Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Poverty. 'It's not just for 3rd world countries anymore!'

Truth:  You and I have an entirely different idea of what being 'poor' is.
POOR, isn't about whether you can buy a new car this year, or get a Starbucks coffee or have a dinner out this week,
no no uh uh, poor is about whether you can eat, or feed a pet, or keep your electricity on in a rental house.
Frankly I'm getting pretty tired of telling you about it.
I've actually been telling you about this for a long, loooong time.  I don't claim poor in order to hustle you, m'kay?  I am just hoping to educate,
and of course to vent a bit he he he.

 See?  I have Internet, so I can't really be poor, right?  In fact, I used my Internet to beg for money, so I can't be that bad off and I'm probably just trying to cajole you into feeling sorry for me, right?

I should be ashamed.  In fact, I am.
Read that again please, I AM ashamed

  I have failed to live up to expectations, and it's probably all my fault for being either stupid, or lazy or just too stubbornly ignorant to succeed at the simple things. Like making money, owning stuff, driving nice cars, and setting up a serious Survival Plan (retirement) for my old age.
 I honestly never expected that I'd live this long, and I never expected anyone else to be responsible for making it easy for me.

The weird part is that I was raised to be a nice average middle class Modern American Citizen, and I chose to buck that system.  I wanted to be a farm girl, a horse trainer, and a Boonie Bunny instead of continuing my formal education.  If I'd known then what I know now, I would have stayed in school on someone else's dime (my parents of course) and gotten a degree as a Veterinarian or a Lawyer-  I think I would have been good in either profession.

Instead?  I'm a damn good Field Medic, and a pretty good Jailhouse lawyer.  Neither of those have made me any money.  That's my rant today, serious Poverty.

I live on my SSI income.  It's less than $700.00 per month.  It's abetted by Arizona state Food Stamps, I get $77.00 a month of totally free food!  My rent is $375.00, my utilities average another $150.00, and the miscellaneous dog food, chicken food, cat food, and household sundries run another $200.00 every month. 4 rolls of toilet paper, 1 roll of paper towels, 1 bottle of shampoo and 1 jug of laundry soap last me, since the cheap laundry soap can also double for dish soap or shampoo in a pinch.
  Add in my tobacco and beer addictions, and try to come up with some extra $$ for gas, maintainence and insurance on the truck I got given for free, and I'm very very happy to put $20 in the gas tank, once a month. (Don't Go Fast- Make It Last)

It all adds up to Serious Poverty.  With no easy out. ANY reportable income I can get from any outside job, is going to affect my SSI by lowering it the next month, or months, or years.  Any minimum wage job I can get is going to cost me the loss of my SSI income for a comperable time period.., and any under-the-table side job I can do is going to cost me in physical wear-and-tear,  I can do it, and WILL, but 
I am kinda getting too old for this shit.

This is Poverty.

I'd save $65.00 a month if I didn't drink beer or smoke my home rollie cigarettes!  I'd also be a lot more likely to just Nut Up.. and do something stupid. 
Why?  Because I've been living like this for a long long time, and  I think the simple stuff like a mild beer buzz at home keeps me from chasing more satisfaction, you know?

  I don't actually believe that I am stupid, but it sure looks that way from the Outside.  I am paying too much rent for a seriously substandard place, but can I do better without hurting my landlords??

Probably.  But I'd have to do it without my chickens, or their horse,  that would suck.
I'm not starving,  but I'm hungry, and I'm tired.  I don't actually need food because I am very good at economical eating, but I am hungry.  Hungry for connections with People.

 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Long Live Landlords, it's Toilet Fixing Tuesday!

I am, THAT tired again despite the fact I'm pretty much over the last Multiple Sclerosis episode I lived through recently. TIRED! As in drag assy low energy bottomed out whup dawggie too pooped to pop. Wore out on a windy day .A bit beat. A not unfamiliar state of affairs for me.. just one I'd hoped to leave in the past for at least another few months. I didn't EARN this with work; just worry

I suspect this particular episode has much more to do with mental efforts than with physical outputting although I did exercise a bit today while running errands.
I've been talking with my landlords Live and In Person while they attempt to fix or replace my toilet today.
This is an ongoing problem that I, as a Logical Fixer Sort saw as a problem with a simple resolution:  REPLACE A 50 YEAR OLD TOILET!
Instead, my genuinely NICE landlords have chosen to spend many many hours of labor, time, and gas money attempting to  repair A 50 YEAR OLD TOILET!
It's not going to work, no matter how often they try.  They've torn out the nice floor, they've bought many small parts, and they have wasted many hours over the past 6 months trying...  and it was  still leaking this morning.  On THEIR floor, in THEIR house that I pay rent for.  They finally seemed to hear me, and promised they'd be out to REPLACE it today. Yay.

All I ever dreamed of was a toilet that didn't rock precariously every time you sat down or got up, and didn't cause damage to their floors by leaking.  Is that an Impossible Dream?

So I chose not to be here earlier today since I actually thought we understood each other, and I did NOT want to seem like I was anxious, or hovering. Of course I left them a note apologizing for my temporary absence, and promised to return, hopefully at the end of repairs.  They hadn't given me an exact ETA, and since I hadn't heard from them by 11:00 am I left to do my errands.

I got back about 2 pm.  To find Major Repairs going on.  They had brought this lovely used white toilet to replace the old green one with....
And it wasn't installing well.
So I sat.  And I visited.  And I discussed many many landlordy/businessy kinds of things with the Mrs Landlady while the Mr. Landlord wrestled with two old toilets, neither of which was installing well.

Time passed.  I played Hostess, serving drinks and snacks.  Truly the wind blew like a MoFo, and I mostly kept her outside with me while I smoked cigarettes and left him to do his handyman plumbing.  I excused myself long enough to slip into the garden area to take a pee, and offered her toilet paper if she needed to do the same.  THREE HOURS (and a lot of water-over-the-porch) LATER...

He reinstalled the 50 year old toilet.  And told me it was cool now.

Hey!  It's not rocking, I know because I've sat on it since they left!

This Tale of Toileting Tuesday explains why I am Tired.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

My neighborhood.

Cow Ponds and Contemplations



So I did the secret/mystery cow pond yet again today and I realized something.  It's about the only place in my world where I can actually THINK, while doing nothing else but thinking!  Sure, I still think I need a beer to do it,
  But I turned off the phone.  Left my book half read.  Shifted my lawn chair to follow the sun, and followed the dogs at a leisurely pace while they tracked and sniffed whatever interested them.  (We watched little fishies jump for bugs, and spooked up some pretty big frogs).

This was a semi-revelation to me today-  that I can just sit, and just stroll, and just think.  It's been way too long since I was able to do this. I have, a very busy brain that's used to multi-multi tasking.
 I am the Person Who Reads, lots.  If I'm not holding a book in my hands,  I'm reading on the Internet. If I'm not actively reading someone's writings, I'm watching something that I feel is very smartly written!  And I am easily bored, or worse I am angered by stupid writing, and stupid thinking.

I try to tie all this together so that it makes sense;  it's the hardest thing I've ever tried to do.

I know that some folks consider me lazy or under inspired.  I also know that those who believe that? Really don't have a true conception of what my life IS. (I think my Purpose here, is to mostly figure myself out-  when that's done?  I'll have some solid advice to others if they request, need, or want it) 

 I will also be uneasy and ashamed at myself for believing that  I have a right to share my opinions, that belief is probably the worst thing that's ever come out of social living. Really!  My guess is that you can explain almost everything wrong with the world just that simply-  Somebody pushed their opinion.

I think I am a Philosopher, not the first or the fiftyith or the five hundredth,  just another who sees much (not all), thinks deeply, and tries to make sense of an ever confusing world.

I know I like Nature-  it's the truest religion or philosophy I know.  I've never met an animal who cared about elections.  I've never seen the weather change for someone's convienience.

And I've never felt more Peace, and Love, and Contentment than I have when I hang around a cow pond.  It's my world, and it suits me.



Saturday, February 13, 2016

How It REALLY Feels To Beg On The Internet

Last month I opened a gofundme account after a lot of careful consideration.  Every single lady-like part of me screamed 'Bad idea! Bad idea! You are humiliating yourself, Self, and my god your PRIDE, ewww'  while the nitty gritty hard core practical side of me said 'Why not? After all, Self, you are already suicideally depressed so what's the worst that can come of begging in public?  Best case scenerio, you will get some help, Self, worst case scenerio is things stay exactly as they were'.

So I overruled my lady-like civilized rational self and I begged.  In public.  Here's what I've learned from this experience.

1.)  It is truly difficult to write an effective begging campaign.  How much should I ask for?  And for what, exactly?  Who am I actually begging from, when my friends list on facebook is quite small?  Which 'voice' should I write in that would have the most appeal to my audience?
 (Trust me- that was a toughie.  YOU try paring down your natural tendencies to 'suck-it-up', ie make light of heavy realities, etc)  I wrote at least 10 drafts for my campaign, ranging from humorous to intellectual, from guilt-tripping to whiney.

2.)  I've learned that I didn't actually die from embarrassment.  Yeah, I got a little sick to my stomach and shed a few tears and probably drank more beer than is good for me while obsessing over the campaign, but I didn't die of shame.  (You were wrong, Mom, bless your heart..  you don't actually die of shame).

3.)  There are some absolutely awesome people in the world of the Internet, and they were not the ones I was half hoping would hear me!  A  loose group of great Internet friends responded to my plea, and I was overwhelmed by the love and support shown from people I've mostly never met in person.  Some of these folks are living in nearly the same depths of poverty that I am, yet they opened their hearts and wallets with a few dollars and a lot of encouragement.  (Note to Self:  I'm not only beholden and extremely grateful, I'm going to have to do a much deeper self search to see if I can figure out why I've seemed to make a better impression on people who haven't met me in person).

4.)  The wild mood swings I experienced daily while begging were enlightening.  From anticipation each day I opened my email to see if someone donated another $5.00, to the crashing disappointment when I saw nobody had, to the wonderfully humbling gratitude towards the ones who did.  To the resentment, oh yeah, the resentment and the pain-  I am ashamed to say I had some hateful feelings about  people I knew could help but didn't...  and then anger at myself for that resentment.  After all, it was begging!  I kept telling myself that if I was on a street corner with a guitar and a hat out, I couldn't be mad at the folks who didn't throw a quarter, I should just be grateful to the ones who did.

5.)  IMPORTANT!  I learned that I should never ever look at anyone else's campaign on gofundme, for in that direction lies utter despair.  As I struggled with all the feelings involved in collecting $500 dollars, I quickly learned that I could rage, actually rage over a campaign for someone's 18 year old cat who needed surgery- that particular campaign had already garnered over $12,000 dollars.

6.)  I learned that many of the people I am in casual contact with  (at least here on the Internet) don't have the same conception of poverty that I do.  I pray they never will.  It's made me a tougher stronger better person, but because I've always been upbeat, proud, and kept my sense of humor, it's hard to explain that it really is HARD to survive with no savings, no retirement plans, and no partner to share the tough times with.

7.)  Writing updates for my campaign, thanking each person that helped.. has been even more difficult than writing the original begging campaign.  Not because I am not grateful-  oh I am!  More than you may imagine!  But because it brought up every single one of these mixed feelings every single  time I posted a new picture of myself (I am not photogenic!) and a sincere thank you.

  So I have to say THANK YOU, from the bottom of my heart to those who've helped me.  I can't tell you enough just what that means to me.  My younger brother Matt donated his old truck to me unasked-  with your help I have purchased brand new tires for it.  My entire campaign and all these confusing feelings paid for 3 tires!  My little sister Allison posted a link to my campaign twice, even though I suspect she was not comfortable at all with her big sister begging,  THANK YOU Allison!  One of your friends donated $25 dollars to me, tell Francine I'll pay her back, ok?

I wasn't born in poverty, I was raised in a middle class Southern California envoirnment in the 60's.  I was reasonably well educated although I don't have a college degree.  I come from a fairly large family, and at least when I was young the family connections were strong...  I don't know what happened to that.
  I turned away from the standard middle class expectations for a successful life and chose the path I've walked instead.  I may have been an oddity to my family, but I've never truly embarrassed them-  I've never been in jail, or committed to a mental hospital, or shown up on someone's doorstep in the middle of the night seeking help.  I just failed to be 'successful'  in the way that was more conventional.

I did marry once, and promptly divorced several years later when I realized that I wished to raise my child without the help or hinderance of a sub-standard mate.  I forsook any court ordered Child Support from a man I disliked and feared, and raised my son without much money but with a whole lot of love.  My son Daniel is a good man today-  some of his youth was a pretty bumpy road but he's grown up well.  He knows he is loved, and he is a strong man.  I can't answer all his questions about family connections because I really don't know, but I have provided him with contact information on everyone I can possibly think of who has a blood relationship to him.

So these are some of the lessons I've learned from my recent stint of begging on the Internet.  I'll never do it again,  but it HAS been educational.  Almost every single day of my life, I learn something new.  Sometimes it's about how wonderful people can be.. sometimes it's about how my own mind and spirit work.  Every day I wake up breathing is a GOOD day you know.  Love, Maggie Baker 2-13-2016   gofund.me/2vkekwmc


Sunday, February 15, 2015

Yup, it's been awhile

Seriously,  I am old, or at least aging rapidly.  It's why I am blogging (oh so passe) instead of facebooking,  I'm looking for a place to drop things that mean a lot to me.


 Why, you ask?  Well because there's  some things I really feel need to be said, yet facebook isn't the place to say them.  Know how I know that?  Simply because I've said it now and then there, and totally failed to make myself understood.

There is a reason why Personal Blogs  started, then grew, then ultimately failed-  nobody wants to actually read much more than the 140 character tweets anymore.  We've both become, and are raising an entire generation of people that truly expect instant knowledge, instant gratification, and instantaneous news and views...
 Just one click.  You can share. You didn't create it, you seem to have nothing to offer expanding it, but by God you can prove you saw it, and shared it.

And that makes me sad.  What makes me even sadder is that I instantly stopped while writing this in order to look for a perfect meme to explain what I am saying!  What happened to the idea of in depth research?

And since this is personal,  I will share my own real feelings  about how lonely this whole huge world wide web is getting. 
If a lot of your life is lived here inside the Internet,  it would be awesome if somehow, you got some acknowledgement for that.  Few of us really truly expect to suddenly go Viral or Internet Famous, but it would be cool to know that your real Worth means more than an occasional 'like'.

My point?  Is halfway between my own confusion and my attempt to help some teenagers I'm committed to because I know them and like them, and feel like they can use the help.  Wisdom:  I wish I could say I have it.  Maybe next year? 

Friday, May 9, 2014

Wow.  It's been awhile. Not because I had nothing to say, but because I had so MUCH to say.  I couldn't really figure out how to condense it, and it's been so much easier to just effing facebook!
  I've been doing a lot, living a lot, and thinking a lot.
 It's still me.  Older, fatter, slower, and possibly even a little wiser than I used to be.  Trust me: I'm not fatter because I am eating better, I'm fatter because I'm eating cheaper. And drinking more cheap beer every single day I can afford to.

I spend a great deal of time alone, mostly by choice. Partly by circumstance, since it's a long ways to walk to town from here. I depend on a few totally Cool Folk to take me to the store now and then, and they've always come through!

 I'm ok with that, I really don't have to get out much. I know that it's hard for lots of people to understand, but I've grown comfortable with the fact that once a month is often enough to hit the stores.

  I covet a nice, quiet, peaceful life by myself, for myself.  
I'd like to keep a few chickens. Love my dogs. Keep a horse! It's my Goal: it's what I've been struggling to achieve for a bunch of years now.  It gives me time to think, and reflect, and Know Myself.
 How hard is it supposed to be, to just get a little peace and still manage to keep food in the fridge and the lights on? I dunno, but it's left me semi-gracefully aging, looking like this:



You see, my idea of peace may not be quite the same as yours.  I am looking for a Path: and I chose early in my life that I wasn't going to find it by owning things. Don't get me wrong, Things are GOOD, I'd love to have more things yet..
I see so many folk get so totally hung up on having Things that they forget what it is to find joy in life without having Things.
  That said;  I will say true, I am jealous of all the Things you guys got that I don't. 
  Like a car. Or clothes that aren't 10 years old. Or hot water at your command, or new shoes, or the ability to order a pizza and pay for it. Like any of those mundane teeny details that you take for granted, that would just blow my mind like 'Wow; y'all eat out??  How cool is That, eh?' And 'Whoa!  You actually just paid 5 bucks for a cup of coffee??  That's a month's worth of caffeine for me, Dude"
 It's hard, but not impossible. I am living proof;  I've been doing it for a whole lot of years.  Often peacefully, occasionally working my mental and physical ass off, and always determined to find a way to explain to myself and others just why we're here.

 And then the Big Old Cold Reality steps in, you start to care about someone else again. It opens your heart, even if you didn't want it opened again. It's wonderful, and terrifying to love people, and I've started to love my neighbors. Scares crap outta me, but also feels good, yanno?
(I am good and intuitive with the animals.. you humans require so much more of my mind and my heart in order for me to aid you!)

And how arrogant is that- to think that I'm here to aid anyone but myself on this Path?
I was going to talk about 27 other things that were on my mind but hey- BEER! Let's just leave this with a cool pic of my own Rescue Kitty, Lefty.
Y'all know me, y'all know I do my Critter & People Pals first.
 


Friday, January 31, 2014

TALK TO YOUR KIDS

 3:04 PM 1/31/2014

My Dear Son,

Here's a letter for you.  It's one I've been working on for quite some time, both on paper and in my head.

It all started nearly a year ago when I found out you'd been arrested.  Imagine my suprise, since I'd actually believed you when you'd said you were doing fine.  Funny thing, it looked like you were, and I didn't do enough deep digging to actually prove one way or the other whether you were or not.  Silly me.

I had been pretty sure I understood your reasons for not wanting me any closer to you or your family. After all, I have been critical of your choices in the past, and it's easy to remember that you think of me as just an Old Drunk who's made many bad choices herself, huh.

It's not like I gave you really Great Examples about how to live.  Nope, I just fought to raise you. I kept food on the table, shoes on your feet, kept you in school, paid attention to you nearly 24/7, loved you always, taught you every single thing I knew about survival and happiness, and avoided jail myself.
And never EVER came close to actually giving you away.  I would have fought to the death anyone who tried to take you from me because I believed that Love.. really would get you through times of little money. 

Perhaps I should have listened to those who told me that I couldn't raise you on your own with no child support.  I knew that I could, and wanted to more than anything I'd ever done in my life.  At 31 years old I made that commitment to raise you.  I could have chosen different: It was always an option to abort you, or birth you and give you away.

Trust me, I thought about it. A LOT.  Should I have just dumped you into the system and let all the chips fall wherever?  It probably would have made MY life easier.

I have to wonder today, if it would have improved yours.

It's the choice you made for YOUR children, without ever once asking me if I wanted to make that committment one more time.

Nobody has ever been promised that Parenting is easy, and I've had really high hopes for the past 5 years that you, my beloved son, would figure that out as you became a parent yourself.  Of course it's a little selfish of me to think that raising your own kids would give you new insights into the heart and soul that was put into raising you..
 But I dreamed you would someday catch up with your old Ma here and say "Wow: Thanks for hanging in there with me Mom".

That fantasy kept me warmish during all the times you made excuses about why you couldn't share my grandkids with me.
 I continued to defend you ferociously against any and all of your detractors, and make many excuses for you to any who actually loved you or me enough to inquire about you.  I BELIEVED in you my son, and truly believed you were growing up, reaching out, and becoming someone I'd be really proud to know.

Then you got busted, in a very stupid way for a very stupid crime.  That was.. STUPID, yup.  Do Crime/Do Time etc etc but you gave away my grandkids by choice.
 You did something there that is so far beyond anything I ever taught you or did to you that I am at a complete loss:

Did you want me to 'rescue' these children that I hardly even know?
 I could, probably, though it would take a lot of outside help. (I am old, single, poor, disabled and not a great candidate for Fostering 2 toddlers)

  Do you expect me to 'do the right thing' because I mostly always have?
 I'd be happy to try, but only when I believe it's best for the 2 babies involved.

 Are you counting on me to Parent you one more time despite the fact you're in prison and your wife is missing and your children are being fought over in court by folks I don't know?
 Then I suggest you talk to me.  2 letters in the year you've been incarcerated indicate that you really don't feel.. like talking to your Mom, Son.

I am sorry you are in prison Son.  So am I.  We are all locked up and locked down in our own ways, I love you.