My Favorite Things

Here are a few of the things you shouldn’t leave home without.
I know, I know, you are expecting me to say, “Don’t forget your keys. Don’t forget MasterCard and Visa. Don’t forget your passport.” Nope. Oh, were you expecting me to say,

“Please, write down the names of all your pills, the doses, the number of your therapist in case you have to call, and the crisis team number in case of a psychiatric emergency.”

Please, lose all those as fast as possible. Take them off speed dial and flush ’em so far they reach the other end of the continent.

Meanwhile, here are A Few of My Favorite Things. How else does that song go? I forget, but Julie Andrews sang it, and I’m named after her, partially. Bet my brothers didn’t even know that, because they weren’t born yet. But my parents had that in mind, way  back when.

Then, of course, Mary Poppins flew in on her umbrella a few years later when Walt Disney came out with the movie, but I ain’t talkin’. The boys were just babies then. I figured I’d surprise everyone and start flying, too. If only I could plan out how to do it. That would take some fancy science set, wouldn’t it? Maybe my dad would give me one for Hanukkah. But I’d have to share it with my baby brothers now. Aw, no fun, they’d find out about flying, wouldn’t they?

Here are a few of my Favorite things:

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These are plastic buckets. You can’t get by without a few around. You need them to do laundry. I’ve always got a bucketful of laundry going. Yesterday, I left the house with a yellow shirt on, and as soon as I got into the bright sunlight, I saw an embarrassing stain on my shirt. I couldn’t see it until the sun got on me. I zipped up my jacket to hide the stain. Not that anyone could really see. I just didn’t want to look like a pauper anymore. I’m tired of that, just plain tired of giving myself away, even though I don’t think anyone gives a shit. I’m embarrassed because God sees.

I came home and took off my shirt, put together a few shirts, rubbed a bar of soap on the stain, and threw them all in a bucket with some boiling water and disinfectant. Today, I’ll hang them in the sun and soon enough, they’ll be like new again.

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These are tongs, I suppose there are other words for them, they are multiuso, that’s a word for multi-purpose in Spanish. For whatever reason, I find many items here in Uruguay dirt cheap that are multiuso. Why is that? The cheaper the more purpose? The higher purpose? The more Godly? Why does this make more sense? These can be used for food, for picking logs up off a fire in a pinch, for laundry if you are gentle about it, and for picking Puzzle’s chicken meat off of the bones when I am not in the mood for touching it. In fact, anytime I don’t want to touch something, these come in handy. I have a third pair lying around somewhere, too, and you can buy larger and larger ones too. I’ll bet God has the biggest pair imaginable for picking people off when he cares to get them off the planet pronto. Ever wonder how Deus Ex Machina REALLY works? You got it. See, I am 58 now, I know the dude’s tricks now. We writers on onto him and we’re gonna expose Heaven for the scam it is (only kidding).

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This is a firestarter, or perhaps you can light a candle in the wind with it. Or a cigarette if you wish. I prefer the green ones. These come in black, too. I won’t buy the black ones since anything black disappears before my very eyes. Just yesterday I put down my glasses and then, the fan blew them off my table and I spent the next 45 minutes searching for them. I was beginning to wonder if they’d dissolved. How can a pair of glasses be that tiny? Did they shrink? I resorted to getting down on my hands and knees and patting the floor. Be glad you weren’t here to watch. I make about a similar fool of myself losing just about everything, including my firestarting tools, just about daily. That’s why many of my belongings are these ridiculous bright colors. This is the only reliable firestarter, the rest are DOA in my opinion.

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Scissors. These two pairs I bought here. I have a kitchen pair I brought here from USA as well, but I found out you can buy the precise same make/model here. Why? They’re made in China! The orange ones (of course obnoxious and bright so I can see them) are terrific for anything and if I I keep them super clean I can use them for food even. The other ones are good for anything, even sewing. I was surprised since I figured for the low price and  the fact that they were sold in the cashier aisle, they’d be that crap you buy and then regret. Surprise! Don’t leave home without ’em.

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Brooms, dustpan and brush. I enjoy sweeping the floor and keeping it clean. When I am in the mood. Then Puzzle and I track mud and dust back in. Ah, the cycles of life.

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Guess what this is? These are wonderful, all-purpose dishcloths we got here. Nothing is better than an ordinary old cheap rag. These are made here in Uruguay and I can’t see why anyone would use anything else. They will clean anything, the floor, the counter, the walls, the dog, the kids, the bathroom, and the entire world I suppose. After that, it’s very easy to clean the rags themselves and start over again. One of these lasts and lasts and lasts. Just like me. You just can’t get rid of me, or haven’t yet. And yet we’re everywhere, aren’t we? Just don’t tell anyone, and I won’t, either.

My favorite things aren’t that big of a deal after all. You want rocket science and hocus pocus? Go to someone else’s blog. Hate to clue you in, but when you get to the end of it all, you reach an old dude who laughs at what fools we made of ourselves.

Empathy

The other day, not long ago, I went over the electric company office to cancel my old electric account I had the place I lived. Blog readers may recall I moved around January 1st, and I’ve since nicknamed my old place The Oven due to the extremely high heat I endured there. In fact, it was so hot, with 18 hours of direct sun beating down and no insulation, that I literally had to flee for my life.

I am not sure precisely which day it was that I went to the electric company. I knew this had to be done. I’d been putting it off, but I knew if I didn’t do this soon, my former neighbors would break in and turn my electricity back on, and run all sorts of appliances on my juice. I’d have to pay heavily for it. They’d done it before, they could very easily do it again. Such utility siphoning has a name in español, but I don’t recall the word. This is quite common here. You are likely to be victim of utility siphoning, yet you can safely walk the streets at 4am and not have a worry in the world.  These same neighbors maxed out my Internet as well for two months till I found the tiny button to turn off my wifi. See, life is different here. But never mind that.

I chose not to go to my local electric company office but to one in a different town, just to be on the safe side. Why? Because I was scared, at the time. I’d fled, remember? I was afraid of my former neighbors and former landlord. I didn’t want questions and I didn’t want a confrontation. I didn’t want to run into anyone I knew. Just leave me alone and buzz off.

A lovely woman sat at the electric company desk and there was no line to wait in, thank god. If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s a long line or a waiting room. Today, at this smaller branch office, no one was there, it was completely empty right now. So I used my very best Spanish to explain. I told the woman I no longer lived at the casa and I wanted the cuenta cerrada.

She understood. She needed my documento, which I had with me. For clarity, I pointed out where the number was, since sometimes folks cannot find it easily. I also pointed out the misspelling of my name on my cuenta. I had brought with me a printed copy of my last factura.  So she had to match it according to numero. I explained that I had already paid up, pago, which she could see in her computer. I told her that the company sends me an email if I owe money and then, I log in (inciar) and imprimo el factura o yo pago online. I then told her that my previous neighbors had used my electricity last winter and run an appliance, most likely an electric heater, or more than one, and the high bill had not been from my usage. I also said that no one could live at the house and I had left, yo corro rapido, for that reason.

I suppose it was the rather honest and matter-of-fact way that I stated these things, or the exhausted look on my face, or perhaps simply that this woman had heard all too many tales from people who had experienced the exact same thing from thieving neighbors and homes that simply cannot be lived in. She did not demand proof. She didn’t demand paperwork nor evidence nor prior records nor fingerprints nor witnesses. She nodded. The look of empathy and understanding at that moment was more than enough.

Dear God in Heaven, why are there not enough empathetic and understanding human beings on this planet? Here is this office worker who is, I suppose, not trained to work in the Mental Health System, probably not had much beyond psych 101, yet she had more heart and caring in her than most “staff” and most “doctors” I saw in over three decades in that System.

She listened, she heard, she asked for what I needed (to please close the account) and then, she told me she would see to it that this was done. Now when it comes to the MH System, this seemed such a daunting task. Listening, caring, and any sort of appropriate action. Too much, apparently.

Here’s an example. In fact, there are so many examples of blunders that I can pick any of them out of a hat and any will do. I’ll pick one of the funniest just to keep ya’all reading. I broke a tooth. Why? I had an eating disorder, I was in the middle of a binge and my tooth broke.

It was after hours. You can’t call a dentist after hours. I wasn’t really sure I’d broken that tooth, but I heard a crack. I had this new therapist who had just written to me, “Here’s my cell, if you have any problems, call.” How was I supposed  to know this woman was a manipulative abuser? I didn’t.  I should never have made that call. I ended up following her “advice” and before you knew it, I was at a psych emergency room. Three weeks at McLean Hospital. The whole time I was there, they told me my tooth hurt from anxiety and stuffed me with Haldol. Then, they gave me Trileptal. That turned me into a basket case for months.

Now, if I told this to a psychiatrist, he’d say, “You don’t have the authority to say that.” But wait, this is my body. Do I not have the authority to say what a drug did to me? Do I not have the authority to say I cracked my tooth and these idiot staff claimed it was “anxiety” and didn’t even listen? Yes, I do, since that was my cracked tooth. Was.

By the time the Trileptal wore off enough so I could stand up and walk to the dentist, I had to go to dental surgeon (I’m on ‘caid, remember?) he pulled five teeth in one day without putting me under. I was fine with that till I realized the cracked tooth wasn’t one of those five.

This was the weekend. Thankfully, I knew enough not to call my abusive therapist on her cell! I called the dentist because my tooth was now infected. I got back there. They looked in my mouth. Yes, with these things called eyes. They saw that my tooth was cracked.

No, the patient wasn’t “just anxious.” The tooth is cracked, doc. She’s right.

Now all that took some four or five months. Had I not been “mental patient” it would have been out in a day or two, and I wouldn’t have had five wrong teeth pulled in the process. Profiling increases the tendency to be dismissive, sorry to say. We matter less. Our earning power is lower, if anything. If they lose us, it matters less. We’re expendable. Just another mental patient. Will anyone even care? It’s less expense for taxpayers, less burden, maybe a relief, less nuisance, after all. Just sweep this one under the rug.

All that, since it was like pulling teeth to “prove” my tooth was cracked. Prove. My word was not enough. I couldn’t say “It’s cracked because I heard it crack.” Or I felt it. My word was nothing as mental patient, useless, worthless, like the unreliable narrator in literature. Yet I am highly intelligent and I guess they all forgot that. I showed up on time, I was responsible, and  as “the good patient,” you could pretty much count on me. 

After all those years, I simply got tired of it all. Tired of the role. Tired of playing the game. Tired of being the underling. I wanted equality. I wanted to be respected just like anyone else. I was tired of being looked down on. I was tired of having to back up everything I said with said “proof” since my word was nothing now.

By all means, the System needs to change, it needs to treat people like people. It needs to respect humans as humans. It needs to stop seeing patients as a subclass, as nonhumans, as non-credible. I am tired of hearing about therapists claiming “I am the exception. I don’t abuse!” because these are often the worst, most offensive abusers and boundary-violators. The ones that truly don’t abuse get out of the System fast, they are disgusted, or discouraged, or they work hard to change it, but let me tell you, it’s a tough mountain to move. I’m wondering if we need to beat it to the ground and then, build it back up again, if ever.

News Alert: Massachusetts Bans Handheld Big Macs while Driving

Really? No, they didn’t. They banned cellular telephones. You can eat a Big Mac, or stuff your face with Entenmann’s and die in a crash and no one is going to care. You will die and be buried and no one will ever know you had an eating disorder because eating disorders, apparently, don’t matter. Still.

Believe it or not, I used to think that stuff all the time. I thought, “I’ll die of my eating disorder and no one will ever know nor care. They’ll assume it was something else. Because they never listened.”

I am sitting here asking myself, “How many young people out there are wondering the same thing right now?” How many are wondering why they aren’t being listened to? How many decades will they have to wait before someone even notices? Guess how long I waited (yes I did tell them)? Thirty years!

We need to start listening before that car crash happens. Before one more person dies. Before one more person gives up hope. I’m not talking about more insurance coverage for the bogus “treatment” that’s out there. We do not need more human rights abuses nor more torture.  I’m talking about offering treatment free of force and coercion. Free of deception, free of lies and half-truths they claim are “for your own good.”  We need treatment that really works, and works the first time. No more revolving doors.

I’d design something myself, but listen: I’m 58 now. I have no money and I’m only me. If I had more money and more people to help out, then yes, I’d get something started up. Instead, I’m coming out with my book, which I hope helps many people make the decision not to waste a penny on something that very well could wreck their lives and tear their family apart.  I will demonstrate, one by one, the myths these programs and therapists taught me, and they are continuing to disseminate these myths and keep people sick. All lies.  There are no reasons to believe them anymore, since these lies hold us back from being the people we truly are. Ditch the lies and you just might get better.

A couple of tech dudes in a telefono celular shop on the omnibus line

I got my connection back. Roughly a week ago my phone died, I guess for good, though I sort of revived it to send off a swan song last night at around 3am. Bye bye XT9o7. You were nice and slick. Hello pretty white gizmo. I’m back.

It was all such an ordeal, one I don’t want to repeat. Don’t get caught like that. Don’t get unlucky. Don’t have everything go wrong all at once.  And if it does, laugh. You bet I am having a good chuckle right now.

That’s about what I told the two tech dudes as I left. I thanked them for setting up this device for me, and they even got the paperwork done, too. All I had to do was to come home, finish charging it, and connect. Here I am. Back to haunt you.

Moldy home, revisited

It’s been a while since I lived in that moldy home, a long time. Since then, I’ve heard stories about that place. I know I am not the only one who fled. The place had a long history of one renter after another who somehow, couldn’t seem to take a liking to Uruguay.  Sadly, the newcomer often concluded that something was “terribly wrong” with the whole country, and returned, shaking his head in disgust, to his home country, perhaps with his tail between his legs. “It didn’t work out.” I am so glad that didn’t happen to me.

Yes, the apartment, if that’s what it was, looked okay at first. Spacious, certainly. I was relieved that it wasn’t a high-rise, in fact, there didn’t seem to be any high-rises anywhere around. That was the last thing I wanted. I dreaded the thought of ever living in a place that resembled an institution again. No, it didn’t look like that. I lived on a dirt road that turned to mud in the winter. Lots and lots of gross mud. But that wasn’t the problem. The problem was the fog.

Yes, we had morning fog outside just like anywhere else all over the planet. I don’t mean that. I mean I had indoors fog. You could see it. Visible fog. I thought it was my imagination at first. Then, I noticed my papers were wet. I noticed after I’d left a half a pill out for Puzzle it had entirely disintegrated due to 100% humidity indoors. Yet it was not 100% humidity outdoors. I realized I couldn’t leave her half-pills out, not even for a few hours. I noticed if I took my clothes off at night and left them by my bed on a chair, they were sopping wet in the morning. When I tried to put my jacket on to go take Puzzle out, it, too, was sopping wet. Yet outside, it wasn’t all foggy and rainy, nor was it that humid. I noticed if I had a dishtowel out, if it was completely dry and hanging, it would get sopping wet all by itself.

It was also quite cold in there, in fact, it was winter and I frequently awoke to temperatures under 50 degrees indoors. To my surprise, it was sometimes colder indoors than out. I learned that high humidity in winter can make a place harder to heat, and can keep the heat from a wood stove from effectively warming an entire space. If it’s too humid, you’ll find it’s only warm around the wood stove and nowhere else.

I also noticed the inside walls were dripping wet, as if they were sweating. Could it be this bad? What’s happening? I mentioned this to the owner who told me to take vitamins for this. I told her that wasn’t the problem and tried to explain again but then I realized she was in denial that anything was seriously wrong with the house. But how could this be? Each night when I went to bed, my entire bed was sopping wet and disgusting.

After a while, within only a couple of weeks in fact, my clothes reeked, every bit of them, down to my underwear. I had to go out shopping, which embarrassed me of course since there was nothing I could wear that didn’t have that dreadful mold odor. It’s not at all the same as mildew odor, it’s ten times more disgusting. I tried to light a fire, and the wood refused to burn since it was wet, but when it finally did, it reeked and made me and my clothes smell ten times worse. Then one day I awoke to find earthworms crawling on my kitchen floor. That was the day I vowed I needed to find a new place.

My friend from abroad did some research online and confirmed: This is called moisture-lock and it’s due to faulty construction. The homes here are made of cheap building materials, not wood, which breathes. If the roof is also impermeable, then you’re in trouble. There must be plenty of windows and sun beating on the house, but not too much sun. The place I was at got no sun whatsoever, had very few windows and was completely sealed. Once the mold sets in, there is little that can remedy the situation. Most owners who rent out places like that paint the walls over again and again trying to make it look nice and cover up the ugly black marks that are clear indications of trouble. The renters never stay long. These landlords continue to get away with renting places to people who leave wondering why they were sick and miserable the entire time.

How to get out of the "I can't get anything done" phase

I was stuck in that phase for a while, and here’s how I am solving it. I assumed the problem was due to lack of any money whatsoever, lack of people who cared about the things I cared about, lack of human beings to “bounce things off of,” complete physical exhaustion, and inability to sleep at night. I suppose inability to clean house due to exhaustion contributed to it all, and I couldn’t see anything anyway. So I felt like anything I tried was falling flat. I often wrote things down on paper but lost the papers fairly quickly in the rubble called “my desk” since what I had for a desk got packed up and moved so many times, or simply thrown out. Sometimes, I’d find all my things in a huge, out-of-control pile and say, “My god, has it come to this?” I remembered my mother’s life got like this, too.

I remember just how that happened for her. She mistakenly thought that she had to print out every single email she had received. You guessed it, she printed out all the ads, all the spam, every single junk mail, and then, she believed she had to respond to all of it and then, keep these papers. I went over there and explained that it was okay to toss them, and please not print them, that email is meant to be electronic only. Poor Mom!

So I try to eliminate my own piles. I don’t have a lot, but I have some. I don’t want my life to get like that. I don’t want some well-meaning do-gooder to come in here and call me “mentally incompetent” based on a few sloppy-looking piles. The very thought of it scares the shit out of me, and actually, it scared the shit out of so many elderly people I knew that they kept their homes impeccable even though on the inside, they were a bundle of nerves, scared to death that their own families would “put them away.” My Grandma Dottie often felt that way, I knew this, not from my dad, but there was this unspoken friction between her and my mom. It was there all my life. Much had to do with economics, which embarrassed the heck out of us kids.

I do have “piles.” Do you? Do your embarrassing “piles” hold you back? Mine did, and I never realized it. Even when these weren’t quite apparent nor visible, my figurative piles held me back. I wanted to do everything for everyone, get involved with all sorts of causes. I wanted to save the whole world, but I wanted to do this in ten million different ways.

I have news for you. You can’t do that. Pick one way, or two, no more. You can’t do ten projects, or I couldn’t. This, to me, is why people who work, or people who go to school, appear more productive.  They are working on one or two projects and nothing else. So while in school, you drop all other projects and you are working on “thesis” or “degree.” If you are enjoying your studies and getting a quality education the feeling is truly awesome. If you are working on a writing project or art project, then you are engaged in that, and others need to respect this, too, just the same as they’d respect anyone else who is “at work.”

It took getting truly scared about losing my life a bit ago to dehydration from that Oven to realize I needed to pare down. Yes, I would have died there, me and Puzzle, and that, my friends, not only scared the poop out of me, but also helped me straighten out my act and I am grateful for that. What are YOU waiting for? Why wait another minute to LIVE? Why next year? Why not now?

I asked myself how much longer did I have to live…and figured I needed to get certain things done, and no more. How much longer does anyone have? Whether you are 20, or 30, or 50, or 80, it doesn’t even matter. Live. If you continue to put off your life till “someday,” or, “when I get the money,” you will not get anywhere. I had to learn that. I don’t want to die waiting for the money to come in, do you?

1. Set more realistic goals. “I want to save $1,000” sounds like too much to me. I can’t, can you? I can save a ten peso coin now and then and put that in a jar. Have you ever put pennies in jars? That’s a far cry from $1,000 USD. Get real.

2. Have goals you will take action on NOW, not someday. “I will have a great job someday” sounds nice, but unless you go apply or look for that job, or write up a nice-looking resume, you aren’t going to get close to getting that great job.

3. If there’s a challenge in your life, take action, don’t waste time “talking about it.” I cannot believe the proliferation of “support groups” and the listings of “therapists” for people with various real life problems. Many of these problems can be solved easily, but folks keep talking for years, and not taking action. Therapists are pocketing bundles of money off of your procrastination, and in fact, doing you more harm than good.

While it’s true, sometimes you do indeed need “someone to talk to,” more often, you need to stop talking and start acting, and you are using talking as just one more excuse to not live your life. How many more years are you going to spend doing that?

Another is the “work rehab” situation or “clubhouse.” For godsakes, just go get a job, don’t even waste your time in those mental health ghettos allowing the bad habits of other patients rub off on you. You don’t need “sheltered.”  I found the whole concept of “sheltered” so insulting I ran away as fast as I could. I never wanted “supported education” and found the idea insulting.

Stop beating around the bush and just go for it directly. Apply for something you can realistically obtain, not something too lofty or expensive, leaving off the unnecessary bits that will only harm you by labeling you further, such as “sheltered” and “special needs.” You’ll be glad you did.

4. Use ADA accommodations and any Welfare services as LITTLE as possible. They’ll tell you to get maximum benefits. I say, no. Take the least and leave the rest for those that need it. Think about how beautiful the concept is. Sharing, right? Those accommodations are for truly sick people, such as your grandmother who can’t climb stairs anymore, or someone who can’t see, or a child who has 12 seizures a day and cannot ride the school bus. Leave accommodations for those that truly need them. Same for benefits. I’m shocked at the number of people who used the paratransit in Boston who did not need it, or who only needed it for a few months and then, renewed it illegally and milked it for years. To me, that’s stealing from those that truly need that service, and it’s disrespectful as well. I knew folks who milked the food stamp system, too. Why steal from others? Why fake a disability for the benefits? Use as few as possible.

I had to learn how to re-story the whole Welfare idea many times in my life. A huge theme for me for decades was the struggle between my parents and the State. Who would win? If my parents were to pay my way, this meant they got picky over every penny. I got sick of that fast, plus it embarrassed me once I got much past 21 or so. Because psychiatry insisted I was “incapable,” what was I to do for money? The struggle between “ward of my parents” and “ward of the State” was a constant battle for me. Is it a battle for you, too? For me, leaving the country sure blew that one out of the water. Not only that, I showed everyone I sure didn’t need psychiatry nor therapy in my life.

5) Okay, this is the last one. Number 5. Now that you have pared it down to immediate and workable goals, and only one or two you are to do RIGHT NOW (and I expect you to hop to it immediately), if the goal will take more than a day, decide how much can be done REALISTICALLY just today. Now, write down what you will do. Go for it, okay? Afterward, tell me about it and congratulate yourself. Tomorrow, do it again, but let’s worry about that tomorrow.

No phone no internet, third week of this….

I went to “free wifi” yesterday because I wanted to participate in an important conference regarding the upcoming FDA decision to downgrade the ECT machine as “safe and effective” for depression. Unfortunately, “free wifi,” being what it is, crapped out on me entirely. There was no signal at all. I couldn’t get anything, not even Facebook. No signal, nothing. Nada. I gave up and came home. Yes, the signal had worked fine in the morning but not when I really needed it. Sometimes it works, sometimes it’s too slow, and sometimes it’s broken down. That’s free wifi for you. It’s free. You aren’t paying for it. It is a gift. I don’t feel I have any reason to complain about what I have already taken that I hadn’t paid for to begin with, do you? Of course not! It’s a free service to those who need it, let’s not be picky here. Life isn’t perfect, and I”m not either.

I’m done being picky. I used to be, but now, I’m not. See, people can change. I used to be picky about type of coffee I drank. If you remember me from long ago, you remember this. Now, no. I don’t give a poop. If there are grounds in my coffee I filter it again. I have some “instant” lying around, too, but I don’t drink it. It’s just hanging around. Know what it’s for? Mixing with yogurt on occasion. Around here, all the coffee has sugar added to it. I can’t have sugar. I really can’t because it causes muscle cramps, bad ones in my fingers, toes, legs, etc. So I buy the only brand I can find that has no added sugar, which is Café Señor. I buy the 500 gram bag because right now it is cheaper than the 250 gram bag. That’s not always the case. There is a cheaper brand called Casino which I haven’t seen in stores for over six months now. I buy the fuerte stuff. I cannot afford to be fussy anymore. I don’t complain either. Did I say I was miserable? No, I love my morning coffee very much, I am happy to drink it and I’m thrilled to enjoy it with Puzzle by my side. I am thrilled to enjoy it in freedom without the nagging of shrinks and nagging therapists and policing in those psych residences and on psych units where it wasn’t even allowed, and nagging social media, nagging pop health articles out there, and nagging, well-meaning “friends” claiming it’s bad for you. It is a joy to me to know that it isn’t. It’s a joy to me to know that it is not true that “coffee kills your organs.” Coffee isn’t what killed my thyroid, lithium did. I don’t drink tons of it daily, i only have a small cup, and if that’s a sin in your book, then remember, it was your choice to read my blog and it’s your choice to feel offended by my personal life choices.

Facebook is a totally mixed bag. I like the practicality of the “I tried this and it worked” type advice but I hate the “my opinion is that you suck, Julie” type commentary. It seems that you cannot get one without getting the other as well. The two faces of Facebook. You get the good and the yucky. We like you but we will slam the door if we don’t like your flaws. We love you, rather conditionally. We love you but we’re racists, very nice racists, so it’s our type of love. Of course we’re nice racists, we love certain races, see. We’re loving.  We love winners of the race. Which race? The right race. If your Face is a certain color we love you, otherwise you are a terrorist, subhuman monster, mental case, etc…..You are better off being a dog or kitten. You will be found by a humane society and treated with kindness and you have rights on there.

Speaking of which, I had to get on Facebook to find out the call-in number to get to the conference. So I did. I got onto Facebook only to find demeaning criticism from a so-called “friend.” You know, those folks that don’t know you but meet you on Facebook. They butt into your business and then decide they are offended by the way you “feel,” or, rather, telling you how they assume you feel, and then, criticizing you for it. Folks, I’m done with that. I can state any opinion I want. If another person doesn’t like it, what are they doing on my page? Has this person walked in my shoes? No! Has this person been through what I have been through? No! What is she doing putting me down like that?

She was wrong in her assumption, first of all. There’s no reason for me to waste any further time with her and people like her. Not even to correct her. Not to argue back, nothing. These folks need to get off my page.  I used to think: I should get off Facebook to avoid this nonsense. However, there are folks on there who are mighty appreciative of my work and want to stay in touch. For practical reasons, they prefer the Facebook medium. Much as I hate it, I stay on, but really, it’s a drag with all the “friends of friends” type bullying on there. From what I hear, other social media is far worse.

It’s just a time-waster dealing with this. As soon as I get on Facebook I’ll see to it that future posts aren’t visible to her, including this post. That’ll stop the demeaning criticism from her. I figured this one out and would suggest it to anyone out there. The person isn’t notified. I don’t give a poop if she reads this. To do this, you find that tiny icon next to the post and click on it regarding post visibility. You don’t have to do anything fancy with “privacy settings” which is a pain, frankly, and with slow connections you’ll find none of that loads anyway. What you’ll find is that you’ll get a pop-up asking if you want all future posts to match that one, to me invisible to that person (and to anyone else that you’ve made your posts invisible to for whatever reason). Do you? Si o no? And in a few months, Facebook will change all their privacy policies and completely confuse us all over again.

I came home. I know now I need a new cellular telephone and want to get one from the Antel company. Which brand and model I need to determine. I want to log onto their webpage when free wifi is functioning. I am told that Antel offers decent internet sticks that others have been pleased with. So I got that advice on Facebook, which again, I find distasteful and a time-waster. I assume at some point the free wifi will again be functional. Or I hope.

Meanwhile, I cleaned house. I realized I really like it at this house. This is the first place I have truly liked since 2008. Since the day I set foot in Woodland Towers September 3, 2008 and said to myself, “Oh my God, I live HERE?” Yep, that’s what I said. I looked at the place and realized that somehow, my life was going to be hell there. I don’t know how I knew. But I knew. No, this wasn’t a self-fulfilling prophecy. The place turned out to be very bad indeed. It was quite different from 100 Warren Street, I found out. I was there a few weeks and the gal down the hall moved out.  I saw her all pissed off, leaving in a huff. I asked myself why she would give up her housing subsidy. Of course now I know. Within days, I heard the “sneezer” next door. I got all sorts of demeaning criticism online for not “feeling sorry” for her. From folks who didn’t have to listen to 40 loud sneezes per hour. How sound-proof were the walls and how much of my phone conversations could be overheard? I knew I had to shout on the phone to my mother. Was that overheard? Those phone conversations with my mom, shouting conversations due to her increasing deafness, became more and more awkward. Meanwhile, my hallway was so public there on the bottom floor that so many used as a cut-through. Great life I had in VERY PUBLIC public housing. That was the first month or two of that crap. It only got worse. Far worse.

My house here where I right now is the best place I’ve had since then, by far. Privacy privacy privacy. I don’t have to live in a low-income high-rise designated for elderly people (which I am still not).  No screaming kids! No adults beating their kids or beating their wives. No cops monitoring the place night and day, no ambulances coming and going…that’s a thing of the past from USA that I don’t have to deal with anymore. No drunks outside. No bars next door. No parties nearby. There’s a party place nearby but far away enough so that it’s not too loud here.

Please, if you ever, ever move to Uruguay, and rent or buy a place, ASK around, “Are there loud parties or loud bars or loud carnivals nearby?” You will need to also specify “During tourist season, are there loud bars or loud music?” You may think you don’t mind these things, but this music is ungodly loud, it’s like nothing you’ve ever heard, and they will go on and on till like 4am or longer. It’s not like you can walk up to these party places and tell them to “turn it down.”  Just don’t move near loud music or you will be sorry. Find out first and move to a place where there are no loud parties and no loud music because you’re really never heard the likes of this. I ordered earplugs which finally arrived, by the way, only to find that these foam things don’t seem to stay in my ears at all. I think I need to order real ones from real ear doctor specialty places in USA. Not the el cheapo ones I got that took two months to get here. As for the ones you buy here, they’re for swimming pools, not for noise. The idea of noise-canceling is a non-concept here. Folks here only want more noise. They even shout and scream along with the loud music. So don’t even ask. Very few locals find noise unpleasant, though I can tell you I have found a few that feel the same as I do, folks who enjoy peace and quiet and like things to stay that way.

Meanwhile, I got stuff to do. I cleaned house this morning. I got more writing to do. I have pared down my projects. I am excited about the ones I got left to do. I am going to concentrate on those and little else. I am rather appreciative of the NICE people in my life and choose to ignore the not-so-nice folks. I choose to ignore them simply because life is too short to waste time dealing with not-so-niceness. Why even bother? Be thankful that there is kindness on the planet and stick with the ones that believe in you.

No, I'm not suffering, are you?

If anyone assumes I am “suffering from angry feelings,” you assume wrong. Much of the time, I have a good time these days. I laugh a lot. I make many little mistakes during the day such as putting things in the wrong place. I enjoy laughing over such things, enjoying myself, since I then can correct my silliness and put things back right.

Sure, I’m pissed. But I’m having fun. I don’t particularly mind being pissed and I’m not tormented over it. I’m not suffering at all. I’m not depressed and I’m not full of angst. I enjoy my feelings. I enjoy negative and positive feelings. I appreciate them and find them beautiful. I find much of my anger justified anyway. I never feel pissed off out of the blue. Why would I? Pissed at Puzzle? Why? She’s only 7kg or so, how can I be pissed at her? Pissed at God? Of course! We don’t know who God is, just let me be as pissed as Job was at whoever the hell that entity is. I’m having a good time, and besides, being pissed at God makes a great joke.

I love talking to God. Hey God, come and get me! Come clobber me! Think up something original next time! You blew it last time!

Did I tell you  guys I was hit by a drunk driver the other day? Yep, I was. I will save that one for another entry. I wonder if the drunk even remembers. Maybe in 30 years he’ll walk into an Alcoholicos Anonimos (I think that’s the spelling) and say, “I was so drunk I thought I hit a lady but I wasn’t sure.” The whole room will laugh and laugh and drink free mate. I can’t imagine free coffee will bring in many drunks round here, do you?

Update

Trying to get by on “free wifi” is not working out at all. Today I went over there early and the signal was functioning fine. I came back home around lunchtime. At home, I worked on the ECT document offline. I ate and cleaned house. Then, I decided maybe I needed to charge up my devices while tending to a few more last-minute chores before heading out to a conference call on the upcoming FDA ruling on the ECT device. The decision to downgrade the safety level is our main concern. We feel this should not be done. We are focusing on the arbitrariness of the use of ECT, that is, the decision that a person’s depression (or bipolar depression) is so “severe” and the need to treat quickly is so urgent that the only option is ECT. As I see it, and as most see it, these are not only vague, impossible to determine, and also, I personally believe that both are not dependent on the what’s intrinsic to the individual but to the financial needs of the institution.

So I worked on that a while. I had a power outage just before going back to free wifi. I got there well in time to connect. Then, once I tried to connect, I found I simply couldn’t. The signal was too weak. In fact, it died on me entirely and I had to leave.

In the midst of all that, another person insulted me on Facebook again. The only reason I logged in was to get the call-in information for the conference call. And there was her rotten remark which was based on a few posts of mine she’d seen. Honestly, people who don’t know me should not be judges of my character based on a few posts. I don’t respect that nor do I judge other people’s character that way, nor leave them demeaning remarks like that. I simply don’t. I cannot waste my time putting other people down. Life it too short to waste time like that. And frankly I don’t need to waste brain space worrying about it, but truthfully, I don’t like seeing stuff like that. I find it unpleasant. Just like music played way too loudly. I can do without it. You know, you hear that, you walk away and don’t have to put up with it. If you’re at a bar and it gets too loud, leave. I was in a store the other day and saw some nice stuff, but no way was I going to stay there since the musica was too loud. I thought it was a bad sales decision, but perhaps others don’t mind.

If I can walk away from such nasty Facebook remarks, I do. I think I have figured out how to make sure future posts are not seen by this person. Yes, you can do that. This will ensure no more nasty remarks from her. This wasn’t the first time I have heard this, and I don’t want to be her friend anymore, not that I ever was.