Ohio residents (and anyone) please take note of these TWO petitions, sign both!

I wasn’t aware that there are two of these! MoveOn and Care2.  Please sign both:


Here is the Care2 petition, please sign also!


Please tell EVERYONE you know who is an Ohio resident about these!  Thanks!

City Girl Learns Fire

New fire, old fire.

Old fire: fire upon. New fire: I use it. I make it. I own it. It warms me and dries my clothes when they are wet.

No one monitors my heating usage or criticizes me for taking up too much of society’s resources, or tells me that because I am poor I am not worthy. No one has my heating usage hooked up to a computer so as to ensure I don’t use any more than what I am entitled to as “poverty-stricken” adult. Here, we are all human.

I learned to make my own fire. I have my own wood stove. It’s a small one, and I’m told, “cute.” I will supply a photo.


There’s an art to making fire. It’s not hard to master. I wash clothes when I have a fire so as to use it to its potential. Here are my clothes in the wash, red clothes in a red bucket.

Here’s my front door, in daylight:


Here is my street:

My street

Here is the Rambla at sunset. The Rambla is the street that runs by the ocean.

Beach, view from la Rambla

Here is Puzzle. Happy.

Puzzle in chair
Puzzle in chair

The two of us. Happy.

Puzzle and Julie
Puzzle and Julie


Lost on the streets of Atlántida

I woke up Friday morning at my new place here, and decided I’d take Puzzle out for a quick walk, bring her home and feed her, then get more stuff done. Puzzle was eager to go out and explore our new neighborhood.

So out we went, me and Puzzle. I used the leash I have that ties around my waist. It was a typical May morning here. The humidity is always high and the roads are full of brightly-colored mud. Most are unpaved. It’s pedestrian-oriented here, unlike anyplace I’ve ever been in the yooooo esssss.

So let me explain that part. Walk down any street in the yooooo esssss, anywhere I’ve been, and if you don’t move fast enough you will get shoved by a rude pedestrian telling you just how stupid you are. You’ll get honked at by a car that thinks you are impeding them as they are in such a rush. A pedestrian is an offense in the yoooo esssss.

Not here. Pedestrians are everywhere. Who are we? Ordinary people getting by. Most can’t afford a hunk of metal that takes them somewhere and makes lotsa noise. So the whole place is built for walking on foot. We’re not only tolerated, we’re to be expected and cherished.

Not far from my home is a footbridge taking people safely across the highway. The highway is called the Interbalnearia, Interbal, or IB for short. I don’t know how to say “IB” in Spanish, but finally I have learned Interbalnearia. It took me a long time. I’ve been here about a week now so I know more than I did before.

Next to me is a hardware store that I assumed only sold lighting fixtures. I walked in there yesterday and discovered it’s a wonderful hardware store with friendly people working there who will get you anything you need. I bought a lightbulb. Before selling it to me, the guy stuck it into a socket to make sure he wasn’t selling me a dud. Where can you find service like that in the yooooo esss? In most stores, they tell you it’s “your problem” if you buy a broken item. You can return it but meanwhile, you’ve got broken merchandise. I went home with my lightbulb and felt damn good.

Anyway, back to last Friday, my first full day here. No sooner than I had stepped out and suddenly, all the streets looked alike and I had no clue how to get home! Many streets do look alike here. I’d told myself to look for a large bin, but these are trash bins and they are everywhere (and no one yells at you for using them, either, they are for EVERYONE!). I thought I lived near a yard with barking dogs, but everywhere there were barking dogs because Puzzle and I were passing by. A yard here isn’t a yard without a dog, or, rather, many dogs.

So imagine: I still know so little Spanish. I couldn’t ask for directions. How? I didn’t know what street I lived on, either. They are numbered like so: “Calle xx” xx being a number. I had no map and my American cell wasn’t getting reception because it took a while to get it working. It’s still not working perfectly.

I’d been walking an hour, then two hours, still looking for home. Four hours later it wasn’t a joke anymore. I was thirsty! All I could think of was water. Food, too, but water was at a critical point. Another hour passed and I was still lost and getting concerned that I’d be spending the night in the street. It’s too cold for that. I wouldn’t have survived even holding onto Puzzle for warmth. I had only American money. No local currency at all. I got to a wifi place and phoned my friend in the yoooo essss, one of the few who knows I moved.

She told me at this point, I needed to flag down a car. I didn’t want to do this because of my psych history. I was scared that it would be assumed I was speaking “word salad” and I’d be sent to some nuthouse. I’ve since learned this wouldn’t have happened. The fear was there, though, and very real to me at the time. I wasn’t going to ask a cop for directions, either.

Finally, I was fatigued so much that I could no longer walk. It seemed fruitless to spend energy walking around anymore.anyway. I found a place to sit. I began to ask myself how I would survive after dark. I tried not to cry.

I was able to connect to a person I know here, the person I am renting from. At one point she told me very simple directions how to get home, but I took a wrong turn. Again, lost, I sat down. I wanted to lie down, actually. I needed rest, food, and above all, water. I knew Puzzle was getting hungry, too, and would need water as well.

My precious phone minutes ran out. Skype still worked, though. My yoooo essss friend reassured me but I wonder what she really thought. I knew she was busy at work.

Last I knew, the person I am renting from said she was coming to pick me up, but I had no clue if I had properly described where I was. I have no clue how long I waited but finally decided that she’d passed by and most likely didn’t even see me, as I wasn’t wearing the same jacket I wore the day before.

I told myself I would try to get home. Maybe I had enough strength to do this. I’d been sitting in the same place for at least 20 minutes, so I had had enough rest.

The whole time, where I’d been sitting was only a block from home. I found it. Eureka. I opened the door and everything was where I’d left it. I’d left home at 8:30 and finally found my way at 3. An ordinary sunny day. Long fucking walk.

Scary words

Words that scare me


I can think of a bunch more. All those diagnoses, the sound of them frightens me because the whole idea of psych treatment makes me sick. It has helped hardly anyone, and it has killed so many people. It took the life of many of my dear friends, and ruined many other lives.

When I hear, “What is your problem?” I politely excuse myself and say “No, sorry to disturb you, I was looking for something else. I’m fine.” I smile and act polite. And run away as soon as I can!

If someone asks, “Why are you nervous?” I feel fear inside, hearing that horrible word. But I don’t let the my feelings show. I say, “Oh, I just dropped from my purse, sorry to disturb you.” I pretend to be fishing for something in there.

Once, someone told me quite out of the blue that maybe I was nervous so I should take a vitamin. Really? I didn’t say anything. I thought to myself that this was like telling me to take a fucking Ativan, only in translation. I got away fast from this pill-pusher attitude. I wasn’t nervous anyway. I was rather uncomfortable about the whole thing.

Oh, here’s something I’ll bet you hate, too. “Constructive feedback.”

That’s crap. It ain’t gonna be constructive. That’s almost a guarantee. It’s almost always wicked hurtful and offensive. The question, “May I give you constructive feedback?” means “I am about to insult you very badly but I need different words for it, to make an excuse for my disrespect.” So if I’m asked that question I tell the person by all means such “feedback” isn’t welcome, and I won’t allow them to slam me with their insults. It always works.

Except in a class. Then, I know the “feedback” is educational and not a comment on what they think of me as a person. Or so we hope.

Written a few days before leaving Watertown…for good

And I quote:

“AS I AM LEAVING” posted as a draft in my other blog…never published…or not yet.

I am writing this on May 9th, knowing that before long, I won’t be here.  It is a sad place.  I lived here for nearly six years. Soon, it will all be only a memory.  I wonder if I should photograph anything, but it looks like I’ve trashed the place, so I’m not sure if this is how I want to remember.  This is what happens when you leave in a rush, and in secret.  It’s too hard to keep my belongings orderly.

I have felt calm about it all for the most part, knowing this is the right thing.  I have met others who have run away, much as I am.  They have good reason to do so.  Usually, the reason is persecution.

My ancestors left the Old World in a hurry.  I know now how it felt. There’s only so much you can bring.  To say goodbye seems irrelevant.  You just know you have to do this.

I have been through photographs and cried over some.  Old documents, too.  Objects found that had been misplaced or forgotten over the years.  People departed or dead.  But I am alive.

I hold tight onto Puzzle and I am promising her that soon, we will have a better life.  Our first plane leaves in only a few days.  Then, Thursday morning, I will step off another plane, through customs, and then, the open.  Our new land, for the first time.”

Please sign this petition to help stop forced drugging for our friends in OHIO!

I feel strongly about this.  Please sign and share!



I’ve been busy, folks, but I am certainly around!


Travelers come here.  I wish I knew Spanish better.  A man comes up to Puzzle.  His accent sounds Eastern European, but I’m not sure.  He speaks to Puzzle partially in his language, and in part, English.  He’s had one or two, but he’s not drunk.  He wears a lucky charm around his neck, a type I’ve seen before.  He says to me, and to Puzzle,

“She feels, she feels.”  And then, I know what he is saying, so I say to him,

“Yes, I know.”

Puzzle knows too.  Hard times.

The man is gone now.  He was my age.  I am sad for him.

We are all traveling, I want to say to him.  I want to cry for so many people right now.   People without homes especially.

Four walls does not make a home.  Even if you’ve paid rent.

A home without privacy is not a home.  It can be a temporary home, but I KNOW from experience that lack of privacy wears on you.  After a time, you will know you cannot stay in such conditions.

Does the Hierarchy of Needs include basic privacy and respect?  You can go only so long.

God bless us, everyone. We WILL survive.


worn out, lying down to get rid of swelling in ankles….

So this has been going on for a couple of days now.  Total exhaustion and if I stay up for too long, my ankles swell so badly it hurts to walk.  So I am working lying down right now.  I’ve got my feet elevated.

Puzzle is lying at the foot of my bed.  What do you think she’d do if I used her for a footrest?  My guess is that she’d decide she wasn’t fond of it.  My footrest would walk away.  Guess I should use one that doesn’t have feelings and dignity of its own.  Hm…Lord knows I’ve been stepped on enough myself.

I will get up in a bit. I got stuff to do. I may or may not get the radio broadcast done this weekend but I sure hope to!

Julie and Puzzle

What’s the ratio: how many jerks, how many really nice people?

What do you think?  They told me when I was a kid that all humans were good.

Most religious institutions consider it a bad no-no to disagree.  People are good and we are supposed to never, ever question this.

Guess what?

I disagree!

Yep, I think the world is full of humans, tons of them, who are just trying to survive.  Bad and good doesn’t apply, and there’s nothing moral about humanness. I don’t believe we’re wonderful, either.  I’ve seen too much cruelty to be so naive.

I won’t call anyone an asshole, but most folks act like assholes at times.  I do.  Everyone has their moments. But to assume everyone’s good and has good intentions, forget it.

I’ve found that I get along with maybe 1% of people and find them tolerable and easy to get along with.  In fact, they are AMAZING!  Why? Because they’re nice enough to give me a chance.  Most don’t bother.  The 1% are being considerate. They’re aware that I was buried in the MH system and still need to get my bearings in regular, non-instititutional society.

I can’t expect myself to walk out of years of institutionalization and suddenly, poof! instantly know how to do PR stuff. Are you kidding?  I’m used to being told what to do, and never being allowed to make a decision for myself.  Now, suddenly here I am.

I love those of you who are tolerant of my boo-boos.  It’s kinda like when someone is an immigrant from a faraway land, and comes to this country not knowing our language.  We can’t expect the person to conjugate all verbs correctly or to know every figure of speech in an instant.  So we are tolerant. Or the nice ones are. When a person is mean to me, it’s often because they’ve never lived in my shoes.

It’s sad that so few are being tolerant.

I’ll be fine, though.

Julie and Puzzle