I’m still here.

22 02 2022

It’s been a long time since I’ve written anything other than necessary emails let alone post on this blog. There have been a number of difficult life events and situations I’ve had to deal with and none of it is/was anything I want to write about. Life has been more challenging and difficult even before the pandemic and it’s insanity.

The cattails are still in the corner and doing very well for all that the shouldn’t be growing there in the first place. They live in the corner of two tall concrete walls with asphalt at the bases with only a crack for the cattails. It’s always wet there, the hill I live on has natural springs all along the length for about 4 and a half miles running north to south. It was part of the western shore of the ancient Lake Chicago.

The hill at the point where I reside is steep for the area, some of the other east-west streets have a steeper incline further north and south of here but it’s still steep enough that it is sometimes difficult in bad weather, especially in winter, even in good weather the odd 18-wheeler will have trouble going uphill if they didn’t get enough of a start below the hill. The alley access to the place I live is even steeper and there is no plowing or salting unlike the main street in front of the building so getting in and out is either difficult or impossible depending on conditions – even with a four-wheel drive vehicle (which I have). Once it snows there are always people who get stuck on the alley hill, doesn’t matter if they’re going up or down. The new people on the hill will sometimes back down while the weather is good and the hill clear of snow or ice, they only do that once after it’s slippery and it get very slippery. Many of the residents will just park either above or below the hill on a side street and walk down on the front sidewalk if they have no problems walking. For a person who has difficulty walking on a flat surface the hill is impossible in bad weather and very difficult when clear and dry. I spend the bad weather pretty much stuck and unable to get out – thank goodness for stores that deliver groceries and good neighbors who will pick up things occasionally while they’re out anyway. I am hoping to relocate come spring, a house preferably in a small town south of where I am at present, and most definitely NOT on a hill ever again.

I can’t promise regular posts, other than I will try. Thank you to everyone who follows me and I apologize for the long silences.





The Cattails in the Corner – Update

18 08 2019

Cattails – August 2019

Cattails 2 – August 2019

As you can see, we have 6 cattails in the corner where the water seeps under the two retaining walls. That goldenrod volunteered to grow there as well. The catalpa tree that was cut down decided it wasn’t dead and has sent up several strong young trunks.

The overgrown alley below us is full of weeds as well as one healthy elderberry plant with soon to ripen berries for the birds.

Our wildlife neighbors have increased to add a handsome healthy young fox who looks very out of place poking around all the concrete and asphalt driveways here. There are chipmunks living under the stairs to the top of the retaining wall, a very bold young squirrel living in the network box of the neighboring condo building who visits us on the porch railings and is very friendly and unafraid and seems to like being talked to, so got named “Nutty”. We don’t feed Nutty, just talk to her when she visits – silly squirrel. The skunk waddles up and down the driveway, the opossum and raccoons visit the garbage cans but can’t get into them. The flock of goldfinches and pair of cardinals enjoyed the thistle seeds down in the alley and are busy eating something else down there and the purple martins flying after the bugs up high. They all are our interesting neighbors. the humans are more invisible, don’t use the porches or walk around back there, so it’s generally quiet and peaceful – other than the traffic noise from in front – and usually with a nice breeze.

Smoky the dog crossed the rainbow bridge in March and it just isn’t the same around here without a dog, it’s the first time in 53 years we’ve been without a dog and we don’t like it, but we knew the conditions of being here and will have to wait until we leave. There is no knowing when that will happen though, rather sooner than later but not my call.

The crickets are singing again, started just last week, the cicadas and katydids are rasping (ratcheting as the kids used to say) the coming autumn even if we’re not ready for it.

 





Cattails In the Corner

15 08 2018

Cattails in the corner

As promised – the photo of the cattails growing in the northwest corner where the two retaining walls meet. There is a small crack between the concrete walls and the asphalt paving and a constant seep of water. We think there might be a natural spring finding an outlet as there are a lot of them along this ridge, once part of an ancient lake shore. Lots of clay and sand on the slope of the ridge which faces mostly east and runs north and south. These popped up this spring. No sign of the brown cattails themselves yet but it’s the first year for them and they might not even be cattails, we’re not sure.Whatever they are they’re a good six feet tall and there are dragonflies that like to visit and sit on them.

There are some elderberry plants down in the “alley”, a cottonwood sapling, several well-grown trees-of-heaven (which need to be removed as they’ve grown into the electric lines), burdock, thistle and other weedy growth which has made the “alley” pretty much impassible. It’s city property but they don’t bother with it and won’t unless there are complaints. Not many people ever see it so there’s not much likelihood it’ll change. It would make a nice place for raised beds full of vegetables along with a few flowers, if someone wanted to make the effort to clean it up and tend that kind of garden as it’s sheltered between a high concrete retaining wall and the rear wall of a commercial building with no rear doors and only opens on the south end, there’s a fence, trees and bushes on the north end, and good full sun most of the day.

 





Good-bye, Facebook

17 07 2018

I will be closing my account with Facebook. I strongly disagree with Mr. Zuckerberg about “privacy is a social norm of the past”, especially as he seems to protect HIS privacy. The rest of us are not comfortable with having our personal information flying loose on the breeze. A recent post on Dick Eastman’s “Privacy Blog” is well worth the read. He makes a couple of recommendations about alternative social sites and having taken a look at both, MeWe [which I likely will be subscribing to very soon] and Idka [also a distinct possibility]. I like being able to see photos of my friends and family members, seeing the occasional video and posting odd bits of news myself. I do not like the unwanted, uninteresting and annoying advertising Facebook plasters on my page. I do not care for the fact that as far as Facebook is concerned, my information is free for their taking and sale to anyone, anywhere and damn the consequences to me. I invite my family, friends and readers to join me in leaving Facebook. Mr. Eastman is quite right, I’m voting with my “feet” by walking away from Facebook, closing my account with them, deleting as much of my information from their site as possible and leaving them in the dust. They ABUSED the trust placed in them and that leaves them most deserving of whatever consequences they will face with the loss of business. They make NO attempt to keep underage users off the site which means that the information of underage users is also available to those who have no business accessing it.

I will be posting this same article on my other blogs as well.





Please Read

10 06 2018

Please read this article by Roberta Estes.  

If you or anyone you know is dealing with depression or thoughts of suicide, this is important. Roberta has been there, she is not a medical or mental health professional, simply a person who had dealt with the realities of these issues.





Nothing in particular

13 01 2018

Today is sunny and cold. We did not get the amount of snow that had been forecast – fortunately, so the driveway and front walk are passable.

The spouse is cooking, I don’t much now, did for years and years and when it was down to the two of us it got to the point I got tired of the complaints and “retired” from the kitchen.

Turns out it was probably a good thing since I was not the one doing the grocery shopping, the lists provided were either forgotten or ignored and when plans for a dish or meal were left in shambles without the required ingredients there was cause for complaint. So now the spouse continues to do the shopping but only gets a few items I request – usually while wandering the store while on the phone with me and that’s usually rather comic.

“I’m in the bread aisle.”

“Grab a loaf of pumpernickel.”

“I’m past there.”

“Go back and grab one. It’s not like you’re across the store.”

“Okay, got it.”

Long silence with store and cart noises for a minute or so.

“I was thinking.”

“Okay, and?”

“Rolls.”

“What?”

“Rolls, I forgot to grab them.”

“Are you still in the bread aisle?”

“No, I have to go back.”

And on through the store he goes, going back to various aisles even though he keeps saying he doesn’t want to go back.

“Did you get the things I asked for?”

“Not yet.”

“You’ll have to go back to get them.”

“I don’t feel like it.”

“Then why didn’t you get them while you were where the items were?”

“I was talking to you.”

“No, you weren’t. Most of the time you weren’t on the phone, it was sitting in the cart. I could hear the wheel squeak and the canned music in the background.”

“I was thinking.”

“Please, would you go get those items?”

“Oh, all right. I’ll be home soon.”

There are variants on the phone calls from the stores. Sometimes they are more spouse thinking out loud than conversations, I only have to grunt once in awhile for those and they usually occur while spouse is in a home improvement store hunting for some small part or fastener. I used to go along on those expeditions, they were long, the whole place had to be traversed several times. I can’t walk and stand that long anymore and the last time I used the electric cart it took three of them and hours to get done and decided it was silly to go with him anymore. So now it’s virtual, sort of, since he can’t send me video (thank heavens).

A lot of work still going on around the building, it keeps spouse busy and out of trouble, except for his home improvement store expeditions – they take even longer when he’s alone. I just heard the car leave – know where he’s off to.

 

 

 





A New Year

6 01 2018

I am glad 2017 is gone. It was another year of huge losses, frustration and promises by others unkept. I’ve done my part, tried to secure employment which didn’t happen (it seems that my age and appearance are a major factor, which, as I see it, shouldn’t matter a damn), lost everything in the storage units (which included family heirlooms, household goods, my library – everything) and am still without any kind of medical or dental care or income – such fun.

I am still in temporary quarters, preparing to move to more temporary quarters downstairs when the apartment is ready. I was told at the beginning of 2017 that we would be in a house, permanently, before the middle of the year – didn’t happen. Not because I didn’t work toward it, I did, it wasn’t something that I really had any kind of influence over in the first place, all of it was in the hands of other people.

I don’t think it’s easy for others to understand that when a person is physically disabled, they lose a lot of their autonomy, they are overlooked, ignored, passed over regardless of their education, gifts, skills or whatever, they’re “different”. Things have gotten better generally for physically disabled people but there are still a lot of jobs that are simply beyond my physical abilities and there doesn’t seem to be a point to trying to get a job it is not possible for me to do physically. I had an acquaintance tell me that I should volunteer at a soup kitchen, which I wouldn’t mind, but the staff said when I called to ask about it that there wouldn’t be much point, I’d have to be able to stand for at least a couple of hours (not something I can do, no matter how much I might want to). Should I even mention trying the “work-at-home” scams? I tried the transcription thing but it certainly wasn’t something that would afford a viable income, not even “pin-money”. The audio was generally wretchedly unintelligible, and there was a lot of jargon and crosstalk, it took 5 hours to “earn” $1.86.  I type fast enough, it just wasn’t possible to understand enough of what was said to transcribe it.

However, I’m investigating some other options, there’s got to be something that will generate an income and that is within my physical limitations. I’m hoping that 2018 will see us in a house, permanently. I’m deeply grateful for the temporary quarters, I can’t say I even want to think about where I and my spouse would’ve been otherwise. We’ve had food, heat and electricity, a functional bathroom, a place to sleep and keep what possessions we’ve got left, a place for our elderly dog, a way to cook and wash dishes and laundry, great blessings indeed. So maybe 2018 will be better all around.

 

 

 





Unexpected Problems

14 04 2017

These last several days have been very busy for my spouse. We had a considerable problem that had to be tended to quickly, which it was. Last week half the roof on the building we’re living in literally lifted up and folded back on itself during the afternoon which wasn’t really all that windy. It sounded like someone fell down the interior stairwell, except no one did – I looked all around the building to see what caused the noise, found nothing. I did tell my spouse about it. There was another search and again nothing to see. Later in the day we had rain, not as much thunder and lightning as forecast but plenty of rain, steady, soaking rain. Around 1700 hrs. we heard a steady drip which was quickly located in the bathroom and a trip up to see the upstairs neighbor by my spouse. We found it odd that it was dripping on the second floor but not the third which is right under the roof, accompanied by a comment that it was probably a pipe and would be a pain to fix because it would mean tearing out a wall or ceiling. About 1815 hrs. the other neighbor on the same floor came over to say they were getting water dripping in their apartment which information I relayed to my spouse, and which elicited another groan. There was a visit to the neighbor and my spouse again went up to see the third floor neighbor who was not home at that point. A knock on the door at 1900 hrs. was the third floor neighbor asking me to come up and see the drips, I went up and it was more than drips, it was a stream of water coming out of the living room ceiling. Spouse came up only minutes later and the mops, buckets and long night of emptying buckets, pots and plastic garbage cans was started, on all three floors on one side of the building.

The next day my spouse got the ladder up to the third floor porch and opened the scuttle to the roof. We had talked about it and figured the patch that had recently been put on a small leak had failed. I was told a short while later that it was far more than a failed patch. The northeast corner of the roof had just pulled up, folded back on itself and basically left about a quarter of the building with no protection from the rain. Spouse and helper were off to get the necessary materials to fix the problem. It did stop raining before they were up there to see the damage, at least the easily visible damage. The third floor neighbor had gone out around noon and I was working on the computer when there was a loud WHUMP!!! and the building shook. I called my spouse who called the building owner and third floor neighbor, both on their way here. Most of the ceiling had come down in the bedroom and some in the living room. So the clean-up was started.

Materials came and the roof was fixed over the following couple days. I was told the contractor who did the job about 4-5 years ago had chintzed on materials, used nails far too short, not overlapped the roofing material properly and the whole works was like someone had only used thumbtacks instead of nails to hold the roofing material down. There was a lot of upset for the owner, who is very good about seeing to maintenance and repairs.

Yesterday there was the removal of the remaining ceiling in that apartment and I was told the insulation was still just sodden. The mess cleared up and the replacement of the ceiling and upper part of two walls taken in hand, they will probably have the drywall up and ready for primer by the end of the day today.

This last week or so was one of lots of extra work, unexpected expense and some aggravation for both the owner and upstairs neighbor. Both, however, are aware of the fact that no matter how well you take care of sometimes unexpected problems can occur. Hopefully by the end of tomorrow things will be back to a more normal footing around here.





Middle of March

15 03 2017

Somehow it’s the middle of March. We have snow, enough to prevent getting out of the driveway and down the hill, it’s too slippery. We watched a car from further up the hill slide and almost slide into the big condo building. There is melting where the sun hits and things should be passable tomorrow, which with warmer temperatures will increase the melting. We do have the beginnings of the “glacier” on the front sidewalk again. Wherever the water is coming from it comes up over the edge of the sidewalk and flows across it, which when cold enough grows the sheet of ice that turns into the “glacier”.

I am looking forward to spring.





7 Years

31 01 2017

It hardly seems possible 7 years have slipped by since I started blogging but WordPress has sent me a notice to that effect. I have found friends in this blogging community, people who have taught me many things and people who have read my words.

Thank you all. Thank you WordPress for offering a place for us to share our words, photos and lives.





Good Riddance 2016!!!!

31 12 2016

I, for one, am relieved to have 2016 at an end. I have learned a lot, some of it interesting (mostly the genealogy progress), but most of it unpleasant at the very least. I learned that I can not even turn to my blood relatives, family, for aid. I was not asking for more than a small loan, a hand up to get myself a way to earn some kind of income. I was told, basically, to go away, get on public aid and leave them alone. Why anyone would want to sell themselves in that particular slavery I don’t know. I had to deal with it while the step kids were growing up and it was a misery every minute we were on it. I succeeded in removing myself from that and had hoped to make a passable living, I didn’t expect to get rich, just have what I needed to have my home and the other necessities of life. The response was cold, lecturing me to be “responsible”, something that anyone who really knows me would find odd as I have been told on more than one occasion that I am responsible to a fault, and walk away from everything that means something to me because it costs money. Well, the logical argument then becomes, if it costs money, then pretty much everything is not worth anyone’s bother. Evidently the money part is what hits them hardest. I was not asking for a gift, I was requesting a small loan ($1,000.00). I explained my thinking and plan but was told that it would be “too hard”. I almost decided to copy that missive from the great and powerful family but changed my mind. Am I angry? You better f**king believe it! Am I hurt? Damned right I am!

Do any of you have items from your ancestors that are precious? Things, physical objects that are irreplaceable? Well, I do and I certainly have no intention of walking away and losing them if I can find a way to prevent that. I found something that I am physically capable of doing, I was asking for help to get what I needed to start, a hand up, a way to earn a living. Would it be “hard”, of course, on some days very hard on others not at all, but most jobs fall into that kind of sphere. Do I have the right to ask blood relatives for assistance? I thought so, evidently not. The response was so cold, so dismissive, like I was the most embarrassing thing to them that they could imagine. The thought that they might have to face a reality other than their own insular little place must have been too much for them. Strange, after all the help, of all kinds, provided by my parents and myself to them when they were in need. I wasn’t asking to be supported for any space of time, wasn’t asking to move in with any of them (a thought that nauseates me), wasn’t asking to have any long term commitment from them. I’m just disgusted by them all. I’ve researched the ancestors, read of the way they helped and supported each other, physically, emotionally and financially, taking in aunts or uncles, children from family members who were too ill to care for them, the things families used to do without much discussion. It was family, that was enough.

I suppose that I should not post this, however, I promised myself to be honest here on the blog. I don’t name names, I write under a pseudonym because my spouse insisted. But the facts are the truth, my response is honest. Maybe my rants will help someone else along the way, they certainly help me. I’ve had more loving, caring response from my fellow bloggers than from my own family, for which I am grateful beyond words, for their kindness and moral support.

I want to support myself, I want to keep what’s mine, those irreplaceable physical items that mean so much, the ones that remind me of the person every time I see or touch them, the ones that carry the love they bore me. I suppose in some ways I’m tied to the physical in ways that many people can’t understand, but that is how I am. It gives me great joy to hold or touch an object my mother used almost daily in the kitchen, or a tool my father used in his work, a small table of my maternal grandmother’s, nothing great and expensive, simple daily items I’ve lived with all my life that keep the spirit of those people closest to me near by.

I am hoping and praying that 2017 will be the complete opposite of this past wretched year and I don’t even include any of the more obvious events in the world in that wretched.

I wish all of you, my readers, a Most Wonderful New Year, filled with health, prosperity, blessings, joy and hope.





Merry Christmas

21 12 2016

To all who stop by – Merry Christmas!!
I hope the holiday season will bring each of you something wonderful.

Mine will likely not do that. After all the pain of earlier this year, it looks like the new year is going to start off even more painful. I do not have the necessary funds to pay for the storage of my possessions. Everything that means anything to me is in the two storage units. Being in very small temporary quarters there’s no place to bring anything and the ice, steep alley and driveway/parking area has left even using the car impossible. We are looking at a thaw and I am going to try to get what little I can out. The family heirlooms, furniture, bedding, other household goods, clothes, tools, books, research materials, manuscripts, genealogical documents, family photographs, pedal clavichord and more are probably going to be taken from me when they auction off the contents for nonpayment of the rent. It’s just too damn much loss.

The business I bought in 2006 was forced to close in April of 2009 (I did all the right things, was complimented by my CPA for keeping things honest, above-board and legal, it was the loss of our customer base, too many people lost their jobs and weren’t buying what we were selling), the commercial building that was part of that purchase was also lost, the car was lost (no job to bring in the necessary funds to pay anything), the house was taken this March after living there 46 1/2 years. I damn near killed myself getting as much as I could packed up and the spouse and friend got it into two storage units. They didn’t, however do more than get things in, the did not listen to my requests to have certain marked items kept to the front so they could be gotten out and sold – just in case – but are buried in those units, somewhere. I expended what savings I had to keep the rent paid while doing everything I could to generate an income, land a job, create something online, sell stuff on eBay, Craig’s List, etc.
I’ve tried very hard to have a positive attitude, be grateful for everything I have, the wonderful blessings each day holds, and believed things would get better. They haven’t. In the process of getting everything out of the house, I gave my already messed up knees and back enough stress that they just don’t work right now. I couldn’t get down that icy alley unless I crawled. The front sidewalk is a glacier from a water leak uphill which has created a dangerous situation for anyone trying to walk on the hill.
I’m still applying for jobs, getting out will be interesting beyond belief but if I have to crawl down the alley with more presentable clothes in a bag and find someplace to change I guess that’s what I’ll do. A remote position would be perfect but so many of those are nothing but scams (ask me how I know) and it just makes it that much more difficult for people who want to work and can’t get out of their homes to do so.
All this is so painful there are really no words to describe it. The small table my father made as a final shop project in 8th grade and gave to his mother, the desk he made me, the Japanese import china my mother got for $100.00 just after World War II that is a service for 12 of fine bone china, my great-grandfather’s shaving mug, great-grandmother’s sugar and creamer, my library all packed in boxes and inaccessible. The manuscripts I’ve written, the research materials that were carefully gathered and preserved, the family photos, documents, and other genealogical materials for both my family and my spouse’s. The gifts from my parents, spouse, aunts, uncles, grandparents, friends, touchstones that bring them all close even though all are long dead, connections to people who loved me and who I love yet.
This is my coming reality for 2017 – unless there is some kind of miracle, God knows, I’ve been doing everything I could to help myself. I want more than I can express to not have this happen. I know I probably shouldn’t post this, probably shouldn’t even write it, but I need to get it out of my head and hope that maybe someone can offer some help.