Thursday, June 30, 2005

SSD hearing

The long awaited SSD hearing was today.
It was a long day. Bob and I had to leave early this morning due to the traffic heading into Oakland and we weren't exactly sure where we were going.
Bob was not allowed into the federal Bldg because he had been mistakenly carrying around his expired driver's license. I told him when he got the new one to cut up the old one but in his convulated way of holding onto everything he kept it. So I had to go it alone.

Present was myself and my attorney, whom I had not met until that time, a doctor for Social Security, a vocational expert for Social Security, the judge ( for Social Security) and his clerk.
My file consisted of 2 large folders of information each, literally, about 2 feet thick. And it was considered to be not documented well.
However, what documentation there was was consistent.
Today was the first time I had a chance to review the report the doctor I had to see in Benicia wrote up after he evaluated me a few weeks ago.
I am considered Type 2 Bipolar with severe depression as the predominant factor and mania as the less dominant; borderline personality disorder ( which I did not know) resultant from all the abuse over the years; clinical and severe depression;some manifestestion of ADHD ( which I had guessed at but did not know); post traumatic stress disorder; panic attacks; fibromyalgia, severe arthritis in my spine and degenerative disc disease.

I was so anxious and at times overcome with panic during the hearing yet held up well considering.

It was hard to sit there and listen to yourself be described so clinical; almost as if you weren't in the room. the SS doc was an older gentleman and very kind and compassionate. I would have liked him as my primary physician.
The vocational guy was not Mr. Personality and was barely consulted after the doc gave his summation.

Then I was asked to give testimony. It was difficult to recall the awful things in your life and then to describe specifically how now, today, you are a failure in the work force because you cannot produce as you once did.
You kind of realize in that moment you are two people. The one you used to be and the one you are today.
I used to be the ultimate volunteer; the worker who put in 70-80 hrs a week. Now, I was hard pressed to put in 8.
The SSD doc explained in brief to the judge how any chronic pain condition wears someone down. And how not sleeping wears someone out.
And the toll abuse takes on someone's life.
And that he saw no recovery for me.

Hearing that just broke me down.
Somehow hearing the words said just affected my soul.
I don't want to be sick; I want to be normal.
I want to be able to go to work and complain about my job and bitch about taxes and how the health care coverage stinks.
I want to have those friendships that develop with coworkers; share lunch hours, deadlines, responsibilities.

Hearing formally that part of my life is over was like hearing your best friend just died.
I realize I had been fighting for my disability for 3 years yet when it was spoken out as a reality it hit like a ton of bricks.

Speaking of the 3 years I still don't know if they are going all the way back to when I first filed. that is still under dispute and will be reviewed.
What is under consideration is that I tried to work during that time. Isn't that a laugh?
I had no way to support myself yet because I tried to I may be penalized. Isn't this country great?
My total earnings for last year were less than $2000 and I may be penalized for it.
My total earnings since I first filed over 3 years ago were less than $10000 and I may be penalized.
Yet, they consider how much you are able to earn to base how much you will realize in your monthly check. So if I had been able to earn a lot of money my checks would be higher but because I even attempted to work at all I may be penalized.

Because I have been so victimized in my past the reccomendation is that I may not have control over my own funds.
I guess i would be like a ward of the courts and my funds would be dispursed to me through a third party. Thats a bite because it feels like I'm being victimized again; I see their rationale but I think I should have some say in it also.

Anyway, the worst of it is over. I will now wait to see if I am under review.
The judge did say he would expedite as much as possible so I could then start the process of receiving much needed medical treatment as I've had none since I've been in CA.

So, thank you, Jesus and to all my friends and few family members who stood by me throughout this process. I couldn't have done so well without the support and encouragement I had from all of you.

Monday, June 20, 2005

War is ugly

I added that article to my posts because i think we need to be reminded war is very ugly.
That soldier was killed with my friends brother-in-law.
All the soldiers from all sides in every war believe in " their' cause.
In recent days we have learned from news articles we lied to yet again by this administation.
I want to say didn't anyone think about the very real consequences of war but I think I know the answer.
Its a business.
Casualties are faceless and nameless.
They are grouped together into a statistic so it becomes palatable for us to swallow.
In years to come when this is over we will read the death count and it will be a number. Only the family members will remember there was a human life attached to that number and what the world lost because that person is no longer here.
I won't change anything because I put this out there but I will know they won't be forgotten.
I just want each of us to pause for even a moment and comprehend the true cost of war.
Its not just the billions spent on warfare that could have been spent in other ways; what if this money had been spent on Veterans affairs because of the true toll from previous wars instead of creating more havoc in individual lives.
But the government will have you believe there is no funds available for correcting the wrongs that war created; Veterans take their oath and are promised we, the American people will take care of them and honor their service.
Every program that involves veterans has been drastically cut over recent years.
I, myself have had occasion to visit VA hospitals and its discouraging and embarrasing as a citizen of this country who enjoys the freedoms their service stood for, to see how they are treated.
Its a complex issue but if we funneled all the money that has been spent on this war alone a huge difference could have been made into these programs.
And all the other worthy programs; health care, homelessness issues, the elder issues, parenting issues; housing issues. i could go on.
But we are told there is no money. Yet, there is always money to go slaughter and be slaughtered.
I think what makes this country great in part is because we are so profoundly affected by our freedoms yet when basic needs are not being met by the masses the possibility is there to fall apart from the inside out.
Its not only terrosits we need to fear but as the saying goes " I have met the enemy and it is us".

The spoils of war

Soldier's children get Father's Day card back after man dies in Iraq

Associated Press
MOSS POINT, Miss. - Spc. Terrance Lee's young sons got a solemn reminder that Father's Day will never again be the same.

A Father's Day card that Terrance Jr., 5, and Ramone, 3, mailed to Mississippi Army National Guard soldier before his death was returned from Iraq on Friday.

"His card came back just yesterday that the kids sent," the children's grandmother, Dinah Lee, said Saturday afternoon.

Ramone initially was excited, thinking his dad had sent him a birthday card, she said.

When his grandmother explained that it was the Father's Day card they sent their dad, Ramone clutched the envelop close to his heart.

Then T.J. wanted the card, she said.

The compromise: they each took turns holding the card.

"That went on until they went to bed," Dinah Lee said.

Terrance Lee was killed by a bomb outside of Amiriyah, some 25 miles west of Baghdad, while on patrol the morning of June 11.

He was a member of the 155th Brigade Combat Team, which is made up of about 3,500 Mississippians and other National Guard soldiers from several states.
At least a dozen 155th soldiers have lost their lives in Iraq since the unit deployed in January.

Also killed in the same attack as Lee, was Sgt. Larry R. Arnold Sr., 46, of Carrier.
Both soldiers were part of Company B 150th Combat Engineer Battalion of Lucedale.
Lee was a 1999 graduate of Moss Point High School and joined the Guard in 2002.
Lee's wife, Stephanie, is expecting their first daughter in September.
The couple met at Northrop Grumman Ship Systems, where they both worked. Terrance Lee was a first class welder and she is a pipefitter.
"He loved to talk. He loved to laugh. He didn't meet any strangers," Stephanie Lee has said. "He lived to the fullest. He didn't let anything bother him."
Information from: The Mississippi Press,

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Happy Father's Day and Happy Anniversary

Happy Father's Day to all the Dad's out there and to the Mom's who also are Dad's raising children alone without the benefit of the other parent.
I want to comment on my own son, Dan, as a father.
It is such a joy to know him as a Dad with Keisha.
They are the perfect father/daughter team.
What makes it cute sometimes is as his mother I see him in her!
Not just in certain looks( she actually looks more like Jennie) but in mannerisms but especially temperment.
I won't ever forget living with them and when she realized my power as her Dad's mother the light bulb went off in her head.
Even today she will sometimes say, " Nana, YOUR son did this or that".
One of the things Dan does is to take special time with Keisha that is just for them.
He started date night with her when she was small.
He recently told me he is taking her in the mornings to a dance camp before he goes to work and has shared some of the things they talk about.
Neither of them realize the full impact that time together will have on her future.
I only remember a few times I had occasion to spend alone time with my Dad but they are seared in my memory.
He and I were the only ones in our large family that enjoyed black licorice.
Probably no more than 5 times in my growing up did he and I go to a candy store in downtown Cincinnati and he ordered a 1/4 of a pound of " licorice boats".
I don't remember why we would have been downtown together with no one else because my Dad hated to shop. It would have had to be for a different reason but that memory is gone.
The one that stays is the smell of the candy store and the taste and texture of those licorice boats.
And, my Dad was the one who would read or make up stories. another memory of " alone' time with him is funny.
I was given the job of scratching my Dad's scalp with a massager gizzmo he had that had a blue plastic brush attachment. he had a burr haircut back then and he had dandruff. i really got into this task!
I also wqas the one who was given the job of peeling his skin from sunburn.
That was pretty neat too; my goal was to see how big of pieces I could get without tearing it!
The other kids would sometimes do these jobs too but they were primarily my job.

Friday, the 17th was Dan and Jennie's 10th anniversary! What an accomplishment in today's times.
They are an inspiration to me. they have weathered many a storm and still landed on their feet.
I think the most special wedding I ever attended was theirs followed closely behind by sister's Mary's wedding.
ironically, those 2 marriages have lasted. I've attended glitzier weddings and more pomp but those 2 stand out in my memory.
I will always have in my memory the look on my son's face as he he saw his bride enter the church and walk towards him. No one else existed but those two at that moment.
I knew that they had something special that would see through the test of time.
I was proud that starting at that moment I was no longer the most important female in his life. It was as it should be; Jennie was #1. Now, I am # 3 as Keisha is #2 and I couldn't be happier.
I have the best daughter-in-law anyone could have. I think of her as a daughter.
She is as much my family as if I had given birth to her.
She is an exceptional woman.
They are one of the best families I know.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

soldier killed in Iraq

I belong to a chat room through my cell phone and have met some really interesting people.
In fact, thats how I met Bob.
Several ladies and I have chatted on the phone many times and have become part of each other's faimily.
I am sad to report that one of the ladies lost her brother-in-law this past Saturday.
He had just been home in May for a 2 week R&R and if there is any consolation I guess thats it.
He leaves behind a wife of 25 years and 3 sons, one of which was serving in his unit with him.
The son had just come home Friday afternoon for his 2 week R&R and his Dad was killed on Saturday.
A suicide bomber went off near the truck and blew up.
Another young man was also killed from a nearby town serving in the same unit.
The son is feeling the loss of his Dad as well as his leader; he is also feeling tremendous guilt over not being with his Dad at the time of the explosion. He is 21 years old; so much he's had to deal with at such a young age.
This is a Christian family so they will have their faith to sustain them but being human its not going to be easy.
When will this war end and when will the killing of our precious citizens end.
Any death is hard to grasp but the spoils of war are sickening to me.
My own son serves in the Navy and although I am so proud he serves his country I would be hard pressed to be consoled if he to lose his life for this cause.
I deeply feel for each family everytime I hear another life has been lost.
And I also feel for the ones who don't come back whole.
Everyone has their opinion and I have mine.
I know good things are being done over there to rebuild schools and infrastucture.
There is much still needing to be done.
Most people don't realize that the mail system is about non-existant over there so everyday people don't even have the mail to communicate.
I guess thank God for the internet for those that have access.
I know there is a bigger picture and I don't get to see it all and can only hope that some good comes out of this.
I remember Vietnam and I'm still trying to find the good that came of it.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

fun time in the City

OK- I'm back! we had a great time but I'm sure paying for it.
We got lost on the way to start with. He had forgotten exactly where the Best Western was they stay at it. He knew he had to go through Alameda and then back into Oakland.
Well, because we got lost I got to see the closed down Alameda Navy base that was his home port when he was in the Navy.
My sister had stayed there too in base housing when her husband was in the Navy on the same ship, the Enterprise.
It was neat to see the area my sister haunted when she lived here. I wish she was speaking to me so I could tell her about it. ( that's a different story)
We stayed in Jack London square by the Bay and took the ferry over to SBC park to the game.
That was a nice experience. It was still daylight soIi got some pictures. Yes, I was the geeky tourist!
We arrived at the park to rain.
It has rained exactly 5 times on that date in June in San Fransisco in 155 years and lucky me I got to be in part of the history.
It normally doesn't rain here after May throughout the summer.
Let me tell you - it rained.
We of course didn't have an umbrella with us. The temp had dropped down to about 55 degrees and the wind was about 30 miles an hour.
It was cold.
Our seats were right over an overhang so it was out of the question to sit there. We stood until the top of the 4th inning under a little alcove and decided to take our chances and go to the top of the bleachers on the opposite side of the park.
When we got over there an usher told us to go ahead and pick out what seats we wanted. We laughed about the " upgrade".
The Giants lost but we still had fun all in all.
On the ferry ride back we got hot chocolate and were dreaming about the heater in the room!

The next morning we had breakfast and headed into the City. We parked about a good 15 minute walk from the park.The closer lots are for people who hold season tickets.
It was a nice sunny day but still windy.
Its a nice walk along the Embarcadero. The water is right there and the boulevards are very nicely landscaped.
We arrived at the park and had another 15 minute brisk walk up to the top again.
Our seats were in the sun so I got sunburned.
My back is killing me from all the walking and standing but it was still a great time. The Giants won that game by the way!
After each game they play Tony Bennet singing " I left my heart in San Fransisco".
It was great to get away for a couple of days and do something different.
At the day game there was a section of young boys maybe 8-10 years old that were a hoot.
Probably a little league team. They did the chants you hear at the little league games.
They would yell at the umpire.
One time when I expected them to yell it was silent. I looked over and they were all eating hot dogs!

The Golden Gate bridge was a magnificent sight. As we were on the Bay bridge you could look over and see the famous orange structure jutting out of the hills and over the water.

Bob and I both message into a phone chat group and everyone was messaging us the first night for updates and for me to report the scenery. They call me " GiantsQueen"! That isn't my handle but maybe I should change it.
Now, they want us all to get together next summer here for a reunion.
Here I am new to this area and they want me to play tour guide!

So here I am with my aching back and sunburned face and scalp yet I would do it all over again.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

to the City!

Bob was scheduled to attend the Giants game tonight and tomorrow with his buddy.This is something they do annually and have for years.
They go to what he calls a back to back.
They attend the night game take the ferry across the Bay from the stadium and stay in a nice hotel and take the ferry back in the morning.
He just found out the buddy has come down sick and i've been asked to go in his place!
Poor me. I need to pack unexpectedly and have time in San Fransisco!
Poor Bob. I think he was looking forward to the time away from me!LOL.
I get an unexpected vacation.
I will update on the experienmce when I return.

Friday, June 03, 2005

unrelated events

Today this will be about some unrelated events but to me worth noting:

Plenty of Questions

I was reading an online version yesterday of my old newspaper, The Woodlands Villager and found some shocking, devastating news for me.

There it was in big headlines the name of a man I dated a few times after my divorce. He had been arrested for violating parole as a sex offender, a child predator to be exact. The incident he was originally arrested for happened in 2003 while I was in Ohio.

I am shocked, devastated and even ashamed. How could I have not seen this in him? Me, with my background. Me, the staunch advocate of getting sex offenders off the street.

I have thought back to that time and seriously can go back to nothing that would have given me a clue. Maybe, possibly that he had never been married.

He took care of his elderly sick mother and I thought that was so noble. He was educated, had the same job for over 30 years, had been in the military. He was active in his church ( the Catholic Church), which proved to be our undoing because he was so staunch that I should return to my mother church. He was in Knights of Columbus, was active in the community. He had more friends than you could count.

He was recovering from a rare form of cancer and friends chipped in to help him when his insurance was exhausted to help with medical bills. He was fun. He was thoughtful. He didn't hang around children. He played with adults.

The lesson to be learned in this is we always hear you never know who the preadator is. He could be anyone. If I didn't know; if I couldn't figure it out how in the hell would a child be protected from him or others like him? I began dating him on the recommendation of a close friend who had known him for years. I'm sure she didn't know.

I don't know what all the answers are but there are sure plenty of questions.

Prayers Requested

Continue to keep in your prayers the local man from here who is a hostage in Iraq. His family is to be commended for keeping the lowest profile possible in order to insure a potential release. I just don't want him forgotten.

Profound Memorial Day Experience

I received an e-mail from my Navy son after the Memorial Day holiday. He had the most profound experience in NYC. He and some buddies were paying respect to the 9/11 victims and were spotted by a port authority officer. They were asked to participate in a ceremony for a soldier who had been killed in Iraq 10 days earlier. They were honored to do so.

He said it will be the experience that he takes with him from all the experiences in his service to this country. Regardless of one's political beliefs, he says not to forget those who pay the ultimate sacrifice.


I have been in a spell of a fibroflareup for a couple of weeks. I hadn't had one this bad this bad for awhile. Bob and I are going through a rough spot and I'm sure that is contibuting.

One Mystery Solved, One to Go

I heard yesterday that since we now know who Deep Throat is ( the Watergate scandal) the only other mystery left from the 70's is who it was that was so vain to Carly Simon! Hope that mystery is solved soon.

Some Final Thoughts

I read Elton John has set the wedding date. I won't be able to attend as I have plans to be Christmas shopping at that time. However, next time I am in Target I will check the Club Wed computer and see what I can send.