political grandstanding or simple cruelty

My brother has colon cancer. If he was like you and me treatment would be readily done. But since, he’s in White Deer, Pa at FCI Allenwood that’s not the case. It took eight months of bleeding with every bowel movement before they would even allow him to have the MRI.

The Warden Thompson knows he is handicapped. He wears corrective footwear because his feet were severed forty-five years ago in an auto accident. The footwear supports his ankles so he can walk but the prison doesn’t provide them so he is wheelchair bound. So knowing this Ms. Thompson (warden) provides a bus that doesn’t have a lift and then says he can either crawl up into the bus or not have the MRI done. He’s crawled in the bus while the guards stand there laughing. Captain Klinefelter takes perverse pleasure in tormenting my brother. On more than one occasion has said, “the only way you’re leaving this facility with handicap assessible is in a body bag .”

The MRI showed a large mass and the oncologist says he needs immediate treatment but Allenwood cannot meet his medical needs onsite. My brother has told the oncologist as well about his denial of his footwear and wheelchair. Thankfully, at the hospital he is given a wheelchair once he has crawled out of the bus to the ground. Seriously sadistic treatment by the guards doing the transport. Where has human compassion gone?

His lawyer, Robert Sullivan is court appointed but with that comes equally as much frustration. I’m not sure if his caseload is overwhelming or he’s simply indifferent. I’ve written the attorney general with all the dates, grievances filed and denied requests but that’s where the political crap comes into play…. the legal system works inefficiently and slower than a snail’s pace.

I’m writing, hoping someone has insight that I don’t have. Everyone should have access to medical care. I’m not asking for his freedom, I’m simply asking he is transferred to a facility that can give him the appropriate care.

The cost of freedom

An unusual prompt, it suggested living in the apartment of my dreams rent free but it came with one stipulation which was living with my worst enemy. Could I do it? What rules or stipulations would I need in place?

I read the prompt and laughed. Not in this life time is my initial response.

One, it would have to be quite the spectacular apartment for that to briefly be a consideration because of the key stipulation. Worst enemy?

I’m sure you’re thinking how bad can her worst enemy be.

Even pausing to consider the interesting addition to the prompt with the possible rules or stipulations my reluctance would continue because we all know how well good intentions work and let alone the rules. Every rule has a gray area and naturally that leaves the temptation to break them wide open for interpretation. What I see as unacceptable another might see as what’s the big deal. Trusting my instincts matters more than any assurance from my worst enemy.

I’ve lived with alcoholic parents that were abusive alcoholics and then naively married an abusive man so living in stressful situations is something I’m familiar with already. I’ve learned as I aged, don’t put myself in situations that have potential risk. Don’t invite trouble.

Which is why regardless how tempting the apartment might be, the price tag is too high.


Unexpected hesitation @Lyn Crain

Her soul begs to escape the waking hours

That invites every harshly spoken word

So many, they have become blurred

Tears shed randomly like spring showers

Glistening upon a bosom thrust skyward

Burdened until she feels discarded

Or tis maybe she should be less guarded

But what soul offers mere words

Pain depicted with every unturned page

Defying impulses of unexpressed hopes

Bewildered by unknown expectations

Does she sigh or rage

Defined by this society’s tropes

before her soul creates a foundation.

Sky deception

The weather report said sunny with clear skies but looking upward I can’t help but wonder where the weatherman got his eyes checked. Clear in Vegas is definitely an illusion like winning big at the slot machine. Early this morning, the smog hung like a flannel sheet over the rounded mountain tops that surround the valley aka the dust bowl. At least, the wind has finally dissipated but the dust in the air hasn’t yet. It takes a while for it to settle. Lessons learned since the move to Sin City. People talk about the heat living in the desert but the smog shrouds aren’t mentioned but should be.

Selling a Home Isn’t for the Weak of Heart

Especially when you’ve just had foot surgery. Remember when I fell last fall, well that fall just keeps on giving. A friend suggested the giving foot as a short story. Not a bad idea considering all that has happened with it.

Initially, all the pain was in the left foot. I went to the doctor’s and yup I had broken it and hyper-extended the Achilles tendon. I got to wear an Aircast for 4 months and physical therapy. Unfortunately, the physical therapy brought another issue. I also had a break just under my ankle bone that didn’t show in the initial MRI but did in the second one. Lucky me another month in the boot and different physical therapy.

I was getting pretty good at painting and doing the things that needed to get done before we showed the house with the boot on. One learns to adapt when you have a honey to do list. Thankfully, at the end of March, I got out of the boot. Yay! Now, I can get things done.

I still had some painting on the back of the house that required me to be high on the ladder. I was standing on the ladder step but had to extend on my tippy toes to reach. OWWWW! That really made my right foot hurt. I called the doctor and he did an ex-ray. Oh no, the second metatarsal was broke and so was my third toe. It was not in a position it was supposed to be either. I had a huge discoloration in the same area. Lucky me, back into a boot while they scheduled surgery. The doctor indicated the break looked about the same age as the other ones but that the added stress aggravated it to the point it gave out.

May 26th, I had surgery. I have screws holding the metatarsal and toes in place. I have long pins sticking out of my toes to hold them in the proper position. I can weight bear in the boot for very limited periods of time. As painful as it is, I’m not even pushing the limit. This is by far the most painful surgery I’ve ever had and I’ve had quite a few now. I spend a lot of time sleeping or icing it. The pain takes so much out of me that I don’t sleep well or for very long.

My first recheck is June 3rd.

In the meantime, we’re still showing the house except the perspective buyers are stuck with me being here. Our realtor is taking them around while I stay seated in the recliner with an ice pack I’m doing that every hour to minimize the swelling. If I don’t my foot balloons so much that the boot feels like a vice. The pressure on the pins is horrific so I am really keeping on top of it.

Like I’ve said many times, timing is everything and I’ve been never been lucky. I saged the house and put out fresh salt to clear the energy after that skitso buyer who couldn’t make up her mind and yanked us around for a month. But I unfortunately, hadn’t done it before I did the last ladder experience and the new injury. Nor did it help having her keep the house in limbo because on realtor it indicates our house has been on the market for a longer period of time.

This growing old isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. I’m not a patient person by nature and this limbo makes me grumpy.

Vic is doing the deck repairs alone because I can’t be on my feet. There were some boards with serious cracks and that’s not safe on a second story deck. He’s replacing them. It’s actually not that difficult and a helluva lot cheaper than rebuilding the deck. We did have the deck checked and it is structurally sound except for the three boards. Those boards happen to be where snow falls off the roof and sits in the winter. Yup another casualty of growing old. Shoveling isn’t easy. Another reason why Vegas is so appealing… no shoveling.

On a positive note, my daughter and granddaughter are already moved into our new home. Olyvia had a sleep-over with her friends on Sunday night. She was so excited. She’s never had one because her father didn’t want any noise at the house. Good thing for Olyvia, her grandparents and Mom don’t mind the sound of children having fun.

Story-a-day 18

“Coffee sure tastes good to me today.”

I turned my head to see who was speaking. There wasn’t anyone near me except the llama. I shook my head and took another sip of my coffee. I sighed as I savored the delectable brew.

“I put coffee in my coffee, today. So what are your plans for the day,” asked the llama chuckling at his wittiness.

“I’m going to…. ” I sprang up from the bench. There’s no way a llama could talk. “Who’s playing practical jokes?” I looked under the bench for a speaker, or a microphone. Anything to explain the voice but I discovered nothing or no one. This is bonkers. I must be losing my mind.

“You’re going where? Is it somewhere fun?”

“No, it’s not fun. I’m going to the hospital to get my Botox injections.”

“Oh, are there a lot of needles involved?”

” How are you talking? Llamas don’t talk.”

“Who says llamas don’t talk. We talk all the time. I believe you’re misinformed. “

I slugged back my coffee. ” I need to leave or I’ll be late. Have a good day.”

“Hey could you answer one question before you leave. Do you think someone will look at me the same way I look at coffee?”

I scurried away but not without turning back several times. The llama continued to sip his coffee on the bench. I couldn’t help but wonder what was in my coffee.

Story-a-day day 17

Having migraines with aura’s makes writing and reading challenging. Unfortunately, this past three days have been even more so difficult with an earache on top of the migraine for the last four days. Yesterday, I tried Hyland’s earache drops. Day one was still painful as all get out but I’m happy to say day two is much better. I still have the migraine but tomorrow relief is in sight, I get my shots.


@ Edna St. Vincent Millay

The railroad track is miles away, 
    And the day is loud with voices speaking, 
Yet there isn't a train goes by all day 
    But I hear its whistle shrieking.

All night there isn't a train goes by, 
    Though the night is still for sleep and dreaming, 
But I see its cinders red on the sky, 
    And hear its engine steaming.

My heart is warm with the friends I make, 
    And better friends I'll not be knowing; 
Yet there isn't a train I wouldn't take, 
    No matter where it's going.


Lily stood watching the train disappear on the horizon and vowed that one of the times when the train left she would be on it. Her good friend, Sally, laughed and shoved her shoulder before sauntering off. “Get real, Lily.”

Lily shrugged her friend’s negativity aside. No way was she going to let anyone keep her in this no-where town one second longer. She hated living in Trenton. It sucked the life out of everyone that lived there. Just look at her friend, Sally knocked up with her second child. That worthless boyfriend of hers doesn’t keep a job for longer than to get another fix. Sally has more excuses than the dictionary has definitions. But it doesn’t matter, she’s living at her parent’s home, taking care of a toddler with another child on the way.

Lily glanced at her phone, noting the time. She scurried home to get into her uniform. She hated the smell of grease, french fries and onions. The smells had soaked into her clothing no matter how many times she washed them , Lily ‘s room even with clean uniforms reeked of fast food.

She glanced under her mattress to check her stash. The crumpled bills totaled sixteen hundred dollars. She needed two more paydays to have enough but she wasn’t sure her sanity would last that long or that the girl would hold the room for her. Lily was scared that Judy would find another taker before she could scrap the required funds. There had to be a way she could get the money sooner but how. Lily made another vow, she was never going to be poor again after this.

Lily drudged through another shift at grease central. It was all she could do not to tell her boss where the sun shone but she didn’t. She dodged groping hands on her way home from the neighborhood homies before collapsing on her bed. She reached under the mattress to reassure herself the stash was still there before falling asleep.


Clenching her exhausted eyes shut from the sun’s daggers Lily pondered every angle of her plan. The train ride was one hundred dollars, and the apartment was twelve hundred leaving her a measly three hundred to live on until she got a job. What if she didn’t get one. She didn’t have enough to cover month number two. But, if she waited the room could disappear, and then she wouldn’t have a place to stay while she got a job. Lily knew she was running on fumes. Go or stay?

Go. Nothing was going to stop her from chasing her dream. She threw her clothes into a bag. Lily grabbed a couple of bracelets, her teddy bear and her toiletries. She decided to leave her Mom, a lipstick heart on the mirror before leaving the room. She closed the door but then realized that she hadn’t grabbed her stash from under the mattress. She took a deep breath and closed the door on this life.

Lily walked to the train station. She purchased a one way ticket to Manhattan. She smiled thinking the city that never sleeps will soon be home. She looked back at Trenton’s skyline, her Momma was going to be heartbroken. The train whistle snapped her back into the moment. It’s now or never.

“All aboard.”

“Letting go of the past means opening up to the future, and sometimes the unknown is scarier than the past.”― Tamara Lechner

Story-a-day with Julie Duffy-Day 11

The mice scattered across the IPad screen and Macavity’s attention was captured. His head bobbled with the mice’s movement until one mouse touched another and squeaked. He jumped back like he had been bitten. He glanced everywhere for the assailant before moving closer again. His hunched body ready for whatever the mice did next. Macavity inched closer to analyze the situation. Another shriek from a mouse. He had to know where the mice were. He pawed the IPad edge in search of the mice before gingerly placing his paw upon the screen. He captured a mouse. Yay, his mission accomplished.

100 w/c.

Hi, I’m Macavity

Story-a-day with Julie Duffy

Dear Me,

Let’s discuss your biggest concern first and then get to the others.

Your new friend Jimmy, he’s insecure like you are in the ever- changing world of the early 70’s. I know you didn’t consider how fragile male egos are when you stepped into the fiasco that changed the dynamics of your friendship. Insecure white boys bullying the only black boy in a predominantly white school. You couldn’t let three of them hurt your friend, that’s not your nature. In retrospect, you should haven’t gotten help from an adult. But that’s also your nature since the adults you know are unreliable.

It was difficult for Jimmy to have his ego bruised like that. Pretend for a few minutes that you were him, having a white girl jump right into a fight and beat the boys up that you were losing too. You would’ve been embarrassed as all get out too. I’m sure when you weren’t around them tormented him more about having a white girl fight his battles.

Jimmy felt victimized by the bullies and unfortunately you added to the picture. It’s hard for a boy even a man to be rescued by a girl. Sometimes, girl instead of jumping head first into the mess you need to look at the bigger picture. I was and still am very proud of your loyalty to your friends. You’re a fierce warrior.

But then that also was the same thing with that guy Richie, deep down I think you knew he wasn’t going to be there for the long run. He said all the things you needed to hear because he played on your vulnerabilities. He knew about your home situation with abusive alcoholic parents so it was easy for him to seduce you. I know it’s hard to look at things cynically when you’re young but making a pros and cons list has served the adult you very well. Look at the bigger picture and what every angle really is before letting your heart and body get involved.

Older Me.