Local taxes?

I just got something about “local taxes” from some company called Berkheimer. I have never heard of them and I don’t know why I should trust them. At first, I was sure it was a scam. Now I am less sure. Apparently if I live here, no matter what, I have to pay the city. So why did no one tell me this, if it’s true?

Now my water is so bad I can’t drink it and yet, I have to pay a huge water bill that is higher than my heating bill! Now they’re asking for taxes.

Has anyone ever heard of this? I’ve never heard of a non-homeowner having to pay local taxes. Never, never in my sixty PLUS years of life. I thought the homeowner has to pay them, and my rent contributes to the taxes he or she pays.

A quick look at my locality’s website tells me I owe under $10, that this is a general tax they charge all residents. I’ve never heard of this and I’m wondering if it was really that vital, why on earth did my landlord not tell me? This is highly unusual to have to pay something like this.

Among other annoyances, my home is being sold and they keep “inspecting” the place. This is such a privacy violation…I just hate it. They are not even done yet. Hate it so badly…if they give me much more trouble, I will threaten to move out.

My lease is good till September. I could, conceivably, move out at that time. I’d have to hire movers, though, since I don’t know anyone who could help me out. Problem is, the next place could suck badly. What if I ended up with noisy neighbors, or ones that disturbed my peace and quiet? When you are a tenant you don’t know what you’re getting yourself into.

Part of me wants to hang onto this place here. Part of me wants to own my own place. I should be able to afford to do so. But what can I afford? I don’t want to buy a place where the neighbors are so close you can hear every word they say. Or ones that party right next to me. Ick. Or noisy teenagers. Teens are really the worst because they blast boom-boxes all over the neighborhood. Some of them scream, too. I used to hear the screaming teens on the buses in Boston. It was so shrill I felt like my ears would snap off. If they screamed like that here they would be kicked off the bus.

What about a trailer, or a pre-fab? I would buy the land and then, put the home on it. Some of those pre-fabs are really nice, and they’re cheaper than the usual homes you see. I’ve contacted a few pre-fab companies. Oddly, they never call me back. It’s odd, also, that the real estate people I have called mostly don’t bother calling me back, either.

why don’t doctors use common sense? Common sense cure for iron deficiency

Use Cast Iron Cookware as an Iron Deficiency Treatment

We knew about this back in the 1970s!  You can use any cast-iron pan! I have a cast-iron baking pan, a little one. I enjoy cooking a baked apple in it for breakfast and I am not anemic.

Common sense!

Distance, or speed? Which will it be?

I asked myself the other day whether I should aim to run further, or run faster. Which is better? Which is more advantageous? Which is healthier and safer for an older person?

I have already concluded that sprinting can cause injury. Sudden starting and stopping might take your muscles by surprise, and your heart, too. Very experienced runners likely know how to avoid sprinting injuries. I have never tried sprinting except by accident, that is, having to run fast because a speeding car is headed my way. I recall one time a car nearly hit me, a few years back in Pittsburgh, I actually froze in place. I froze and screamed. I was very lucky the car managed to stop without hitting me. A witness (bus driver) told me he had seen the whole thing and said the car was driving through the intersection illegally. That particular intersection is notorious for such antics.

That aside, most of the time when I run it is planned. I have been running 5k regularly but realize I need a greater challenge. I consulted my running friend who told me to go for distance. I paid close attention to his reasoning. He said to increase distance and speed will naturally follow.

Now I have to think about this for a minute. Which is better, to do one thing very very well, or to learn many things but because you have widened your experience, sacrifice expertise in that one thing?

Which is better, to try out a variety of entry level positions, become a master of more trades, or to stick with one position and rise in the ranks?

We likely know people who have chosen the narrower path, to learn everything they can about one single topic and then become experts in that one thing and one thing only. Some PhD programs are like this, while others stress a well-rounded education. Even at the bachelor’s level we can see students focusing on only one academic endeavor, excluding others. I remember when I was a music major at UMass/Amherst it was like that. A good 90% of my classes were music classes. We had our little cliques, too. We talked music, used our jargon, joked about music, and for the most part, had one-track minds.

People majoring in other fields weren’t so narrow in their academic focus as we were. I remember meeting people who studied economics, “poly sci,” or other topics, and they questioned why I only talked music, why I was so immersed in it…as if this was somehow abnormal or unnatural at the bachelor’s level. I didn’t think there was anything wrong with it at all!

Shall I focus on getting my 5k faster, shall I work on longer distances? I decided to heed my runner friend’s advice, or at least try it out for a while. So yesterday I ran 4 miles instead of 5k.

Likewise, I’m rather proud of myself because I have widened my career path. I am learning how to do IT tech support and also now financial support for customers, in addition to my retail job. Now I can add these to my resume, add stripes to my uniform.

One of the main reasons I did this was for job security. Spread out thin between part-time jobs I know I will always be working one or the other. If any of these contracts falls through I am still employed.

Agreeably, it should be my 20s right now. It is truly the start of my career, which I was deprived of when I was a patient. I’m okay with that, actually. There are advantages to being older at the workplace, advantages I never realized until I finally got hired.

I had the opportunity to think this over while I was on the treadmill just yesterday. How joyful it is knowing my life is just beginning. It is amazing having all these doors to opportunity open to me. Why would I want it any other way?

Basic problems with the Ticket to Work program

I only know one person who took advantage of this program, got hired, and ditched her benefits for good. I know a few others who got jobs, but only worked part-time, or for substandard pay, and eventually stopped working due to overall discouragement.

The problem with the Ticket to Work program is the overall assumption that “benefits” are a positive thing that should be pushed on people indefinitely. Are SSDI and the rest of the handouts actually benefits, or are they really hindrances?

The ticket to work program encourages people to work and keep their benefits. I keep wondering why this is the goal, instead of working, making a substantial, livable income, and getting off the benefits totally. So long as the safety net of benefits is there, people will continue to take advantage of that net being there and continue to fall back into it.

The thing that really sucks about the program is that when you get hired through them, the employer knows you’re disabled. This is going to lead to “special” treatment on the job, legal or not, just because you’re seen this way. Imagine having your coworkers and even the public know that you’re the token disabled person in the workplace. It’s not a good foot to start off on.

The Ticket to Work program hands you free job counseling, free pampering while on the job. Some people get free transit (what? Another mental health van?). What’s worse, you have the privilege of keeping Medicare for the next eight years….

All this isn’t very encouraging. If you have the Medicare handed to you, you’re deprived of the responsibility of finding health insurance for yourself, or the privilege of going without insurance and paying the tax penalty. If they drive you to your job, you’re deprived of the responsibility to get yourself to work on time every day.

People with disabilities who manage to find substantial work shouldn’t be on disability. Period. If you can work you very well may be disabled, but you are not disabled in a way that means you should get extra payments coming in from Uncle Sam.

I know a few people who work and need assistive technology to do certain tasks. By all means assistive technology should be more widely available, not only to people who do paperwork to prove they are disabled, but to anyone out there.

I don’t think we should have this delineation between “disabled” and everyone else, anyway. I think the notion of “applying” for these benefits and having to get evaluated by a doctor to somehow “prove” you’re disabled is hogwash.

Every single human being has limitations. We all do, whether we want to believe it or not. We’re human!

How many out there can see without glasses? Glasses are assistive technology. Look how many people take advantage of this amazing technology and are now productive members of society! The wheelchair is another amazing invention that helps people ambulate.  These inventions changed the world!

Are you an auditory learner? Handbooks and work manuals used to be all text. Now, most workplaces use this technology called video. Video is another technology that caters to people who have poor reading comprehension or just don’t like to read. That said, when we have had a new video lesson to watch at work I find it tedious to sit there and watch those darned things. I try to request a text version. Those of us non-auditory learners are losing our ground as far as I am concerned. However, if you look at the rate of illiteracy in our country (about 50%!) it’s kind of understandable why employers love video, annoying as it is.

When you think about it, workplaces already cater to the middle ground, or more commonly, it’s more like No Worker Left Behind. They will hire a bunch of people supposedly based on experience and knowledge, and then they’ll bend over backwards to cater to those that aren’t quite experienced or knowledgeable enough. It’s just a little odd when you realize they’re covering all their bases. My new workplace is actually going to robo-call me on Saturday to remind me to show up on Monday. Huh? Yep, they assume we don’t have enough sense of responsibility to show up without a kick in the butt.

All this ends up being a huge time-waster during work training. If the workplace hires people, for instance, based on computer knowledge, then it is truly exasperating to those of us who are qualified for these jobs to be trained alongside people who do not know basic things like how to copy-and-paste. But maybe I have fallen prey to a little bit of arrogance here.

Every single person has limitations. At the same time, every person is capable. I don’t think there should be any separation of the privileged (or disadvantaged) group that has disability paperwork. Why should the piece of paper make any difference?

I think the paperwork holds people back. Those that are “beneficiaries” have to follow rules that others do not have to follow, just to continue the bribery payments. This may include limiting how much you earn, just so you stay “qualified.” You are handed pamperers, too.

I suspect the hand-holding backfires. Think of the overprotective parent. The hovering parent provides a constant safety net for the child. The parent provides the fall-back, but what is that really saying?

“I don’t trust you to live without me.” “I don’t see you as capable of independence.” “You will always need me.” The hand-holding is insulting, tiring, manipulative, and sends a very strong signal to the child to lapse into incapability. Why? To please the clinging parent!

This is exactly the message of the Ticket to Work program. I think they had great hopes for the program but statistically, more and more people are getting on disability, and still, after all these years, very few get off of it.


Moderated off MIA

Good morning!

Here is a comment of mine that was moderated off MIA.

“Hello! I agree with many of the comments here. MIA has a wide visibility and a huge number of site visitors. This is great because more and more people are able to see the truth and possibly reconsider their participation in the Mental Health System. For those who are discouraged or traumatized by their MH experience, MIA provides hope, because folks who have been abused or otherwise harmed will know that they are not alone. MIA also provides a voice for a few survivors to be able to tell their stories, but really not enough of that.

Most people I know personally want to see more survivor stories published in MIA. They want to see survivors as the main voice here, instead of seeing repeat articles by MH professionals.

It makes no sense, now that we have been harmed by MH professionals, that they should be upheld in ANY way as experts. I don’t think MH professionals should be the main voice here, but sadly, they are. This has caused me to lessen my time spent on MIA.

I think the podcast courses should be taught by survivors. Many of us have teaching and presenting experience and there’s no reason why survivors should be excluded from the faculty. There are topics that could be covered that ONLY a survivor would be qualified to teach. Sadly, this is overlooked.

Furthermore, SOME survivors were told that they are limited to four “personal stories” only, while others seem to have free reign here and are publishing far more (dozens). This favoritism is very obvious to all of us. I first pointed it out over a year ago (and I was practically called paranoid as MIA editors flatly denied it!) and since then many people have contacted me telling me they agree, and are discouraged because of this favoritism. I don’t think MIA can deny it any longer. It feels like banging on a brick wall, just pointless to keep arguing. For this reason I have turned my attention away from MIA and really do not spend much time on here.


At first, the entire comment was taken down. Now Steve has written to me and said he would post the comment except for the last paragraph. Oddly, he has agreed with me privately! He doesn’t know why some MIA authors are limited to four articles and others get published dozens of times over. He had never heard of the “four article only” spiel, either. Apparently only a few of us were told that! I have the emails where Emmeline specifically told me four only, several times.

The comment is my own intellectual property and I have the right to post it anywhere I choose.

I wrote back to Steve and told him that the fact that they moderated my comment off is silencing. Voices of dissent are not allowed. Steve even told me there were OTHER dissenting comments that got moderated off.   I told Steve I was not going to be participating in MIA anymore. I told him I am going to try not to be tempted back this time.

I am not the only one who has left, disgusted, and moved on to other things.

So they said I couldn’t do it, eh?

I can hardly believe that years ago, my therapist ordered me not to run. She also told me I couldn’t walk, either. Only take a cab, she said. Talk about insanity! What a control freak she was.

I think of Maria every time I go running. I remember what a manipulator she was. She had this little way of making you feel guilty every time you “disobeyed” her. She acted like the Savior on High.

Last time I went running I was rather proud of my 5k time. 36:02. Those darned two seconds…Oh well. Today I beat that record. 35:27. I keep asking myself, should I go further, or faster? I’m not sure. 5k seems like such a short distance now. Just a hop, skip, and jump.

I have to laugh at all those who claimed I couldn’t do it. Claimed I wouldn’t survive without drugs and therapy. Good riddance to the old life, I say! Running on the treadmill feels fabulous these days. I keep thinking that stuff while I beat the heck out of the treadmill, realizing it’s all over now. All done. Gone, and out of my life. I don’t ever, ever, ever have to go back now.  It feels so, so good!