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Posts Tagged ‘Modest Needs’

I’ve been sick, finally feeling a little better.  There are major changes in my house.  Almost overnight M decided he’d had enough of being a couch potato.  He joined a gym and goes every day at 5am.  He bought all kinds of vegetables, fruit, wheat germ, seltzer, salmon, low-fat milk, nuts and berries and healthy shit.  So I’m trying to get on board to encourage and support him by exercising, doing weights, and eating well, but I still sneak a coke once a day or two.  Soda…it’s my worst vice.  How funny is that?  I don’t even drink alcohol, or even eat much meat anymore.

I was pretty sick on Saturday when I drove my mom down to first get her car from the transmission shop in Kingston and then to Andy’s.  When we arrived at the shop, her car was all fixed and they told her she has a zero balance.  Evidently someone paid the $1800 bill for her. A stranger?  A rich relative?  She doesn’t know and nobody will tell her.  How’s that for an awesome start to the day?  Needless to say my mom was in a happy state of shock when we got to Andy’s.

I’d seen Jonah two days the week before, for two different doc appointments two days apart…his juvenile arthritis doc and his eye specialist (the one who did his operation).  Both times I met the incredibly awesome caregivers from Anderson School who transport the children to their doc appointments.   Every single one of them is amazing, even when they must be so very tired from getting up at the crack of dawn to gather Jonah and drive him 90 minutes to an 8am doctor appointment.

Not only was Jonah a little angel for both appointments, but we get great news from both doctors too.  His arthritis has mitigated and the pressure in both his eyes is nice and low – 12 in one eye and 17 in the other.  I asked the eye doc if his left eye had any sight at all and she said not really, he can just see shadows, which I knew but couldn’t help asking again.  Now we just protect that right eye with everything we’ve got.

Happy Boo

Happy Boo

When we arrived at Andy’s apartment Jonah was good again…lovey and eager to take my mom’s soft case, unzip it, and put all the sandwiches, bags of chips, and drinks away, opening cabinets and the fridge and systematically putting everything in its place.  He even did the dishes (well, a coffee cup and a plate) with aplomb.

diligently working

diligently working

He has come so far and done so much in the 2 1/2 years he’s been living and learning at the Anderson School for Autism.  He is more and more independent every day, with fewer aggressions, and I couldn’t be happier or prouder or more grateful.   I can’t believe he is almost 12.

I was contacted recently by a mom who is in a similar situation we were in, and I promised to help her in any way I can.  The bottom line is there needs to be a place where children who need residential placement can go until there is an opening somewhere.  Without it families are torn apart (the woman who contacted me had to move her two other children to a relative’s house for their safety).  It is not a matter of convenience.  It is a matter of sanity.  Of danger.  Of real risk of injury or even death, especially if the aggressive child is big, strong, or, like Jonah, simply out of control – smashing TVs, windows, and hitting, kicking, biting…

It is a disgusting thing when the most vulnerable population becomes also dangerous, and there is nowhere to turn for help.  Not the police, not the local psych centers, not the ER.  Nowhere. 

I promised long ago (and in this blog) that I would advocate someday, and so here I go.  There is an advocacy day in downtown Albany on the 11th and I will be there along with people from Anderson and other concerned nonprofits, fighting for COLA (cost of living adjustment) which has been denied these important nonprofits for 6 years.  Then I am going to make  appointments with my assemblyman and senator.  Hopefully I can get some other moms and someone from Anderson to come with me, and we can make some change happen.  How, I don’t know.  I need to research.  I need to learn how these things work.   And I need to control my temper, because this REALLY pisses me off.

On a terrible note, I was shocked and saddened to hear of Philip Seymour Hoffman‘s death-by-heroin.  Good God, what a waste of a fantastic actor and father and, evidently, a really cool guy, his rumored temper/testiness notwithstanding.  Heroin is the devil.  The needle and the damage done.  I wish these actors and musicians and everyone could learn from those who have gone before them.  I guess nobody thinks it can happen to them.

But now that Boo is doing better I can focus on this work, on my work with Modest Needs (I am learning to be a Grant Writer), and my work with the Interfaith Partnership for the Homeless.  Not to mention learning to play guitar, and getting healthier and stronger and smarter and happier.

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“There is no way that writers can be tamed and rendered civilized, or even cured. The only solution known to science is to provide the patient with an isolation room, where (s)he can endure the acute stages in private and where food can be poked in with a stick.”

~ Robert A. Heinlein

Boo is much better.  He has had good days since Andy dropped him back at his residence on Monday, and he has made only a few, easily-redirected attempts at touching his eye.  Next Wednesday he will return to the surgeon doc so she can take a look at his progress.  I am extremely grateful today – for this good news of Boo…for my mother, whose calm & clean routine (and psyche) were so severely disrupted for far too long.  For my therapist and his insights…for all the friends and strangers and work clients who have reached out to me with such sincere caring and concerned support.

Today, though, I am particularly grateful for a new path I have chosen – one, in fact, chosen when I was perhaps just 8 or 9 years old: the path of the writer.  It is about as easy a path at which to eke out a living as is any art, which is hard as hell.  Finally, though, at the tender age of 43, I have done it – and in the most spectacularly amazing way, completely befitting my personality and skill-set.  Now I make my living entirely from writing, and from home, on my computer, often in my jammies.  Somehow I work far fewer hours and earn plenty — definitely enough — have amazing benefits and health insurance, and am working for (and with) an incredible group of philanthropists!  It is only my first week and already they have expressed great pleasure at my work.  The president actually told me it was an honor to be working with me.  Me!

I write and I write and I write, with the peaceful company of Jack the dog and Almanzo the cat as comfort and companions.  It is the bliss of one left alone to enter “the zone” a writer must find in order to have uninterrupted quiet to do what writers must do – what writers are compelled to do.  I am blessed enough to have always known who I am and what I should be doing; I am doubly blessed today to be actually doing it; I am thrice blessed to be working for a charity unlike no other – helping the working poor to become self-sufficient.  In fact the charity gives such a high percentage of its money to the people (and not to administrative costs) that it was a 2012 winner of the BBB’s “great non-profits top-rated award.”  There are anonymous donors matching contributions all the time, so there is virtually nothing that does not get to the people for whom these grant programs are designed to help.

I’ve been a faithful donor to this charity for more than 10 years, as it has always made sense to me as a place to give my money — where hard-working people can find one-time help to get past a roadblock which would otherwise send them spiraling into the cycle of poverty.  Now we are launching an exciting new grant program – and I get to be a part of doing all this good, while doing exactly what I love.  I can’t express my gratitude enough and am constantly uttering thank you…thank you…thank you….for this is all I have ever dreamed of and more.

There is the temptation to express disappointment and hurt at the deafening silence from my ex co-workers who have evidently forgotten me & the many kindnesses, acts of support, and affirmation I have shown to them over the years when any of them were faced with family tragedy, personal challenges, illnesses, or just because I felt like committing acts of kindness – for not a single one of them has shown me any support or even acknowledged me with so much as a card – and there were a handful there I really did consider friends.  But the hurt melts away when I realize I do not need to harbor any resentment or anger at all (and in fact it would be a waste of time) – for I am free now, and so very happy.  I can only wish them all the same.  Remember when Amy used to work here?

Thank you, God.

“Anyway” by Mother Teresa

People are often unreasonable, illogical and self centered;
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and your God;
It was never between you and them anyway.

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