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Been there, done that, only wished I looked this good! :)
The first move I made after a long summer road trip was slap my tired carcass onto my bed, face first.
I feel my neck bend the wrong way, my shoulder blades touch, and my feet lift towards the ceiling. I muttered into the sunken space, “This is not where a queen sleeps!”
This shitty lump has been in my life since I was rocking Cross Colors and Benetton to school. I took it from my mother’s house before I moved out here; the bed I got from the divorce was too wide for the U Haul. Granted, I’ve been sleeping on it alone, so I’ve been tolerating it, but now that I have a Significant Other Who Stays The Night Regularly, it’s become clear this mattress set is more a torture zone than a slumber pad.
But then, why stop there? I renewed my lease until 2016, so I figure, we could paint! I’ve been admiring a certain blue this year, and I find cobalt blue to be especially stimulating and powerful, perhaps it’s my new power color? I picked up a sample can at the Home Depot and I think I like what I see:
I read the Penguin Book version of The Epic of Gilgamesh this summer, and I feel inspired to incorporate lapis lazuli, emerald, gold, ruby into my wall design. My eyes are training on lamps, frames, planters, furnishings, that evoke that Sumerian era, focusing on regalia and opulence. I’m calling the bedroom Ishtar’s Throne.
As I await the final cool down of Florida so that I can invest a day in rearranging and painting, I’ll be surfing Pinterest and Etsy and other chick sites for design ideas. You, my dear friend, are very much welcome to provide me your design ideas, forward me pics, or point me in the direction of quality fabrics and carpets that evoke queendom and ancient supernatural power.
And of course, I’ll be posting my progress here! So excited!
Remembering the dark horse…
Originally posted on A R T L▼R K:
On the 7th of October 1849 Edgar Allan Poe died in Baltimore, America. He was one of the world’s most renowned crime and horror writers, credited also with inventing the detective and science fiction genres. Poe was the first Victorian writer who had an ambition to earn a living from writing. Judging by the final outcome of his life, he did manage to do so, yet, despite his exceptional talent, he died in poverty. His dark Gothic tales – to name a few: The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket , The Fall of the House of Usher, The Raven – played on the imagination of the early 19th century reader, often revealing complex and disturbing truths about the dealings of a human mind. Most of Poe’s characters either die or descend to madness, which by looking at the course of Poe’s own life seems…
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Somewhere in Oklahoma…
How dare you, Union Pacific, block off the ONLY road to the neighborhood I need to get to!! Alright, fine, roll on through…
…keep it moving…
…geeeeeeeeeez how long is this train? Hurry up slowpoke…
…wait, WHAT? Why are you stopping? Here?? IN FRONT OF ME???
(several torporific minutes pass)
BACKWARDS?!?! You just went– you were going — GAWDDAMMITSUMBITCCCCHHHH!
I HATE THIS PLACE!!!
I bet you want to hear about all the shenanigans I got into while traveling across the country, and we will get to that fun stuff soon, but I must open my return to Bloggyland by explaining why I had to end my vacay early.
The They are at it again.
Smartly, I had forwarded my mail to my friend’s house in the off chance I get a notification or a summons or a request for information from the They while I was trying to enjoy being alive.
And they sure did. Those fuckers sent a notice to appear for a hearing, and I had to respond immediately and be present in less than five days.
When dealing with the They, you’re not treated as a beneficiary. You’re treated like an offender. You’re not assigned a case manager; you’re assigned a probation officer. Be where you’re supposed to be, else suffer the consequences.
So ZOOM I go across the Plains, through the Heart of Dixie, and back into the Deep South. My body, not quite ready to pull this trip, managed to anyways. With another bout of sleeplessness, irritability, and mood instability, I journeyed from my home to the hearing, a full cross of my county, a bridge, and then into a city I try to actively avoid to make the 10am appointment. To add lemon juice to the paper cut, the office I arrived at was in a building down the street from the site of my worst motorcycle accident. Nothing like fresh traumatic flashbacks to start the day!
I did allow myself two drops of Visty, my psychiatrist saying I can do that “if you feel a situation oncoming that may trigger your aggression.” I did state once we were on the record, that I was attending under duress, so no one could say, “Oh I didn’t know she was symptomatic,” and hold it against me.
The night prior to the hearing, I prepped as any good lawyer should. The paperwork from the They that showed I met their guidelines. Check. The order of events since December 2013 notifying me of an audit, and the copies of the paperwork I submitted per their requirements. Check. The hand written notes I took during my request for appeal, including request for reinstatement of benefits while the appeal is processed. Check. The hand written notes the case manager at the They provided to me, indicating my cessation of benefits was erroneously entered into the system, and they had opened a ticket for their main whatever office to fix it. Check.
Considering the evidence before me, I couldn’t see how They could justify denying my continuance. So, as a good defense attorney does, I considered what evidence They had that can negate my disability status. Reviewed all that I submitted, and I patted myself on the back for being such a good, detail-oriented writer, describing down to the night terrors what a typical day in Von’s life is like. Then, I go back to the original psychiatrist who reviewed me for benefits: an expert in post traumatic stress disorder, an expert with working with disabled veterans, this guy’s word is bond. So it has to come down to….
She. She who sent me in a tailspin. She who manipulated the mental exam. She who was far from ethical and objective. I flip through the They’s rules for the hearing, and in Courier size 12 it read, “you have the right to review your case file at the time of the hearing.” This is the meat of the debacle. I *need* to see what she said about me.
So, back in the hearing room, a thick plastic wall separating me from the hearing officer, an armed security guard behind the door closed behind me, I utter after my swearing in, “I would like to review my case file.”
The largesse of the caught-off-guard hearing officer moved towards the plastic partition, “You’re supposed to do that a half hour before the hearing.”
I know this to not be true, so I restate, calmly, “I would like to review my case file.”
Visibly annoyed, he got up, asked the security officer to escort me out while he set up the computer on my side to upload the necessary files. The security officer escorts me back in, the hearing officer explains how to navigate Windows 3.1, and the two officers leave my side of the hearing room.
Even though the partition exists, Lunchy hovers as I begin to read. “We can print this out for you to take and review at home if that’s what you prefer to do.”
“Will I be granted another hearing?”
“Then I’m fine.”
Lunchy sulks. He leaves the room for a bit, then returns, noticing I’m furiously writing into my notebook, for what I was reading was indeed, infuriating.
“This hearing isn’t about the person who prepared that evidence,” he snarks.
“Yes, but those who are making a decision on my case are basing my condition on what this person said about me, correct?”
“Then it’s important I continue reviewing.”
That’s when I wrote down on my rebuttal as a reminder, high cognitive ability is an attribute of several mental disorders.
You can tell he’s flustered now. “We have some time before my noon appointment. How much more time do you need?”
My wide eyes blink up at him. “There are six pages. I am on page two. I can take 20 minutes to complete all pages.” Yeah, I may have delivered that a bit robotically too, seeing that I was already annoying him. Anytime I can bust balls, I shall!
Lunchy leaves his side of the partition, and I digest essentially my suspicion: she was not objective in her review. In one paragraph, I found complete fabrications of the event. Also, she left off way more than what I recall. For you see, I have an acute memory, even in the midst of trauma.
So on front to back wide ruled paper, I prepared a rebuttal to the evidence. Lunchy’s back in exactly 20 minutes, and I’m prepared to continue with the hearing. The testimony I provided took Lunchy an hour and a half to process. I provided him the written rebuttal to copy, and a copy of the notes I made the night prior, because I’m determined to present the facts. Along with the typed notes, I had already entered a statement contesting the reviewer’s reliability as a source for determining my case. SO happy I stuck to my rights and reviewed her copy, because my suspicions were correct. She lied. She straight up LIED and the They believed her.
During the closing of the hearing, I asked for the formal measures to report a licensed mental health practitioner and a funded mental health facility to the Florida Department of Health. Lunchy provided me the person’s name and where to mail the written report to. The look on his face was almost of pride. I must’ve turned his world around. I get this a lot during my appeal process; the They are practically shocked I can elocute effectively what my condition is, as well as deftly expose the flaws on their end. In other words, my argument is impenetrable.
I’m once again battling with finding the strength to persevere through the muck as well as finding the will to live. I think I put it so well in my journal I’ll just type it out here: “I think what it comes down to is I’m being discriminated against because I’m so articulate. I can clearly describe my conditions. I’m not stupid. Whereas VA can take in every soldier and out process them as PTSD, SSA starts first with NO, and then see if you’ll challenge their decision. And once you’re in, you’re scrutinized. If you’re not seeing a GP, you’re not sick. That’s discrimination against us who practice non-Western medicine. Then, the lack of objectivity on Dr. —– part is too outstanding to be left alone. That exam should be dismissed as evidence, and I invite DOH to present another psychiatrist with credentials as well as ethics, not just the first loser on an alphabetical list. Dr. A— = A; you’re not even trying. So all we can do is keep fighting. The center where I’m receiving treatment is on my team. My new GP is on my team. Both will submit medical evidence that I am still disabled. How irresponsible of the SSA to not enter the data in a timely fashion. How sloppy that they restored my record piecemeal; in the meantime, I still pay out of pocket for treatment expenses when my benefits kicked in June 30 of this year. I’m still under the impression they want me to see a suicide through, so that no one has to be accountable and they can get back to mass murdering the disabled. -imes
Imagine what it feels like to be driving, alone, after midnight in unfamiliar territory, when suddenly your GPS navigation system gives out, and the lamps inside your truck stop working. This happened to me during the wee hours of Thursday, July 24 just a few weeks ago.
The Girl Scout in me knew she needed a map, but she also knew we didn’t own one. All I knew was that I was in Georgia, alone, directionally blind in the middle of the night.
A familiar beacon, a striation of sunny yellow beams extending from a blue background and the words, “Wal-Mart.”
If ever a woman could get completely exasperated from excitement merely by reading a lit sign, it would be in the way I reacted.
Pulled in to Store #5797 and noticed first how bright and clean it was for stock hours. The design of this store is different from what I have back home, so I must’ve looked very turned around when a lovely associate stopped shelving and asked if I needed help. I asked for an atlas, and so he came up to Maranda, who, mind you, had recently lost her voice, eagerly directed me towards the atlas I own now.
Not content to leave me looking at the atlas, Maranda asked me where I was headed, and, still nervewrecked I responded, “I don’t even know where I am!”
With the sweetest delivery, she pronounced, “You’re in Albany, Georgia,” to which I sighed relief. At least I was still heading the correct direction.
Maranda called over KT, who used to frequently travel to Memphis and Little Rock. As my stop was Memphis, he showed me on the atlas which roads to take, as well as how much time it should take me to get there. Relieved, grateful, confident on my path, I bid them farewell and told them I’d write a letter to express my sincere gratitude. Of course, they said it wasn’t necessary.
Obviously, I was compelled to share my story. I appreciate Maranda and KT going the extra mile to help me find the product I needed and get me safely on the road. My navigation system eventually resolved itself, but it’s good to know this cherished atlas is in my truck with me.
Still on the road; might visit Store #5797 for snacks!
Please freely use my expression of gratitude, as long as KT and Maranda are mentioned.
With greatest appreciation,
Author, I Blew Up Juarez
Yes folks, this is happening. I’m hittin’ the road starting this week!
Where to Von? I honestly don’t know. I’ve got gas, I’ve got maps, I’ve got information and communication technologies, and I have
a badge-wearing wingman to help drive and navigate.
Why are you doing this Von? Life-wise, I need some sparkly fresh brand new so I can feel the wow again. Creatively speaking, my writing is uninspired largely because I’ve deprived myself of Befindlichkeit, which is a big pretty German word for self-discovery. Discovery is tangible – what you experience with your senses within current time/space – but self-discovery requires a more metaphysical…event, let’s put it. I’m gonna position myself in physical places I’ve never been before, connect cosmically with what or whoever has a cosmic charge, and throw myself into uncertainty, allowing reactions to happen in whichever plane of existence that happens.
And no, I am not using any drug, natural or manufactured, in order to encourage these events forward. Clean and sober and open-minded. That’s how this is going down!
I will regularly post to this blog, at least to let you know I haven’t been slaughtered. Since I’ll be working off of WordPress for Android, my posts might be more Instagrammy than verbose; I’m sure you’ll understand. :)
I will tell you I’m not doing the Atlantic seaboard or New England; I’ve done that drive four times in the past ten years. Something fresh and new means in the guts of Merica! Maybe even up to oohhhhh Caaaannaaaddaaaahhhhhhh
This is Von Simeon, signing off, and leaving you with a sweet song to remember me by…