Began April 11th-12th, 2013
Updated on Sunday, April 21st, 2013
So Close Yet So Far Away
Here I am in a Denny’s not too far from where I used to live. I look around me and see my Nicole Lee suitcase with an image of a French Boulangerie and it makes me happy I spent the $35 on it at Oz. I look at my Nikon camera that I am glad I invested in for $800 and wish I had the brain space open to go look for work and shoot some great shots of restaurants that I know were interested in my work.
I long to live where there are no abusive people, not due to Alzheimer’s disease, dementia or just from being ignorant, rude or unthoughtful. I know that isn’t hard to do is it? I know that you are supposed to be tolerant of people who have disabilities or disorders they cannot control but it is still abusive nonetheless to live with them.
I look at one of the books in front of me entitled “The Productive Writer by Sage Cohen” and think about how consumed I have been with survival and making sure I was not homeless by April first. Well, my sister’s husband who very unlawfully became Power of Attorney on my mother’s behalf from my now diseased father, didn’t care whether I was homeless and like my siblings, were apathetic to my situation and go against what families are supposed to stand for and represent.
I was going to move to Arizona and had the place picked but then got word, with my personal possessions in a 17 foot U-Haul truck that my application was chosen by the John Stewart Company by Vista Del Rio Apartments in Santa Ana, CA. This was a no-brainer because as a disabled American citizen in the United States of America, this 6 year, one of a kind project is the first built by a company for disabled people. Thousands of people all over Orange County and Los Angeles County applied for it, but my letter was read and remembered, as all things I write are. The $444 rent will keep me in CA by my friends that I know, the places I love and all that I grew up around. Since I was in a nearly fatal car accident over 15 years ago now that nearly killed me with a seizure behind the wheel, I am never driving as long as I live. Not a problem but only in regards to shopping and getting things like water, paper towels and other things. At this new place, that will be ready to move into by June 1st, 2013, Good Will Industries will help me do my shopping when needed, which is a life saver for anyone who doesn’t drive. Even though I lived next door to my parents for 12 years, nobody in my family ever helped me with anything, which doesn’t amount to much for family. So stressing the positives, things will be great by the middle of June. I was just told by Carlos the manager of Vista Del Rios that my new place will be furnished with a new table and chairs, new full size bed and dresser and night stand. (I get to sell many of the pieces I have in storage since I know this!)
This place was supposed to be finished in April-which is now. Due to being removed from my mom’s place, I have lived in substandard but cheap motels since the week before April 1st, not wanting to be anywhere near the property due to Mike Bunker’s threats of him calling the police on me etc.
Sometimes we don’t get what we want in life and I wonder how many people do?
MY BELIEF SYSTEMS ARE CHANGING AND EVOLVING INTO A COMBINATION OF BELIEVING INTO A POWER GREATER THAN WHAT WE ALL CAN SEE BUT NOT NECESSARILY AS THOUGH A PERSON IS RESPONSIBLE. I had a lot of wisdom before all this happened and didn’t need any more bad experiences to make me a smarter, hardier tougher individual. I had already gained enough wisdom to write then volumes and sell them; I didn’t need any more hard knocks.
Oddly enough, a big statue of the Virgin Mary with Baby Jesus, has been following me around in my Trader Joe’s bag on wheels, mainly because we couldn’t find a box big enough to pack her to put her in my storage vaults. The other reason was I felt she would give me more peace in the strange hotel rooms I knew I would be staying in than in a storage vault! I was right. (It does paint a rather odd sight for anyone who would look at me and this Hodge Podge of personal belongings, which is quite embarrassing to say the least.)
I know the story behind my situation that sits here waiting for my good friend Mike Darras to come and pick me up. I stayed at Econo-Lodge? on Garden Grove Blvd in __ across from the Ranch Motel hotel last night, which I wouldn’t recommend because Sunny the guy who manages it, started opening the door with his key when I was without a bra or shirt with ten minutes to spare of check out time! He wouldn’t let me stay on the property and called the police to escort me off the property, but that was a blessing. The officer had the common sense, which the manager did not, to offer his help in carrying my suitcases, that I couldn’t single-handedly where Marvin the friendly cab driver drove me to the Denny’s I now sit at now. I filled up his gas tank and he very gladly helped me with my many bags with a smile on his face.
Before I had to struggle and spend endless days at my desk sending faxes, doing research on places to live in CA and elsewhere, I used to think of what story to do a Feature Story on and what company to create photos for….nothing since October of last year.
The money I had reserved for rent and my needs was spent on hotels to stay here in CA for a Social Security meeting which did prove fruitful. They are increasing the amount I am getting because a director in Arizona realized they were under paying me-something I knew just by the dollar amount! My next check will be bigger but what I want most of all is to earn money doing what I love and know what constancy is again, peace of mind and a little joy. I have had none of those things over the last few months. Actually I shouldn’t say that. Some of the things that have given me joy and made me happy over the last few months were:
1. Going to the Huntington Beach pier and shooting photos of the birds flying, walking the pier which lowers my blood pressure and gives me JOY like nothing else can. I can’t explain it but then again, I guess I don’t have to.
2. Seeing my friend Erin on the pier that day with her beautiful daughter and taking a winning photo of her that you could frame.
3. Seeing my friends Carlos and Antonio at IHOP and talking with them
4. Seeing more and more read the things I write and get something positive out of it. Witnessing my followers on this site growing to how 836 subscribers with about 20 countries reading it and tuning in.
5. Knowing things will only get better than this horrid time in my life is only temporary
6. Not being sorry I spent money on my mother and enjoying the time I had with her. She was receiving not one cent of her Social Security checks for over 5 years and I made sure she had what she needed and a bit of what she wanted as well. I did things with her, bought her nice Alfred Dunner clothes when the old ones had holes in them, made meals for her and will always remember those times. Now my evil sister won’t even put the phone up to her ear! It is hard to believe the same sister who is 11 years older than me once made doll dresses for me and gave me Barbie dolls now worth a fortune. (Any doll collectors we will talk later on!)
7. Let’s see, back to the things that gave me joy this month-really nothing this month except for the few meals I had out at Don Chente & meeting Erick the cook who makes their great food. Also, some of the locals in Long Beach were nice to talk to on Pine Street and a guy named Poncho who was watering his roses in his CA style house I talked to one day who told me how to take the “Blue Light” off Pacific Coast Highway where the Tower Hotel was I was staying at. (Whatever you do, do not stay at the Tower Hotel though I am sure you wouldn’t just by the looks of it. It was booked site unseen via hotels.com. Use Travelocity.com instead. The hotels are better, better prices and just better all the way around. I could write an article on why not to stay at a number two rated hotel. My opinion is why have a hotel around where the manager never answers his phone and is rude? )
8. I have been waiting for a check to arrive all week and when it does I will buy a Greyhound ticket to Tucson, Arizona and go finally see my Uncle Lewis who still represents what our family used to-good, kind, loving and stands up for what’s right like I do. He has the guest room waiting for me “with the good bed” as he jokingly says. There are a couple of places I want to write Feature Stories on that are in my phone to contact that I researched too.
9. Easter Sunday Dinner with my friends Dalal, Joseph, and their sons Mark and John. They made it all “right” when Mike Bunker insisted I move on Easter Sunday all my things into a storage vault instead of just leaving it at mom’s place two more months when I have lived there 12 years!
10. Taking my mile walk each day to the nearest bus stop by my Uncle Lewis’s house and soaking in the blue skies, Arizona purple mountains I remember so vividly as a child and looking at the various forms of cacti, and casa style adobe Spanish style houses and read brick they don’t build in southern CA. It is all facing, due to the earth quake ordinances.
I discovered today on Sunday that Uncle Lewis, in spite of his screaming at me the words “Why don’t you just shut up” a thousand times, not really but try 10 ten times. I swore to God that I would never utter another word to him and never give him the chance to say anything cruel to me again. Then after juggling my finances a thousand ways, making sure my phone stays on and connected, my JETPACK portable router keeping me hooked to the net, and arranging a payment plan with Uhaul, the company has my life in storage vaults….I chose to pretend I was Mother Teresa and let him say anything he wanted to me and obey whatever rules he wanted to keep me there until the first of the month.
He wanted me out today and then after his two friends that live on the block talked to him, and I explained I came to visit him and would have never come if I didn’t think he would be there for me.
I was diagnosed with complex and simple partial epilepsy when I was 9 and had a pretty tragic existence. I concentrate on being around positive and uplifting people so I can start the day in a positive light. That is not what has been going on for a year.
When I lived with mom I was spending hours at a computer monitor, making phone calls and sending faxes to infinitum to Bruce Broadwater on the CA Senate, Tony Villiagrosi who didn’t return one phone call or fax and as a human being does not impress me. HE is all out for Latino equality and if I were a Mexican lady with 10 illegitimate kids, he would have returned the call. I may not say the popular thing but it is the TRUTH.
I get paid a check that is a little higher than the one before and it can go to rent in a nicer place where I can detox from the yelling, smoking racism and stupidity that has gone on since my arrival.
How I long to go into “live mode” again, and just enjoy life, wake up relaxed, not like a firing squad is after you if the hotel isn’t paid for the next night. I am not retarded and can add and subtract but when you get $629 in SSI it goes as quickly as soon as the check is wired in my bank account. The next check in May will be $689 which will help pay for my phone. Thanks to Jerome at the Social Security Administration in Tucson, Arizona in 45 minutes he realized I was being under-paid $500 a month, the equivalent of almost one social security check, each month. He put in a re-assessment and evaluation realizing that I was really given nothing and that I was living in a house with no heat, no cable, clogged plumbing but not enough money to fix any of it.
It was a catch 22-how do I get a place when the amount I was paid each month wouldn’t cover at least $1000 rent?
I am telling you this because: Any time you think you are being underpaid in life or that something isn’t right-go with your hunches or inner voice.
The odds of you being right are pretty good.
Look into it.
Educate yourself as I did to accomplish the task at hand. If racial discrimination is rampant in Garden Grove, CA with most the people who are presidents and managers being Vietnamese or Mexican and giving preferential treatment to those races in jobs. (NOT FAIR) I list there and want the right person to get the job with the right abilities, period!
I didn’t work my ___ off getting a 4.0 GPA and honor roll every semester in two colleges, learn a trade and then have racism and bigotry and hatred put me out of work as in the comment “We don’t want a white teacher”. The Vietnamese said that-about 20 of them. Then the thing I did my whole life-giving me residual income of $200 per student went out the window, even with advertising. When nobody speaks English in your so-called “neighborhood”, word of mouth, the thing that fuels any business, is dead.
I am amazed to see Vietnamese people here in Arizona speak English every where I go and have manners! Yes, I know that is how it is supposed to be but that is not the experience I have experienced in the 12 years of living in Garden Grove, CA.
There are so many ideas and feeling flowing around in this post that I am not sure where it is going to end or how I will sum it all up in the end.
Some who read this will say it sounds like a journal and it is too personal, but that’s OK. This is all I can write right now and for all I know this article/blog posting might shoot through the roof and become viral. It is written from the depths of my soul and with more tears in my eyes and a sick feeling in my stomach from drinking too many cups of coffee and not enough food. (I have grocery bags of food under the table from meals I had been making in the hotel. I just cannot afford ten-dollar meals. I had two and they were good and I smile in memory of them. If it doesn’t come off a Food Stamp card it doesn’t get bought at this time. I say a prayer of gratitude for this country of ours every time I buy something with that card. We are the only country that takes care of its people like we do. I hope this coming year I make so much money I have a lump in the bank and some to give away to people who matter to me.
I had money in reserves but when mom lived next to me, since she hadn’t received one dime of her Social Security check thanks to my dad and Mike Bunker, who was and is her power of attorney, mom and needs and wants and I filled them and gave her and I some positive, wonderful memories. When she had holes in her one pair of pants I bought her new Alfred Dunner ones and blouses to match them so she could have dignity. She matters to me and I wanted to know simply that she was worth caring about. My dad was the star of the show with ambulances coming every day to take him somewhere while I was talking to social workers to please put him in a rest home because my mother did not have the mental or physical ability to take care of him any longer. (No one person could have taken care of him because he was nearly paralyzed and for the lack of mobility in his legs; he was paralysed though never dubbed that. The VA Hospital did a lousy job on his welfare and basically watched him die, doing nothing to get him in programs that could have elongated his life. They know I am not pleased with that and am currently suing them for damages of the triple loss of my father, and how the whole situation traumatized my mother each day when I had to be the one that explained to her where dad was doing and what was happening. (MY mother’s short-term memory loss was so great she would ask me 10 to 20 times each day where I was going until finally I left and would be lying if I didn’t say it was a relief to be away.
Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease requires the patience of saint to deal with and each day you ask yourself for the strength and reserves to be able to choose the right path which is never the easy path.
I have seen polar extremes of a more opulent life style when I was married to my rocket scientist ex and I was a master piano teacher not living in a very bigoted neighborhood called Little Saigon, surrounded by racists who didn’t want the white teacher I am.
I have known joy and seen now where I am waiting for better times to come but wanting to create them in act word and deed. I am not looking up at God above but using the skills and abilities I was given by God every day to problem solve and hopefully live a life worth living very soon.
Every day is worth living and I-even now of course, but I long to just be seen the fruits of my labors-my place I wrote countless letters to obtain, to hear my mother’s voice who lives with my sister in Moreno Valley who doesn’t realize she is hurting mom-or maybe she does know that subconsciously but simply doesn’t care!. Why was I the only kid who obtained a college degree in spite of my limitations or disabilities? Why am I mom’s youngest daughter who accomplished everything I ever set out to do? Why are all my friends’ awesome human beings who care about the world around them, children, the environment and maximizing positivity and minimizing the negatives? The answer to that question is: I select my friends carefully because who you are around you will eventually become. My mother said that to me when I was only a child and I remember it to this day. She was right as she was with dozens of things she told me that have held to this day.