Monthly Archives: April 2015


I had a headache two days ago and also yesterday in the afternoon. These were headaches like I have never had before. I am a person who rarely has aches and pains, so when I get them I find it rather alarming. I know people who live with daily pain, either complaining about it or keeping it to themselves. I am rather inexperienced with physical pain and have rarely taken a pill for pain. It’s hard for me to imagine life on painkillers. So many people turn to pills for every little ache. I’m not one of those people. I don’t take drugs, either prescribed, over-the-counter, or street drugs.

The headaches both times were clearly frontal. Also they didn’t occur while listening to screaming kids nor loud TV, nor seeing “in laws” nor arguing with spouse. None of that applies. One developed on a bus, where I usually feel quite relaxed. I was seated on the bus the entire time. The other headache came after my arrival home on a day I had exercised more than usual.

I hear fine but one ear feels stuffed up. It doesn’t hurt, it’s only annoying. As for my vision, well, it sucks not being able to see. I hope replacing my glasses will help. I hope they hear me when I say “NO COATING” loud and clear.



Rights, rights, rights….oh, I can’t even mention it. Talking about RIGHTS is a mental symptom, right?

So I always thought a person of any color had the right to walk into a convenience store, and walk out of a convenience store, without getting arrested. I always thought that a person walking out of a convenience store, whether having made a purchase or not, should be allowed to continue along his way. I always thought that even if a person is arrested, whether having committed a crime, under suspicion of committing a crime, or for no reason at all, had the right to NOT be killed by police. Does this make sense to anyone else? I didn’t know the police had the privilege to kill anyone they damned please. Just because they’re the cops.

I always thought cops were people you could go to if you were lost. Or you could count on the cops if your kid decided to take the shortcut home and ended up in the wrong town. Like I just did, but never mind that. I did see a flashing light and considered walking over in that direction and asking. But then, I decided that undoubtedly, someone in need required far more assistance than I did. What if I, a 57-year-old woman barely over five feet tall went up to the cops and asked for directions, then, got shot. Dead.

That sure wouldn’t be the story you’d hear, especially not if it occurred in the USA.

“We found a weapon.” (A pencil.)
“She’s violent.” (I’m not.)
“She has a criminal record.” (I don’t.)
“We suspected something.” (No, I was profiled.)

However, even if I lived, who the hell would believe me, anyway? I’m a known mental patient. No, I didn’t say “mentally ill,” I said “patient.” Being a patient is what’s disabling, that is, being a consumer of mental health “services.” Crazy? Naw, that’s just being yourself. I never thought that was at all disabling.

This is an issue of race, human rights, feminism, and so-called “disability.” This is where they intersect. Do we need to continue this way, or can it be different?

Might be leaving my friend’s house soon

I got some clothes washed and hanging in the window gates. These will hopefully dry soon. The owner is coming soon. She might ask me and Puzzle to stay longer to guard the house, or she might not need me to safeguard the house anymore. We will see. Puzzle is a good watchdog. She kisses people. I guess that scares bad guys!

They’ve changed the lock on the door and seen to it that the house will be secure. We don’t know who has the old keys. Our friend could have passed several around. For safety’s sake I think the decision was a wise one. My friend assured me we’d hired the best locksmith in town. I’d say she was excellent, very speedy, and the lock seems tight and secure. Round here, it’s wise to keep windows secure as well if you aren’t home, or, rather, if anyone knows you aren’t home. One of the neighbors suggested that I leave certain lights on if I am worried.

Some kids came around yesterday trying to tell me that “Señor” wanted them to have certain of his belongings. I knew this wasn’t true, given what they were asking for. I didn’t quite understand what they were saying while they were here, since they were using Google Translate, which translated “Señor” as “The Lord.” I asked myself, “If these are Jehovah’s Witnesses, they sure are young to be out proselytizing.” Then, I realized the mix-up. I was laughing. My friends told me later that to their knowledge, I was absolutely right, since certain of my friend’s belonging already had a designated taker. Meanwhile, a man I know who has a shop near my home came by. I felt so sad informing him of my friend’s death. I think as soon as he saw me here, with Puzzle, and no one else here, he guessed. I saw it on his face.

I had an adventure yesterday going off on foot to nearest place to pick up certain cleaning supplies I couldn’t find at the mercadito near here. Other expats tell me that it’s easy to get lost trying to find various locations that are sometimes tucked away. Same with this supply place. I overshot it by about a mile, then had to turn back, then found the place, got supplies, then overshot the street I was looking for by a number of blocks. After that, I did the “shortcut,” that is, wove back and forth till I managed to get back. Total walking in the heat was seven miles. I was dehydrated when I got back. I actually felt incredibly shitty for quite a while. I got fluids into me ASAP. I felt fine upon waking, although my lips are so cracked and dry that my lower lip split and bled this morning. This is one of the consequences of taking lithium, that is, drastically increased need for water. This is a kidney condition that is a common effect of taking the drug. It means I have to be careful. It means even if I am afraid I am being demanding, I should ask for water when I need it. It’s funny, though, the looks I get when I ask for a huge bottle or entire pitcher. Such is life. I am done feeling guilty or embarrassed for asking for what my body desperately needs. The cracked, bleeding lip is embarrassing, too, and stings a little at times. Oh well. I’m alive. Very.

It’s nice having an airbed. I deflated it, stuck it in a suitcase, and came here. That was a snap. I managed to raise it up off the floor with another object, so it’s not too low. I am using a towel for a pillow. I’m kinda used to this. Puzzle is, too. She’s happy so long as she gets fed. Simple creatures, lotta love.

Gastric Bypass? Stomach Staple? Weight-reduction surgery? What has your experience been?

I am wondering if anyone out there had any experience with this. I am not overweight nor have ever considered this surgery. I heard they might have improved it over the past few years, but I haven’t spoken to anyone who had it recently.

I do know the following:

Most will tell you they lost a ton of weight and were thankful they had the surgery. Everyone with whom I spoke said this, four or five years later, too.

However, most people I knew had “complications” from the surgery. Many of these were life-threatening. With some of these surgeries, there’s a staple in there that can come out. I cannot imagine the pain. I knew a few people who lost weight too fast or lost too much. These folks required hospitalization. One of these folks might not have made it, I am not sure. I also know others who have eventually gained weight again, though they didn’t gain back all they had lost. Still others, years later, still suffered from unending heartburn. Actually, not one person I know of didn’t have serious complications or gain a lot of weight back.

So when I spoke to these folks myself, in person, I’d hear something like, “I am suffering from the consequences of that surgery, but I am the exception. This wasn’t supposed to happen. I’m so glad I lost the weight.” Every single person said this. In other words, they were all going through terrible suffering, but either had been blamed for the negative consequences, or were blaming themselves or had concluded it was bad luck.

I am well aware, though, that some people are at very high risk if they remain obese. Not everyone is at equal risk, or any risk. Some people have aching backs that keep them out of work or cause them to take painkillers so they can function. Never mind risks to the heart, risk of diabetes and many health problems. So almost everyone told me, “I had to have it. My health was the most important factor.”

The only people who can get this surgery (or have it “covered”) are those that are above a certain BMI. I’m not sure where that is or if it has changed over the years. From what I recall, candidate$ are screened. I read somewhere a few years back that the doctor$ doing this surgery weren’t screening very well. I guess they wanted money more than they cared about long-term consequences. Were there staple mills doing this? I can imagine there must have been some out there.

My friend who had had this once confided in me that at the clinic where she’d gone, candidates who were just under the required BMI were “faking” their weight just to qualify. She also said people would stuff themselves just to gain and then get the operation. This, apparently, was no secret.  From what I recall of the forced weigh-in for eating disorders care, I can only imagine the tricks these folks used. Were they weighed in paper johnnies? Did they get the “lecture” if someone wasn’t pleased with the number?

I can hear it now: “If you don’t gain one pound by Friday, then an ambulance will take you directly from the doctor’s office to the emergency room!” And if I didn’t show up? My therapist said she’d send the cops to my home. I will never forget living under that tyranny.

So I can imagine the pressure. Someone dying to get that surgery might have five or six pounds to gain. Or even more. Time to chow down, buddies!

Maybe they all get together and have a beer fest the night before. How many pounds would that put on? I’m not fond of beer and I can’t say it ever caused weight gain for me when I did drink it, but I suppose if you drank many cans then “held it” you’d weigh lots more.

Imagine: “Okay, I’m done weighing you. The bathroom’s over there.”

Either way, I wonder how these folks will turn out, decades from now. If they are alive. I know as soon as this surgery came out, many jumped on the bandwagon. Doctors were criticizing the clinics for offering the surgery too soon, before long-term consequences were known, and before the technique was well-developed. I’ll bet for the most part, the voices of those concerned went unheard.

Puzzle’s haircut

Here are some pics of Puzzle after I trimmed her face. I also trimmed around her body, but not too much. I left the curls on her shoulders. I tried to trim behind her legs. That fur always ended up with bits and pieces of nature stuck into it when we went for walks.


You can see I am wearing my very old pair of Adidas.

All the fur. It wasn’t much. I barely filled a dustpan.IMG_20150426_165705_998


Funny face:


Standing guard. That square black pillow is the inside of a dog bed I purchased for her at the feria many months ago:IMG_20150426_170157_481

She loves hanging out in the doorway. She’s there right now.


This one might seem a little dark, depending on how you have your screen brightness set:IMG_20150427_090716_582

This one taken with the flash:


I love Puzzle.

Dear Shrink…..

Oh dear, did I notice a beard hair out of place? Or a spot on that tie!  Medicate, medicate! Your malpractice insurance bills are piling up. Oh, blow me away……

I need fucking cocktail. The bar’s opening in few hours. Lord knows any cocktail I get from a shrink will kill me ten times faster.

What’s the diagnosis today? Chronic smile on my face? I am laughing very hard right now.

Let’s have a race. To see just how fast you can grab that prescription pad. Oops! Not fast enough, it seems…the patient escaped. Down under, or over the rainbow.

Way up high.


Dear USA……

Dear USA,

So you thought I was useless, stupid, incapable? You didn’t want me anymore. You rejected me, tossed me aside, left me for dead.

Yesterday, I trimmed Puzzle’s face a bit. I took some off the rest of her, too, leaving the curls on her shoulders. So did I need a grooming table?  My lap worked fine.

Dear USA, this morning I went out for a run, ran 6 or 7k, came home, then took Puzzle out for a walk. We broke into a run, ran maybe 4k.

Oh, I think I need a Wii. What the heck is a Wii, anyway?

“You need this medication like a diabetic needs insulin.” Yeah, like I need your lies, your deceit, your half-truths, your coverups, your appointments and prescriptions.

“Can you rate your mood on a scale of one to ten?”

“Would you like that response in español, doctor?”

Sunshine = 10
Fresh air = 10
Countryside = 10
Love = 10
Freedom = 10
Puzzle kisses = 10

So is there a pill for that? You can take your symptom management and go shove it. Take every single “disorder” they ever thought I had. I need an appointment like I need a piece of garbage. Go to hell for 50 minutes. Not a minute more or less. Paid for by “insurance.”

Take your assembly-line style medicine and shove it. Go enjoy your billing department, your courtesy, your satisfaction surveys. I’m very satisfied now that I left all that behind.

And there’s so much more ahead.


Is “abuse insurance” the answer?

How about this? Anyone who has abused would be required to get abuse insurance?

So this is how it would work: The abuser would have “insurance” that would guarantee that if he abused, all costs would be paid.

So…say he rapes. What’s the payment his insurance will guarantee to his victim?

Relocation costs, or at least costs to replace door locks.
All medical expenses.
New clothes, ones that don’t reveal, can’t be pulled down, nor any hand or object shoved into.
Payment for lost days, weeks, or years of employment.
Payment for any dropped classes at school.
Payment for any pills used to calm oneself afterward.
Payment for police investigation and all court costs, legal costs, etc.
Payment for the years of “therapy” that follow.
Payment for broken marriage, broken families, broken dreams.
Payment for wrecked reputation, resulting job loss or loss of sales at business.

Hmm…how much would every rapist or potential rapist have to be insured for? Imagine going to a bar, and having some guy say, “Oh, don’t worry, I’m insured!” Gee, I’d sure trust that!

So how about shrinks? Abuse insurance.

Payment for years of unemployment.
Payment for lies told to families that breaks them apart.
Lost inheritance money.
Dropped semester payments for every time they stick you in a hospital mid-semester.
Payment for ruined reputation.
Relocation compensation to get away from “diagnosis.”
All legal costs.
Payment for medical damage and all treatment for these, diagnostic tests, etc.
Compensation for financial loss from unemployment.
Compensation whenever a victim is fired due to discrimination.
Payment for trauma resulting from “care.”

Oh gee, I think the insurance for shrinks is even higher than for rapists! Why should taxpayers pay for these damages? And yet, that’s what happens! Who pays for the hospitalizations and years of counseling because of shrink abuse? Who pays to see to it that those locked doors are secure?  Who pays for the medical expenses resulting from these damaging drugs? Who pays “disability” for millions of people now out of work, when truly, none of that has to happen? What about those costly advertising ploys that continue to distribute misinformation to the unsuspecting, TV-watching, doctor-worshiping public?

And mostly, who pays for that expensive wool pulled over the public’s eyes?

What is “illness”?

I’ve been rethinking all this. Again. What is “illness,” really? Is it germs? A fever? Or just feeling rotten? Is there clear delineation between “ill” and “well”?

Perhaps. I used to think that “illness” meant you had lots of “symptoms” and couldn’t manage. You went to a doctor or clinic somewhere and got some kind of “treatment” that most likely wouldn’t work the first time, so you’d have to go back forever trying to get yourself fixed. Many appointments later, you might be a little better.

I don’t see it that way anymore. I’ve traveled thousands of miles to get away from the doctor-worshiping Evil Empire. The land of Doctor Knows Best. Does he really?

YOU are the authority on your body. You are the #1 authority. Your family, your spouse, your doctor, these are other people who have no clue what it feels like to live inside your body. You own it. This is your domain.

If you give up your domain, or if someone steals it from you or takes over, that’s illness. Take the body back, and you will be well. Your body shouldn’t be someone else’s battleground. Kick out those intruders. You are fine, you are whole and pure and beautiful.

Thoughts following the death of a dear friend

As I walk through his home, I wonder what went through his mind from day to day. I’ve been cleaning the house, which sorely needed it. I remember joking with female friends a long time ago, saying, “Why do guys have such disgusting bathrooms?” My friend was no exception to that stereotype! The bathroom is filled with all sorts of creepy-crawly whatevers. Whenever I go in there, I feel like I’ve got tiny roommates. Like I’ve got to tell them, “I’m coming, can you make space for me?” All kidding aside, I think I’ve made a small dent in the filth in there.

And the papers. I’m sure he had a method of keeping them in order. Everyone has their organizational quirks. I recall we had a discussion about this. He told me he saved all his sales receipts, and then, at the end of the day, tallied all his expenses. What I didn’t realize is that he saved all these receipts for years. He kept a ledger. Columns for each expense. The first? Cafe. Of course. Last week, he was telling me he’d like to buy a real ledger, so he wouldn’t have to make a graph himself by hand each month. As I looked through his papers last night, I found old cafe sales receipts and cab receipts from many years ago.

His other friends have told me the officials are asking for a birth certificate. I can’t find it. I’ll bet he had a secret hiding place for it. Funny, I found his passport hidden under an old dictionary. Can’t we assure them that if he died, he must have been born?

I see things tucked away, in corners, inside books, under trinkets on the shelves. I am reminded of Joe’s habits of tucking paper money in various secret hiding places. I recall that Joe was pissed off once when a cleaning lady moved one of his books, one that had money in it. I told him, “What do you expect? She’s cleaning, it wasn’t a sin to move the book.”  How funny it is, that habit, it must be a guy thing to do.

On request, I checked his phone/internet bill. Paid already. That’s one less thing to worry about.

Still, I have asked myself all day, “Would he mind if I moved this? What color bathmat does he want? Would he mind if I put a curtain up?” As if he were still alive.

And of course, he is alive, as always, in my heart.

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