, breathless, they are so beautiful; shimmering, delicate, lacy figures.

Initially, there were 6 of them, ranging in size, from about 2 to 5 feet in height. They have several appendages, that are also shimmering, and move about. When I first saw them, I assumed I was dreaming, or still asleep and didn't move at all. I just laid there, still as a stone. Recently, I became a bit more bold and moved my head to look at each of them. They cluster around the bed. Our place is small, and I can see into each room. My blindness is odd. I see better at night, I still have a great deal of trouble trying to focus, but I can for brief periods. I have 20/20 vision in each eye. My brain is the problem; it will not integrate the 2 images into one. I digress.

A few weeks back, I started wondering what on earth these beings could possibly want and what they really are. I'm not having much luck beyond the fact that I know they are harmless and in fact, I think they see me as some sort of refuge. There is another entity that lives here, as well. Some little being one of our neighbors has seen. He says it's a little old lady who lives here and she jumps on the bed and is also harmless. I've felt her and so has JC.

Of course, I've had all of these debates with my friends over this; some say tell them to get lost. They'll drain me, they don't pay rent, yada yada. But, hey, they're my aliens or whatever. The little old bat was here before we moved in, so she isn't going anywhere. I've heard the aliens like the electricity in my computers, which is probably true. I just find it so very odd that they won't come when SETI@home is running. We seem to have plenty of coming and going and lots of activity in this house, and as my own physical senses have degraded, other senses have taken up the slack, I believe. So I seem to be more acutely aware of things I may not have noticed when I was fully sighted and in my supposed “right mind.”

My mother was rather like that, and was always telling me to keep “both feet in this world,” whatever in the hell that meant. She was the emotional one; I was logical and distant, or so I thought, as was my father. He was a Captain in the Air Force, flying B-29s and had some interesting postings prior to Korea, but after 1947; the timing is important. He trained at Lackland AFB in 1950 and was sent to Nellis Air Force Base, (near Area 51) and then down in Florida, where he regularly flew through the Bermuda Triangle, until that one night.... the fact that the entire squadron of 5 B-29s manned by 13 men apiece decided nap time was a good thing all at the same time, during a peaceful run to Morocco, became decidedly unpeaceful, when my father awoke and began hollering into headphones, as his colleagues in the other four planes slumbered, possibly, into oblivion. A new training route was found after that. He maintained for years that all were exhausted as they had flown down from Alaska blah blah, the day before. He never admitted that maybe, just maybe, the Triangle was after them. He didn't buy into the Area 51 thing, blah blah blah. I heard that for years. Daddy and my uncle argued about all of that for years and years and years.

My Dad hung out with my uncle; my mother's brother, the Mad Scientist, as we called him, ran Nuclear Testing out at Jack Ass Flats, and not far from Jack Ass Flats, and Nellis Air Base is the notorious Area 51. My uncle has published papers based on mathematical theorems that work; built on observations of massive objects suddenly shifting direction. Up, down, backward, forward, or come to a complete stop, while airborne. The math works. He fell off the grid about 30 years ago and retired. I don't know if he gets messages via the fillings in his head or messages from Garcia, but the one time I contacted him on FB, he told me to “write him a letter.” Errant nonsense. If everyone is listening via electronic whatsis, pen and paper is no obstacle. He was always a bit dimmish about computers. When I worked at IBM, he kept sending me all of his Nigerian email scams, saying they were viruses. He knows his math and physics. But, for all I know, they were all eating peyote buttons and sitting in sweat lodges and having walkabouts and beating drums.

Three days before my father died in his sleep and this was in July of 1987, during the Iran-Contra hearings, after a lifetime of semi-paranoia, while trying to uphold principles of free speech and being true to the idea of what the Constitution and Bill of Rights stood for, after having witnessed the McCarthy era witch hunts, in which he saw as a college student (he left the Air Force, but kept in contact with several of his colleagues in 1954) who had served his adopted country not once, but twice, his college professors hounded out of their careers and in some cases, they took their lives.

Later, my father spent 6 months playing cat-and-mouse in the mid-70s with the FBI because 2 of his employees had somehow managed to smuggle, lock, stock and barrel two personnel carriers to the Saudis, who at the time were not our friends. My father had not knowledge of that, since he wasn't on that particular project. The FBI were showing up at our front door at odd hours, in pairs, wearing sunglasses. My father would have to leave work early to pick me up from school, then we would cruise aimlessly, around San Jose and go to Shakey's Pizza, or Farrell's Ice Cream Parlor. My mother was going to work at odd times. It all seemed rather a game to me, but in retrospect, it wasn't. The FBI could never find any direct connection leading back to my father. Eventually, they moved on to other things. This was shortly before the Patty Hearst kidnapping.

In 1980, I was in Ann Arbor, which has a thriving Eastern European and Russian Studies School. He went into full panic mode when I was on national television standing up for Solidarność and against General Wojciech Jaruzelski, I got this frantic call from him. “What the hell are you doing? Don't you know people are watching?” He hollered. We almost never fought and when we did, it was on principle. “What have you told me all my life? What have you always done? You stand up for presonal freedoms and what is right.” I shot back “This is different. You're my daughter. You're name is on a list, now.” He was almost in tears. “You're the only thing I have. I don't want anything to happen to you.”

Well, what do you say to that? But, I got it; the McCarthy thing really unnerved him, but seriously? we can't just hand over our freedoms like that, and I told him so. I also said, I'd be careful and would do nothing to inflame authorities were I arrested and I loved him more than anything. He died 7 years later in his sleep. Just before he died, he told me about Area 51. “I've been thinking about this. You must know; it is real. All of the obfuscation, weather balloon nonsense, is just that.” I'm thinking , “Gee thanks, Daddy.” He was gone 3 days later and my uncle is in the wind, I guess. This is one of those posts that start out one way and end up something else. I do so look forward to my “guests” and my father was not in the habit of lying to me.

Anyway, a few weeks back, I made the decision to try and “communicate” or let them know that I meant them no harm, which they must have known, or they wouldn't keep showing up. So, one night, when they came, I just thought to them, or at them, “look, I won't hurt you, I won't let anybody hurt you, you are safe here.” They must have understood that because they're appendages waved a bit more excitedly. I didn't hear anything back. They generally stay about 5 or 10 minutes, I really don't know how long. It could be an hour. Then they just gradually fade.

The next time they came, the littlest one, which had always been back behind the bigger ones was in the front, and he or she was trying it's damnedest to climb up onto the bed. I looked down and I could see what looked like a flat hand, with a thumb, and 3 fingers. The hand was a light blue. My comforter is white. The illumination in the room comes off of their bodies. I was amused and touched, but again, I didn't try to touch its hand or get up. I just kept thinking the thoughts I mentioned before; “safe, welcome, no harm here.” Again, after a period of time, the 6 of them disappeared. I wished them a goodbye.

All hell broke loose one night. Something dark came tearing through the house, and exited; on its way to whatever Valhalla or hell was awaiting it. It was definitely not happy, nor especially malevolent, but terrified and sick. JC saw it and it woke me. I didn't see it, but I felt it. JC mentioned it, got up and looked out the window but saw nothing. He fell back asleep. I did too, but it was an uneasy sleep. Shortly after that, my 6 showed up, all tremulous, agitated and nervous. I woke up and “told” them it was okay. Just gentled them along. Pretty soon, they were lulled and I got the feeling they understood they were not alone. They stayed a bit longer and waited until I fell asleep.

JC and I talked about them. I get the feeling they're a family; especially with the younger ones. There are 2 of them. But again, they're not like anything I've ever heard about or read about. The night they showed up scared was actually a night when someone in our old homeless shelter committed suicide. JC and I wondered if that was Adam's tormented soul running away. We knew him briefly, but not well. What is so sad about things like that is that no one ever came to claim his body; he had no family here. These things happen more often than we know.

Last week, while I was sleeping, and SETI@home wasn't running, there was a thump on the bed that woke me up. The 6 were back and they brought some of their friends. There were 18 of them crammed into the bedroom around the foot of my bed. The little one was wedged between my viola and me. I was delighted. I think we had a mutual admiration society for a while and I got to appreciate them up close. Pale copper and silver. Gold and lilac, blues, rose and greens. So beautiful. I, again, let them know that they were welcome and safe. They are amiable guests. I really look forward to their visits.

* I was going to add some of my famous pictures, but Blogger is being ass. Sorry

Friday, May 10, 2013

#ROW80 POST 3 – THIS WAS THE WEEK THAT WAS



My title is not just a title from some old, cheesy TV show that my parents found beyond hysterical. This was just one of those weeks, where something had to “happen” every day. It was a happenin' kinda week. Yeah. And with all of the hoo-ha, me and my pal, PD or non-PD, THAT is the question, it takes 87 times longer to do any one task and I'm knackered after being on my feet for half an hour.

Here I am, already breaking my promise to poor #ROW80, but I did get nominated for the Liebster Award and it took me a whole day, what with the typee-typee, linky-linky, thanky-thanky, and my own general batshit behavior. Y'know, the kind where you get out of your blogging chair, walk into the kitchen or outdoors and start something else. Slam-bang! There goes 2 whole hours, so maybe it's not quite fair of me to say it took a “whole day.” Whatever. There it is.

No, I had to go to the DMV with proof of my blindness, which is odd, since I don't have a Florida license and I applied for and received my Florida ID card. I had my ID stolen awhile back by one of the fine denizens here on Nebraska Ave., 33605, a crack ho, unsurprisingly. If it had been one of Tampa's socialites... what? Oh, yeah, General Petraeus and his mistress and that socialite are in Tampa... never mind. I wouldn't be surprised if a Fortune 500 heiress here in Tampa stole my ID either. All the weird and con-artist stuff happens here, too. I digress.


Yes, this really happened. Yes, I almost peed my pants laughing. Yes, JC had to pick me up off the floor. I LOVE Florida. 

To get a new picture ID, I had to get a copy of my certified birth certificate. This took forever, because I wasn't born in Florida, but in Michigan. My parents weren't born in the US and since I've taken to tormenting Governor Rick “Sparkles” Scott at every opportunity and starting Moveon.Org petitions, I know he was probably looking for a reason to pull the “birther” nonsense and ship my happy ass back to Scotland to go live free with the other Wallaces. Scott, who has all the charm, charisma and intelligence of a crowbar tried to get rid of all the “non-registered” people and wouldn't allow early voting here (which I started a petition and raised national attention with) and spent oodles of money on, netted exactly one guy. I can't even remember where dude was from. France or Neptune. I dunno.


Meet Governor Rick "Sparkles" Scott-FLA (R). This is as charming as he gets. I suspect it's the lamp that gives him his charm. He'd be charmier, if he were wearing said lamp.

Well, after we went round and round about the ID, because by rights, I should have just been able to get a replacement. Florida (Governor “Beelzebub” Scott) said no. I said the hell with it and went to the Michigan state people and the county I was born in (why I didn't think of this first and finally was able to procure a copy of my certified birth certificate. So, that's done.


Meet Governor "Beelzebub" Rick Scott-Hell (R) without his charm lamp. (Actually the sophisticated program called "Paint" allowed me to bring out his true nature.) I'm sure he'll write me a nasty-gram. We're not on good terms these days.

Wednesday, I was at my own doctor, who was able to pull some strings with my supplemental insurance company, so I can continue to see her. She's a great doctor and I really don't want to start over with someone else. Not with what's coming up with the Parkinson's Foundation Center of Excellence in June, on June 6th, D-Day. I get to be General Eisenhower. I wanted to be Rommel; he's so cool. But he's already taken. So's Omar Bradley. Montgomery is too, and Ewww. So, I can be Ike. Great! I looked at the Facebook page for the USF Parkinson's Center. It looks like a bunch of dancing. I hope we get to do “Gangnam Style!” That would be great. Or the Harlem Shake. Well, I pretty much do that now. Hell, when I walk in the house, it's more of a controlled fall, where I aim for the spot I want to land, and shuffle my feet. Actually, I haven't fallen since that day when I was homeless and I fell behind the washing machine; when I knocked myself out briefly.



My brother-in-law became a colonel in the U.S. 3rd Army and quite a good one, he was such a fan of Rommel. Much to admire here. I would love to have met the man. I would love to drive tanks! Whee!!!

I came to just as the Pimp and the Drug Dealer were rushing around, trying to get me a chair and pick me up, as I was bleeding from the head, and screaming for 911, as Ray stood there, like a rock, watching. I looked him in the eye. Two killers. Me, should the need arise and he, because. I made him blink first.

That's been almost 2 years now, so I'm not really afraid of falling anymore. I'm a lot stronger now. It's mostly the eyes; 2 of everything and I'm done with trying to pick which one is the right one, so I settle for “general direction of,” and go for it in the house. I'm much more disciplined outside of the house; plus I have a cane. Pretty secretive about it, too. You cannot show weakness; in some ways, it's like never having left 7th grade. I'm really good at playing “Statues.” I get to my bus stop and just stand there, like a still life. After a while, other people forget I'm there, then I start hearing the trash talk.

Yesterday, some girl came up and was trying to buy drugs from this guy, who was already wrapped way too tight. One young lady was leaving her shift from Checkers to go home and was ignoring him. He'd been trying to get me to sit down, but I never sit at the bus stops. He keeps jabbering at me; so my selective deafness kicks in. When this other woman shows up and tries to buy from him, he freaks out and starts waving his ID around.

Here's a new tactic to avoid arrest? Show everyone your ID? Soz, if the Po-Po do come looking for you, and talk to people, some tapioca-head like me(?) will say, “nah, couldn't be him. He's honest as the day is long. I saw his ID and the other 112 IDs he was sporting, so he's good!” Another WTF moment on Nebraska Ave., 33605. The bus finally arrives.

I'm just going after some of my new prescriptions, after my Dermatologist's appointment, which was a howl. Turns out the lip cancer, which was extensive was not as bad as we first feared. The doctor is a gem and I'm glad I found him. He walked into the office, looking like some kind of hippy, or one of the denizens of Nebraska Avenue. Shapeless pants, colorful shirt, faded; washed many times. I'm glad he's not in Hair and Beauty; seriously, that's the worst dye job ever, but he's affable. He looked me up and down. It was our first meeting. As he was checking out my hands, he noticed the braces. “Carpal tunnel?” “For the left.” He noticed my right hand, looked at my knuckles; 2 of which had sustained crushing injuries.


If you can get past the whole French Queen nonsense, the story has a good deal of truth, although, Sir William died with no issue. They did get the ranginess and color of that branch of Wallaces correct. The line is carried down from a second son (not mentioned in the movie) and the family eventually reunited and went back to crofting (farming.) The larger mystery is this: "Wallace" is old welsh for "foreign" or "alien," although the Wallaces were pretty established in 1297. This means they were not from any waves of Viking invasion, nor were they Picts. Best guess? Eastern Europe (Wallachians) or Ukraine or possibly around the Black Sea. The Scythians did garrison Hadrian's Wall. Like I said, best guess, or WAG.

What happened here?” I sigh, “Fighting.” He said, “Well, you're here, so I presume you killed the other guy.” I laughed. Wallaces are like that; we don't take kindly to being agressed upon. We agress back and then some, so that said aggressor will think before repeating. Anyway, the doctor is outstanding, checked over my skin, took care of the little tumor on my lip, some barnacles on my arms and head and sent me on my way. I was so glad to get home after that, and the pharmacy. JC, dear JC had made up my side of the bed, so I could sleep for a while. I was exhausted.

A note about Parkinson's Disease and an important one: at my own doctor's office, it was discovered for the first time, that I have a higher than normal (actually VERY high amounts of antigens (unspecified) in my blood) which have never been present prior to my psychotic break. This is consistent with Parkinson's Disease as being described sometimes as an autoimmune disorder and would also explain higher rates of breast cancers, and possibly skin cancers. I, being fair, redheaded and blue-eyed have had dealings with skin cancer all of my life. Parkinson's Disease is also considered a psychological as well as a neuromuscular disease, so it wears many hats and is one of the reasons it is so very difficult to diagnose and treat. My own primary doctor pointed out the Allergen-PD link to me on the very same day that Penny Adams over at P.A.N.D.A. wrote about it. YumaBev over at is facing her own battle with breast cancer, which can also be seen as an opportunistic disease. Due to our lowered immunities, we're all dealing with strange conditions and illnesses. What I thought was my 87th bout of pneumonia, may be no more than a very severe reaction to... something undetermined. Stay tuned. Sunday Check in coming up! And This Was the Week That Was.



Monday, May 6, 2013

HOMELESS CHRONICLES IN TAMPA - THE LIEBSTER AWARD 2013



The Liebster Award is a legitimate award, and until last year, had never heard of it. I was first nominated in 2012 by Aaron Brinker who runs @dadblunders and as I read of the history of the award, I realized this is a serious thing and an honor. It’s an award given by bloggers to other up and coming bloggers as a way to recognize and promote their blog. Liebster is a German word meaning dearest, sweetest and beloved. How wonderful to be nominated, once again! Thank you so very much to Maggie at expat.brazil. I am honored.



The Rules: seem slightly different on various blogs but in general are
1. List 11 facts about yourself.
2. Answer the 11 questions given to you.
3. Ask 11 new questions for the bloggers you nominate for the award.
4. Choose up to 11 up-and-coming blogs to nominate.
5. Go to each blogger’s page and let them know about the award.
6. Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog.


So step 1. 11 facts about me

  1. I was a professional violist for close to 30 years. I switched from violin at the age of 16-ish. I occasionally played the violin on gigs for money. Only when all the other violinists within the tri-state area had left or died was I called upon to do so. I hate the violin, but then, I hate Mozart. I love Beethoven. I love all good music, in any genre.
  1. I was a computer software support engineer at IBM for 3 years and Verizon for 7. I also worked for the Gastonia, NC police department in the same capacity and continued to play at the same time. It's called multi-tasking, or “insanity.” I got into this line of work, when my 2nd husband a violist, discovered that I didn't magically become a _______ player and got jealous when I got hired to play for the Moody Blues and he didn't.
  1. I am legally blind and have been for about 10 years now. I also have Parkinson's Disease, or non-Parkinson's Disease, THAT is the question. It's hard to diagnose.
  1. I own a viola that was made 10 years after Beethoven died, in 1837. The viola was made in Bologne, Italy and is of the Bolognese school of fiddle-making. Like all fine instruments, “his” appraiser named him. His name is “Wolf.” He has a hell of a sound and is by my bed.
  1. I was homeless for about 11 months and spent that time living in a homeless shelter and was very annoying to my fellow homeless shelter mates. That is how this blog came to be. After I received my Disability, I moved across the street. I still see some of the people I lived with and new homeless people.
  1. I've been committed for mental illness. I am bipolar and have Asperger (we used to say, “doesn't play well with others.”) I also cry over stupid stuff and laugh at stuff I probably shouldn't. I have a mordant sense of humor. They have a label and pill for that. I call it questionable taste. Sheesh. There's a pill for everything now.
  1. I love cats. Cats and computers just seem natural. We've a wonderful little cat who adopted us. We had her fixed, and I came up with the name of “Butterscotch,” which is not very original. JC fed her so much she got fat, so I started calling her “Butterball” and “Butterfat,” and JC said I hurt her feelings. So, she's Mama.
  1. I played in Opera Tampa here for 12 seasons with Maestro Anton Coppola, Nic Cage's, Great Grand-uncle and Francis Ford's Great Uncle. It's a small world, because in Detroit, Carmine Coppola, played flute in the orchestra I played in. Maestro Anton wrote operas and conducted Italian opera with no score. He recently retired at 98. His most memorable quote to us? “Anyone can play German opera, it's just 1, 2, 3, 4, but Italian opera? Rubato, rubato, rubato, it's all goddamned rubato!” He was great to work for. I left the Opera in 2009, due to the fact I couldn't fake it anymore. He retired last year. Apparently, he couldn't fake it anymore, either.
  1. I'm an only child and never had kids. But I taught generations of them on the violin (even while not enjoying playing it, I am very enthusiastic about music; a teacher's role is to inspire. We're all self-taught, according to one of my viola professors.)
  1. I was married 3 times and lived with a man who was one of the most irresponsible people I have ever met. Shame on me. I met the man I know I will be with for the rest of my life in the homeless shelter. Think on this if you will. I was homeless, had had a drinking problem, but stopped. The man I met in the shelter had been in prison. What are the odds of something durable working out?
  1. JC, the love of my life, has seen me through my committal for mental illness, several hospitalizations for my PD and congestive heart failure and has steadfastly been there for me. He's patient and loving. My 3rd husband was out looking for a new girlfriend the minute I was hospitalized with congestive heart failure. I had actually sworn off men, but the time I was in the homeless shelter. God had other plans.

So, the 11 random questions I would like to know.
  1. Favourite Writer and why? This is like asking me who my favourite composer is. I love so many different writers and genres. Let me compare it as to music; Beethoven is so monumentally joyous and full of life, even as his life was tragic. Mahler was the opposite. Even his so-called happy music had tragic undertones. James Thurber, whom I read at the age of 11 is just flat-out funny. Harlan Ellison is funny, but there is a seething rage beneath his humor that is black indeed. I am currently back on Stephen King, after having read excerpts from his book 11/22/63, I purchased “Under the Dome.” He is still one of the finest technically perfect writers I've ever read and his imagination is without peer. But gee whiz, it is hard to choose. Harlan Ellison is probably the finest short story writer ever, and that has got to be the hardest form to master. Great question, Maggie!
  1. Who is your best friend and why? Without a doubt, JC, the best, most honorable and most decent man I've ever known. Ex-con, or not. Which is laughable. The United States justice system has much to answer for. JC lost everything. Had a horrible childhood, loveless marriages and tried and worked so hard to care for his family. He had to quit school to help a shiftless, no-good step-daddy run a pig farm. Shades of John Steinbeck and Tennessee Williams. JC says he's dumb and practically illiterate next to me. So what? Book-learning was an advantage and a gift. I was a prodigy, but I couldn't see into people's hearts. He can and he's taught me much. He's beyond price and I love him unreasonably. He's never known true happiness, until now. I told him my mission in life was to make him happy, or make him miserable trying.
  1. The genie has granted you three wishes, what are they? Genie grants everyone the ability to reason, empathize and show compassion.
  1. Which historical figures would you love to have dinner with ? Ludwig van Beethoven
  1. What couldn’t you live without? My viola, Wolf
  1. What do you do for fun? Play Runescape and annoy people in chat rooms.
  1. Favourite Quote? “Animals grace us with their presence.”
  1. If money was no object where would you live and why? I would roam. I found out recently, that we may not be where we thought we were from. “Wallace” of Sir William Braveheart blah blah fame we can claim, but “Wallace” means “foreign” or “alien” in old Welsh. There is some argument (I don't believe there is much evidence) for our origins prior to Glasgow being from around the Caucausus or the Black Sea. Maybe we were Scythians or Cossacks; maybe even Neptunians. Scythians were known for red hair, fair skin and blue eyes. At any rate, before I lost my site, I rambled all over the place, and it wasn't always work related. Our whole family was like that. You said “car,” and family members were known to get up off of their death beds for a road trip. I miss it.
  1. What’s your secret pleasure? *looks around* I have been known to have apoplexy and hysteria over TSG (The Smoking Gun's) “The World's Dumbest ________ “ When the recipe includes grade Z celebs like Tonya Harding, Todd Bridges, Leif Garrett, Danny Bonaduce, Chuck Nice (which really is an appropriate last name for him) et al., and show the bottom of the gene pool video clips doing the stupidest things they can think of, and then comment and re-enact with cheesy cut-outs and even cheesier comments and the cheesiest CGI ever, I'm down with that. You see, I have the Siren-song-of-crap gene! And damned proud of it, too! And if they're not on, I'll laugh at my own stupidness. Like the time I followed myself on my own blog!
  1. Who do you admire and why? I thought about this for a long time and I keep coming back to someone who has been on the public stage for most of the time I've spent on this planet. Muhammad Ali. The courage he showed when he stood up to the establishment and stated that he would not fight a war that he had no stake in really shook people up. I believe that for the first time, people really started to question what our government's goals were in Viet Nam. At this point, I was already hearing my father every morning bitch about what an asshole Robert MacNamara was; I was about 9 years old at the time. When the news came out that Ali had his license stripped, my very prescient father, who was a naturalized citizen, out of Glasgow and had fought in WWII and flown B-29s in Korea watching, said, “people are going to start rebelling against this war; it's a bad war.” He was right. As Ali has aged, and he is now dealing with PD himself, his foundations and charities have taken up causes he espoused. Brotherhood for all mankind.
  1. What superpower would you like to have? Not invisibility; it didn't work so well for that guy in the X-files episode. I'll settle for that one where you wrinkle your nose and the house cleans itself and your food cooks itself. I know that was a witch power, but all I can come up with are those lame Saturn Lad powers, like the bouncing thing, or stop time, like Clock Boy. Lame

My 11 Random Questions

  1. Describe which musical instrument your personality most closely resembles and why.
  1. The last time you did anything idiotic in public (assuming you did; not everyone is me) were you embarrassed, or did you just shrug it off? Feel free to provide details. Or not.
  1. Name one thing about yourself that would surprise people.
  1. Favorite genre of music?
  1. Cinnamon or peppermint?
  1. What are you reading right now?
  1. What was your favorite stuffed toy as a kid? What was his/her name?
  1. Who is your favorite author?
  1. Who is your muse?
  1. If you were to come back to life as an animal, which animal would you be?
   11.  Who is your best friend and why?

Just for fun, I listed my fellow Liebster Nominees; please feel free to visit their blogs and see their responses to the questions I answered. They are probably MUCH more entertaining than I am; remember, I am the Straight Man to the World.

Michael at nouveauscarecrow
DL Shackleford at dlshackleford.com 
Kelly Hartog at kelliforniadreaming
Jen at jeneralinsanity  
Tracy Kuhn at volvodiaries
Liz Blackmore at littleboxofbooks 
Sonia Rao at soniaraowrites 
Carolyn at carolynpaulbranch
Lucy at lucysreality


And now, for my 11 choices. These are all based on blogs that have changed me in some way, given me new insight into ways we relate with one another, ideals to strive for, inspiration for when I was just so damned low and just plain funny blogs. These are also in no particular order, either. Again, Maggie, thank you so much. You rock!

3. Gina Valley @ http://ginavalley.com/
5. Aaron Brinker @ http://www.dadblunders.com/
6. Amberr Meadows @ http://www.amberrisme.com/
9. Lottie Nevin @ http://lottienevin.com/
11. Alberta Ross @ http://www.albertaross.co.uk/



12. YumaBev @ http://parkinsonshumor.blogspot.com/ * Yes, I picked a 12th. I know it's a rule-breaker, but Bev is special to us all. She's a winner at life and after having DBS (deep brain stimulation) for her PD this year, she is TODAY having surgery for breast cancer. Please pray to Zeus or Allah or God or whomever you pray to for her!



I probably chose some people who have more established blogs, and more followers and I didn't get to list as many blogs as I would so much love to be able to do. I don't want to make this post any longer than I already have, but a funny thing happened on my way to disaster and my subsequent U-turn. I learned how to live again, with meaning this time. You all helped and I thank you.